High School Tells Teen Mom to Choose Between Baby Boy and Senior Photo

[Updated from the archives.]

Caitlin Tiller worked hard to graduate high school early while caring for her newborn son, and when asked to share what is most important in her life she said:

“I picked my son because he’s helped me be a better person,” Tiller told Yahoo! Shine. “By having him, I grew up quickly but I learned how to be responsible.” (Teen Mom’s Banned Yearbook Photo.)

You’d never know it by looking in the school yearbook though. The administration said students could bring something that represents who they are for their senior photo. Apparently a graduating senior’s newborn doesn’t count.

On April 12, two days before the yearbooks went to press, Tiller received a call from the school’s yearbook adviser. “She said I had to take a different photo because the one I took promoted teen pregnancy,” said Tiller. “They called on my son’s birthday so I said I wasn’t available and besides, I choose Leelin because he represented what I’ve achieved in life. I said if Leelin can’t be in the photo, then I won’t be either. The adviser said, ‘That’s your choice. Then you won’t be in the yearbook’ and hung up on me.”

Her photo promoted teen pregnancy? Sure it did.* I bet there were a bunch of kids who would have seen it and thought, “If only I had a baby, then I could have held it in my arms for my yearbook photo!”

Being Held in the Arms of Everlasting Love

Leelin Tiller has a mother who loves him, and being held in her arms for her yearbook photo would have been a lasting memento of that love. The feeling of being held in the arms of a loving parent is a blessing a child can carry wherever he or she goes forever.

One of the amazing things about your relationship with God is that he is with you wherever you go, whether it’s a photo shoot or a trip to the mall or school or work or play. Wherever you are, there he is with you. The Spirit of Christ is with you forever and always.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17.)

God is in you, and you can’t get closer than in. No authority – school administration or otherwise – can ever separate you from God:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 38-39.)

God loves you more than you can imagine because that’s who he is:

Dear friends, … love comes from God. … [And] God is love.
(1 John 4:7-8.)

No one can take you from God’s arms of love. So if anyone tries to get you to give up what is most precious, your relationship with the God of love, remember that they don’t have the authority to tell you what to do.

hug

***

*The article goes on to say that the school district’s Superintendent later told a reporter it wasn’t about teen pregnancy but a more general policy that didn’t allow family members in a senior photo. The Superintendent’s quote didn’t cover why Ms. Tiller was initially told they were concerned with promoting teen pregnancy.

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19 Responses to High School Tells Teen Mom to Choose Between Baby Boy and Senior Photo

  1. My latest YouTube rap is on teen pregnancy. My message is to not have a child while you are a child–a message that a high school boy suggested I write a rap about. In this rap I say “Don’t get an abortion–think about adoption.” A high school science chair told me to not say that rap in public school in Florida. Here in Alabama it is requested when I substitute teach–“Mrs. Johnson, do the rap that was banned in Florida.”

  2. Josi says:

    God is love but he is also wrath. His mission was to put an end to sin and he paid for it with his life yet we continue to trample his blood by justifying our every sin. Was she thinking about God while in the throws of her acts of adultery? It sounds harsh, yes but sin is very serious and has lasting consequences. I agree with the school to the message it is sending. Teen pregnancy can have lasting consequences, whether good or bad and is not the model we should be promoting nor accepting when it cvcvomes to our precious young people. Where were the adults and leader supervision while this was taking place? While Gods love is a wonderful thing what has happened to the gospel of repentance and striving for purity?. She would have been a way better poster child for purity then teen motherhood!

    • Josi, your diatribe does not represent the heart of Jesus. Of course, the dear girl knows that her sexual sin was wrong, and I’m sure she has been judged and condemned by countless others like you. She fully understands that “teen pregnancy is serious and has lasting consequences,” and she has accepted those consequences. Yet she did not hide her sin or abort her child but accepted responsibility for her son and is committed to him and loving him and doing the right thing under the circumstances. If anything, she is promoting humility and devotion.

      I’m sure that young woman has her regrets and she does not need to be reminded of “the gospel of repentance and striving for purity.”

  3. Josi says:

    It is my contention that the vast majority of churches have lost the ministry of repentance through the “God is Love” and only that false teaching. Yes, He is this…He showed it by dying a horrible death! What is missing are the words of God when he spoke of the seriousness of sin, to the church! Believers! The Gospel is from Genesis to Revelation and every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God! Sadly, many false teachers just want to pick and choose, selecting certain passages that only speak of love while leaving out the meat of why Jesus had to suffer such a terrible death. The “S” word is being eliminated while many well meaning Christians are not receiving the whole context of scripture that they need to grow and become sanctified. We have grown complacent with our sin. We trample the blood of Christ by doing this. God has said, “Be Holy because I am Holy”….Repentance leadeth to Reconciliation, to humility unto salvation. We have to get the whole of scripture into us, not just one here or there to justify…we need to stop ripping scripture out of context, distorting it, twisting it under the masquerade of God is Love, yes he is but He is also wrath…It say’s all over scripture about the warnings of sin which lead to death…shouldn’t we take heed if we love Him…He did die a horrible death so why would we choose to trample such a perfect act of love….If your wife trampled your love what would you have to say about that? Same principle…We need to embrace all of scripture and get our focus on holiness….that is the least we can do for such a great an act of what Jesus endured…are we not above enduring anything for his name sake? It could mean the difference between damnation or salvation. WE Need All of Scripture.

    • Tim says:

      Yes we need all of Scripture. But our focus is not to be on holiness. It’s to be on the Holy One, Jesus. By walking with Him by the power of the Spirit, we are led into holiness.

