Each year at graduation time, we often wonder if anything has changed about the ancient commencement rituals, besides the substitution of one Clinton for another and, of course, sexting. One thing that seems to be passing is the college yearbook: the Chicago Tribune says Purdue and Loyola are among many schools that have dropped their yearbooks. Printing costs, decreased interest among commuter-school students, and the ubiquity of Facebook and other lifelong social-media yearbooks, are cited.
Maybe high school yearbooks will go next — especially after today’s story about a Sickles High School student who didn’t wear panties to her group yearbook shoot because she thought they’d make lines on her dress, and wound up inadvertently exposing herself. This exposure was not picked up by the usually rigorous high school yearbook chain of command, and was commemorated in the printed edition and distributed to hundreds of students. This is a more socially catastrophic slip than Elaine Bennis’ celebrated nipple Christmas card, and the student has declined to attend the remainder of her classes this year.
The Sickles incident may have the unintended consequence of ending the high school yearbook via market forces: Teachers across the nation, we are sure, are giving up the idea of ever serving as the yearbook advisor, and parents may consider it something to be foregone in our overcautious age, like see-saws and unsupervised play. We can only hope this sort of thing never happens to the school play.