Posted: 8:28 a.m. Friday, May 16, 2014

Yearbook photo triggers controversy at San Francisco high school

jessica urbina
Courtesy of Michael Urbina/Twitter
jessica urbina

By Tara Moriarty

Students arrived at San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral High School Friday donning ties in support of a classmate whose photo was deleted from the yearbook because she wore a tuxedo in it.

School officials said Jessica Urbina violated the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s policy because she didn't wear the dress that's required for female students in yearbook photos.

Her photo will not be included in the yearbook when it is passed out before the school year ends.

In a prepared statement, the school said it would work to change the policy in the future.

“As we prepare to pass out yearbooks, it is always regretful when a student portrait is omitted for any reason. As a community we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all students are included in the future,” the statement read.

But classmates like Tommy Clifford said they wanted to show Jessica their support on Friday by wearing ties to class.

“She’s a very good friend of mine,” Clifford told KTVU. “I wanted to show her may support.”

Katie Emanuel, who claimed to be Urbina's girlfriend, also was wearing a tie to support her friend.

"I support my girlfriend. I support my school and want it to be the best it can for people like us," she told reporters.

School principal Gary Cannon said he was proud of the reaction of students supporting Jessica.

“I’m proud my students today,” he told reporters. “It’s an educational opportunity for school and the students.”

Cannon told reporters that Sacred Heart welcomes gay and transgender students but is run in accordance with Roman Catholic Church teachings.

He said he would be visiting classrooms on Friday, discussing the situation.

Cannon was also scheduled to meet with Jessica and her older brother on Friday afternoon to discuss what she will wear at graduation.

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