Durango High student Sydney Spies turned heads when she protested yearbook editors' rejection of a sexy senior photo -- a stance that landed her on the Today show. The latest? Her mom, Miki, tells us that today, Sydney will submit a third yearbook photo after two previous ones from a shoot sampled below were nixed -- and there's no guarantee the same thing won't happen again.
Here's the first photo that editors refused to publish:
The reported rationale? The image was deemed unacceptable because it violated the school dress code, which calls for tops that "fully cover the chest, back, abdomen and sides of the student."
Due to this response, Spies turned in a second shot:
This one was also a no-go, Miki reveals. In her words, "The editors said they wanted to maintain their award-winning status, and they felt it wasn't professional."
This assertion frosts Sydney, Miki notes, because the editors originally approved the first photo "by a four-to-one vote. But then the adviser and the principal got involved, and the editors changed their minds.
"I think the editors truly believe they weren't influenced," she concedes. Still, the involvement of the administration in the decision strikes Sydney as objectionable. "That's what she's most upset about," Miki says. "A lot of people missed the point of this whole story, which is that there are eight states in the United States that have student press laws in place that don't allow this kind of thing, and Colorado is one of those states. The administration overstepped their boundaries." She adds that "we've had a couple of teachers come to us on the down-low, telling us there was definitely pressure not to run the photo."
Early reports suggested that the Spies family would consult with a Denver lawyer over this issue, and Miki says "a couple of people have come forward and offered to pay for an attorney." At this point, however, they're undecided about whether to push a legal challenge, and prefer to wait until they find out what kind of response Sydney's third photo receives.
At this writing, Miki declines to specify which photo Sydney submitted from a shoot recently posted online by the photography shop in question, Thru the Lens Fine Portraits. But she confirms that "she's not submitting a little cutesy one. She's submitting a model-type photo."
If the third shot runs afoul of editors, Miki believes "they're scrutinizing it too much" -- although she doesn't accuse them of turning down everything for fear of looking as if they're bending to public pressure.
She admits to being "shocked" by the amount of media coverage Sydney's quest has received -- and when asked if she's been upset by online commenters questioning her parenting, she stresses that "I didn't originally want her to use that first photo. But it was her decision, and I stood behind her. My parents didn't stand behind me on anything, and I'm not going to be that way. I stand by my children."
She's also heard from "people in California and Florida and Las Vegas and New York, who say, 'That's nothing. You should see our yearbook photos.' They can't believe these photos would garner so much attention."
How's Sydney handling all the scrutiny? "She's doing great," Miki says. "She's very strong. She's obviously got the temperament to handle controversy."
Look below and page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Hard to imagine editors turning thumbs-down on some of them -- but others are more along the lines of the previous two. Wonder which one she picked....
Page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Page down to see more photos from the Thru the Lens shoot. Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
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