Rats! No pets allowed

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2001

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A high school principal has banned a girl from having her senior picture appear in the yearbook because she used her pet rat as an accessory.

Sarah Ball posed with her pet, Rotten Rat, on her shoulder.

''He said it was distasteful and offensive,'' said Ball, 17. ''But there's no rule that says I can't have my rat on my shoulder.''

She counters that there's no rule against posing with pets. But McKay High School principal Rey Mayoral said state law gives him the right to censor the yearbook.

''I'm sure no one said, 'By the way, there's no animals allowed in the senior yearbook.' But there are guidelines.'' Mayoral said.

''What would be next? Boa constrictors? Spiders?''

Mayoral has offered to cover the cost of retaking the picture, but the girl said that's not good enough. The incident is another example of the school crushing her individuality, she said.

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