Yearbook brouhaha: Funny face or gang sign?

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - December 3, 2009

In August 15-year-old Charlie Patton started at James Madison High School in Texas.

On picture day, she said, she wanted to be sure her photo would get noticed: "I said wait, I need to do my hair, you know and took my picture. Because I wanted to show who I am. That's Charlie. I wanted to be fun.

Nobody mentioned anything precautionary about it at the time.

"The camera girl looked at my mom and said, 'You alright with that, mom?' My mom said, 'Sure, of course.'"

"It really makes you memorable to the teachers, because the teachers are like let me see your ID card," Patton said, "It's a huge thing, you know 'Oh I want to see it.' It helped break the ice and get her comfortable in high school."

Now, Patton wears her picture ID card, with the funny face, every day. She's also got a T-shirt with the same photo.

Then, just before Thanksgiving, school officials said they wouldn't put the photo in the yearbook.

"One administrator said it looks like it's gang related because of how you throw up signs and everything," Patton said. "(But) I'm not making fun of anyone, I think it just looks happy. It's almost like they're deleting me from Madison High School."

School officials released this statement: "Since the yearbook represents the school and the students, the goal is to have every student presented in the best light. Students who make inappropriate faces or gestures or who do not follow the school dress code in their yearbook photos are asked to retake their photo free of charge."

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