UPDATE: Teen mom will bring baby to grad

Melissa Jenkins
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School changes rules so graduate mother can bring child to celebration

A teenage mother that was initially told she could not bring her four-month-old daughter to her graduation celebration has informed The Compass that the school has changed its mind.

Jessica Mason (left), Brandon Bowering (right) and their daughter Iyla will attend the Ascension Collegiate graduation together.

Jessica Mason will now bring her daughter Iyla to the Ascension Collegiate event Friday, May 8.

In an email at 5 p.m. Tuesday from a Newfoundland and Labrador English School District spokesperson, it was confirmed the school was planning on discussing the situation with Mason, and hoped to have a solution in the near future.

When Mason received a phone call from the school's principal saying the school was going to change the rules, she was so excited she immediately took to social media to express her gratitude.

She said an apology was also issued about the email she received from a staff member at the school.

Dozens of messages have come flooding in on Facebook congratulating Mason, who will now proudly attend the prom festivities with baby Iyla, her mom and her boyfriend by her side.

For earlier story, click here.

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Recent comments

  • If...
    April 30, 2015 - 21:52

    if this was me and I was a teen mother at my grad, my baby would be with me, and if I was asked to leave I can tell you now I wouldn't, they would have to get somone to remove me ... It's a public place and my family would be there with me , my whole family. Thankfully, I wasn't put in that position at such a young age but glad this girl had the guts to stand up for herself! I can only imagine the experience this girl is going to have at her grad with her daughter , if it was me I would definitely be getting in a few dances with the little one with lots of pictures :) these are the things your going to be able to remember and tell her when she gets older !

    • KIm H
      May 01, 2015 - 09:26

      Unfortunately there isn't enough room at these events to allow your entire family to attend. This is not an official graduation as well. It's a prom...a dance. Not the appropriate place for any child regardless if it's a student or teacher. Cap and gown ceremony when mom officially graduates with a successful diploma is where she should have her baby. Hats off to her to completing her studies at home and being a full time mom as well.

  • Karen M.
    April 30, 2015 - 12:28

    The mom is not being degraded. In fact I applaud her for finishing. The point is the prom is not a place for not only her baby but any baby or child. It a celebration for the kids who finished high school.

  • Sane and Happy
    April 30, 2015 - 08:45

    I am appalled at some of the derogatory statements in the comments. Jessica, you go to your graduation with those who have supported and love you, hold your head up high and keep aiming ahead, your daughter will be so proud of you when she grows up to a teenager and to know her mom fought a good fight! As for those who are demeaning, defaming, or otherwise hateful, you need a life, perhaps Jessica can teach you a little something about integrity!

    • Integrity?
      April 30, 2015 - 12:48

      You gotta be kidding right?Have you not seen the comments here bashing a school and a teacher? Jessica told her story and with the help of the Compass sure portrayed a good one. Jessica also went to social media and shared one of who knows how many email from a teacher. People jumped on the bandwagon and passed harsh judgements without hearing anything from the other side. Integrity I seen none on here. While I agree there is no need to make derogatory statements towards Jessica there is also no need to make them against the school, student body or the people who take the time to see the entire picture. That being said, when you choose to go to the media you have to be prepared to face the consequences.

  • Nanny
    April 30, 2015 - 08:24

    it's a prom...not a birthday party. it's not the appropriate place or occasion for a 4 month old or any child.

  • Roslyn
    April 30, 2015 - 07:34

    I'm sure she feels exactly the same way about how she is being treated by people in a position who should be encouraging and commending her for doing something not a lot of teen mothers or teenagers for that matter are able to do. Given that, why would she have respect for her teachers or for her school? She worked hours and hours with odds against her and it is her RIGHT to go to her grad and she should be able to bring her child with her. It is absolutely appalling that you and anyone else would expect her to get a babysitter and leave her 4 month old baby home during her grad. A baby that young is very dependent on their mother, and everyone going against this girl seem completely insensitive. This is such a small issue to those attending grad but means so much to her, why is this even an issue? There are many more important things you can devote your time and energy to instead of treating someone so horribly over bringing their very much young and dependent baby with them to grad. Plus it would make her happy, heaven forbid a successful student be happy during their grad. Jessica, I am so sorry for your loss and to see you having to prove to people that you have indeed lost your father, that it is absolutely insane. I have tremendous respect for you, you deserve to be treated much better. Congratulations on your baby and on your graduation, two very special events worth celebrating :) I'm really having a lot of trouble seeing why anyone else would react differently. As for exceptions, I think they should be made for those who excel, it would actually send a great message and encourage others to do the same, but it seems like many people here commenting didn't have many good examples set for them growing up, or still have a lot of growing up to do, or both.