      But this post wasn’t about whether she should have had sex. It was about a mother’s love for her son and about the love of our heavenly Father for his children. If you want to read what I’ve written on holiness, type that word in the search box toward the top of the post.

      Thanks,
      Tim

      • Josi says:

        I think you are campaigning a license to sin by approving this post without first thinking in advance of the repercussions it might have on the subject of immoral conduct to the reader. Just hop on over to Yahoo and read the comments pertaining to the young girls moral character. Then rethink and share where scripture teaches us we shouldn’t focus on our moral conduct and only on the Savior. When he ascended, Jesus said I will give you a helper. I don’t see how sin is not the compost and direct link to how a young girl got an unexpected pregnancy out of direct defiance and your article specifically being and centering only around “Love”. My first thought was the selfish act that got her into it in the first place not all the drama that followed with her Mother going so far as cxalling the news station, etc. Isn’t this just how we justify everything by limiting the responsibilities. You should kindly consider how you are twisting my intended meanings and how your promoting acceptance of immoral behavior, giving it a love label and stamping it with your approval. I agree to disagree with your weak arguments

        • Tim says:

          I never said I approved of anything except the love she showed her son. Please don’t try to make the post about something it’s not.

  4. Ruth says:

    What did Jesus say about ‘ he who without sin cast the first stone’, about the woman taken in adultery? She was not condemned, but told to go and sin no more.
    All of us sin, in a myriad ways, every day, but what happens in our hearts between us and the Lord is not ours to judge others. This girl did something Christians are specifically told is against Gods law, but, she also did what previous generations often could not, she acknowledged her son….who is NOT sin…..and went on to take responsibility for him. No orphanage, no shame to a little child, who has an equal chance of hearing about Christs love and sacrifice now.
    Josie, I would ask too; where is the father of this child who was equal in sin, needing of repentance, and stepping up to care for this innocent and supporting the mother? For all we know he may be there doing this, I can’t judge, but of course I hope this little boy knows his father both earthly and Heavenly. I wonder why he does not rate a mention, and I believe your words about the ‘throws’ of adultery are not really necessary.
    Fact is, she, and her partner did something not according to your standards, or maybe mine,but it would be a positive and loving thing to pray for this potential family and ask God in His love, to make himself known to them, and in His saving grace.
    How many things do we do that we need Grace for every day? I can’t count mine, big and small, I bring them to Christ and ask for His ongoing love and mercy, and forgiveness, much as I might try, I cannot escape sinning in this life, but God is Holy and forgiving to me.

  5. Ruth says:

    Tim might not comment on this comment, but I shall because it really seemed offensive and sad.
    Asking if his wife trampled his love, what would he say about that? Even implying negative behaviour about someone you don’t know, but stands in a precious place in many posts by Tim, is really not appropriate commentary. I have the sad feeling something awful may have happened in your life, and I pray for peace and the for the Lord to minister to you in a healing way. If not I pray for peace for all of us under the Blood of the Lamb.

    • Josi says:

      Sin is offensive to a Holy and Righteous God who, throughout scripture warned us of it’s consequences. Jesus died because of it yet we still go on being paralyzed by it, allowing it to master us. Did Jesus not teach us about sin and death? Does not scripture, in various places warn us and advise us of what to do. Have we lost the Holy Spirits power? We all judge every day everything around us or how could we determine what is right or wrong. The Hebrew definition of “judge” is to give an “opinion”. The Bible teaches us to strive for holiness and to loathe our sin, abhor it in keeping with the memory of what Christ did. It’s all in there Ruth, go read the words of God, He wrote it so why so much angst? So many Christians love and embrace their habitual sin and when confronted, go baserck, why? Faith and Repentance go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. So in keeping with the original point I was posing, what will the outside world think of us Christians when we give a golden stamp of approval towards the events in this story which is posted on a Christian blog? Do you, as a Christian, support and defend this behavior? Because if you do your fraternizing with the enemy. The church is dying and losing it’s power because of our transgressions. No teacher or pastor even considers to trod in such an area as to preach sin and repentance. It’s too risky. We have forgotten the power of the cross and become complacent with sin. Surely you cannot argue with such logic and why would you? Why take scripture out of its rightful place and make accusations and assumptions of them? Jesus said go and sin no more. Are we doing that? I haven’t cast stones nor do I desire to. I am simply pointing out the facts that sin has consequences as in the case of this young tee mother who is attempting to, Mother as well, promote and gain approval of something that is clearly an abomination in the sight of God. Go and study the word and rightly divide it. Tim, I meant no offense. I was just making a comparison. I do not support this story nor do I approve of it. This young teem mother has a rude awakening and hard path ahead of her and no child is capable of raising another child effectively especially in a harsh and cruel world as this. Her message is dangerous and damaging to others her age. But we have love…the question is, is there enough of it for the brutal hardships this teen mother is sure to face? All in truth, spirit is love and truth. Truth is a hard thing. May we all rethink our actions being fully aware of how we trample the blood of Christ therefore leaving us with no more sacrifice. Ruth, you have some reading to do.

  6. Adriana says:

    What a brave young woman to show up with her baby! This story is really inspiring, Tim. I love her quote too: “I picked my son because he’s helped me be a better person . . . By having him, I grew up quickly but I learned how to be responsible.” I’m currently watching this happen in the life of a teen mom I know quite well. It’s a challenging and beautiful process; I feel honored that she considers me a supportive person in her life.

  7. Ruth says:

    She was very brave, and I must apologise for entering into an unpleasant debate and drawing out the whole thing. Should know better! Every good thought and prayers for your friend Adriana, and for you supporting her. It is an honour when someone trusts you with sensitive issues.

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