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Yearbook photos ignite controversy

/ Source: The Associated Press

Most likely to succeed? Try most likely to go to jail.

The yearbook for the high school in this mountain town near Denver published photos of students smoking marijuana and drinking beer, drawing the ire of parents and administrators.

Hannah Fredrickson, the senior who served as yearbook editor, said she regrets not balancing the yearbook pictures of teenagers smoking pot with pictures of non-drug users. She also said she is sorry about not warning her principal.

But she said people need to know what is going on.

“The point of the yearbook entirely is to cover what happens in the year,” she told KCNC TV. “You’d be surprised at how many children at Conifer High School smoke pot. I wanted to push more for a deeper side of Conifer, which, for a lot of students, is drugs and alcohol,”

The Jefferson County School District began an investigation after parents complained, and the school has offered to take back yearbooks and refund payments.

“There were some things ... that I don’t feel that I can defend. There were some pictures and quotes that I do believe have crossed the line,” acting Principal Pat Termin said.

Students were shown holding a bong and exhaling smoke in a section labeled “Health — addicted addictions.” Three female students — all identified — are shown holding citations for underage drinking in a second titled “Regrets and mistakes.”

Amy McTague, the teacher who supervises the yearbook production, sent a letter of apology to parents.

“It wasn’t my intent or my students’ intent to portray such a negative tone in their attempt to cover all aspects of a students’ life and some of the very difficult choices they face,” she wrote.

“My editor and I have discussed at length and have agreed that there was no balance on the pages that are of concern and that some elements are completely inappropriate. These issues detract from the many wonderful things that are included in this book.”