    • Kristyn
      April 30, 2015 - 07:46

      Sorry it's no one's right to go to grad. No one needs a grad to survive. Schools offer grads to all their students out of the goodness of the hearts of many volunteers. Students need to respect their teachers and not send ugly messages like she did to her teachers. If she had a problem with the rules she should have taken it up immediately with the administration or the school board. The teacher has a lot more important things to do then deal with these kinds of issues that they have no control over. Misguided anger put a stain on that teachers professional reputation. Disgusting.

    • Roslyn
      April 30, 2015 - 08:10

      I'm not sure why you're bringing in survival to do with attending grad, that would be considered a need. "The teacher has a lot more important things to do then deal with these kinds of issues that they have no control over." Right, so why did the teacher even get involved in something they had no control over Misguided anger, probably, and I can see why it would happen. I have not seen the post you are referring to and it's unfortunate that it happened, but this is something that should not have become an issue for either side involved because in the grand scheme of things it's so ridiculously small.

    • Kristyn
      April 30, 2015 - 08:25

      You said grads were a right. They are not. They are not necessary. The teacher was brought into it because clearly she organizes the grad. Grads are completely run by teachers students and sometimes parents. So immature that she would put that on Facebook. She's already deleted it. Good piece of advice employers look at these things. She needs to grow up. If she's old enough to graduate and clearly make some strong and important life choices she should be mature enough to act like an adult. Like I said I don't think I would care if a baby was at my grad. I just think she has acted disgustingly towards that teacher. Exactly the reason people don't want to volunteer anymore. Not worth the abuse.

    • Ugly messages?
      April 30, 2015 - 08:28

      What ugly message are you referring to Kristyn? All she sent that teacher in an email was a question, she asked if she took her daughter would she be asked to leave? Thats it, the ugly message was the response from the teacher , not from the student herself.... Well said Roslyn, so true people have a lot of growing up to do

    • Roslyn
      April 30, 2015 - 09:29

      You do have the right to attend a grad when you have been a successful student, are graduating that year and a grad is being held. Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles, much different than necessities to survive. You have stated in two comments contradicting information, one is that she should have taken it up with the administration or school board, but also that teachers, students and parents completely run the organization of a grad. I'm not going to waste my time on this any more because you seem like a troll to me and this would go on forever. She isn't an adult, so don't hold her to such standards. I'm sure you weren't perfect when you were her age, or are you still a teenager as well? We all have things to learn in life, sometimes it happens by not doing the right things and learning from mistakes. If she has deleted the post she probably has already learned it wasn't a good idea. There's no reason to start commenting about how horrible a person she is, and trying to deter employers from hiring her. Trying to ruin her life as it starts, that's just tremendously sad you would take that on as a personal vendetta against her. Do yourself a favour and stop embarrassing yourself, please.

    • Right or no Right
      April 30, 2015 - 10:30

      No one is saying she has no right to go to grad so that is a moot point. While this started out quite simple - Ascension (like many other school) had asked that no babies or small children attend the ceremonies on May 8. I will call them ceremonies because we all know it is prom and not grad. Heck no one even knows 100 percent if they graduate until the marks come out in July. Cap and gown takes place at ascension in December when the graduates get their cap and gown and walk across the stage and receive the diploma. This should have been a non issue. There are many rules and regulations in this society that we don't like nor do we agree with but what can ya do? Most law abiding citizens try their best to follow them anyway. The ban of a baby at grad was NOT to shame or hide or lack support of teen moms. A prom is not the place for small children and babies. If a teacher has a baby or a graduate has a sibling neither are permitted to attend. There are many events within the school and local communities that ask to not bring babies or small children. It is also my understanding that the school had offered her to bring the baby and get pictures and mingle a bit BEFORE the ceremonies began and this was not good enough. The school did NOT attack this girl, did NOT single her out and are NOT against teen moms. Quite the opposite actually. They ARE very supportive and DO encourage young moms to finish high school. So much so that they offer an on-site daycare. What they can't do is make kids go to school or avail of their services. The only thing this school should be condoned for at this point is that they overturned their rule because someone had a tantrum in the media. That is sending a message loud and clear to our youth don't ya think?

