Ripped from the headlines! Turns out our True Confessions retrospective last week has a breaking-news counterpart: efforts to reprint a Massaponax, Virginia high school yearbook in order to remove anonymous R-rated secrets and confessions scattered throughout the pages (along with “quotable quotes,” sometimes [mis-?]attributed, often containing sexual innuendo). Such as:
“I have sex with people just to feel wanted.”
“I worry all the time my ex-boyfriend will use the naked picture I sent him to ruin my life.”
“I had an abortion and my mom doesn’t know.”
“I’m pregnant with my best friend’s boyfriend’s kid.”
Much of the ensuing uproar seems to have focused on the content as “inappropriate,” with parents scandalized and administrators rushing to defend the school as a place where a lot of “good” things happen, too. To be sure, stuff like “I smoked so much pot I woke up high” pretty much is inappropriate for the yearbook. But to me, this is not (just) about keeping “treasured high school memories” clean and pretty. It’s about listening to — to the degree the confessions are true; but why wouldn’t they be — what may constitute, in part, an end-of-year cry for help. If the grownups involved trade their whiffs of moral outrage for a bit more of this, from the principal — “If these things are going on, we want to be supportive and we want to help those students and provide them with appropriate resources” — then future Massaponax graduates might be more likely to succeed.