    • Kristyn
      April 30, 2015 - 11:31

      I would tell you to grow up Roslyn but you are clearly elderly. It's not contradictory. While the teachers run the grad, everything in schools are dictated by the board and the administration. The teachers can only do what they are allowed to do in the constraints of the administration. Please inform yourself before you comment on a story. You're embarrassing yourself.

  • truthtells
    April 30, 2015 - 02:10

    no top school award again this year! next story!

  • Kristyn
    April 29, 2015 - 20:18

    Not really sure how I feel about a baby going to grad. I know as a grad I wouldn't really care but I can understand why others would. I just think it's absolutely horrible and embarrassing for the family the way this young adult called out her teacher online. She included the teachers name on an email posted to her public facebook. That is so inappropriate and giving a bad name to a teacher. It's not fair if that was the school rule and the teacher was just trying to enforce it. Clearly she has no respect for her teachers. Students these days don't understand that grads and other school sponsored activities are a RIGHT and that teachers spend hours and hours of their personal time to organize them. Absolutely appalling. There should be some recourse on the student.

  • Michelle
    April 29, 2015 - 14:38

    This never should have been an issue in the first place. For a school that supposedly has such a "progressive" attitude toward teenage mothers, the administration certainly managed to stick its collective foot in its mouth. As for the teacher who sent this young woman that ridiculous email, I should hope an apology was issued. It was an absolutely *stunning* display of rudeness. That woman should be thoroughly ashamed of herself, especially considering the fact that she most likely expects to be respected by her students. Apparently, though, she doesn't think that students expect any in return. Disgraceful. I am so happy that Iyla will be in attendance at her mom's grad, and I hope that in the future, the administration will do a better job at actually living up to its "progressive" reputation. Congratulations, Jessica! Here's to a wonderful future for both you and your daughter. Enjoy every minute of your grad -- you deserve it.

    • Facts first
      April 29, 2015 - 21:53

      Jessica only showed one part of the messages. What else was said..? Noone knows. The fact that she said these things about the school, and staff and now she wants to be re enrolled in it is ridiculous. Pathetic to say the least. People you need to realize the school isnt just penalizing jessicas baby they dont want ANY babies at the grad. It has nothing to do with the school supporting teen moms or not, obviously they do support considering they have a daycare which i may add jessicas child does not attend to because jessica doesnt attend Ascension. The final point they are trying to get across is that why should 200 other graduates be effected and have their grad interrupted by children. How is that fair to them?

  • Natasha
    April 29, 2015 - 13:28

    My mother knows her family. I'm glad she stood up for what she wants for her family. Congrats Jessica ! Hope you and your daughter have a great day for your grad.

  • james
    April 29, 2015 - 11:01

    Does she expect the 4 month old to remember just saying

    • ....
      April 29, 2015 - 12:36

      Its called pictures :P

    • Lol
      April 30, 2015 - 06:19

      EXACTLY... she will remember from pictures, so why does she have to attend??

    • um...
      April 30, 2015 - 08:31

      Pictures from the graduation .....?? Not the pictures from that day but the graduation itself.

    • mmm x2
      April 30, 2015 - 13:04

      I call BS on the pictures of the Grad thing. Originally Jessica was told she could bring the baby to have pictures and such BEFORE the event began. It is obviously not about the pictures because here were are, commenting on a news story that would not have been had she agreed to it. So what more would the baby need to be there for exactly? She won't be doing the Grand March with her mommy, that has already been established. The grads spend a great deal of the time away from their family and this event so the baby won't be with her then either.So please explain to me what need a 4 month old would have to be at a prom?

  • A Grandmother
    April 29, 2015 - 10:30

    When my son Graduated from Ascension his daughter was 2 years old, her mom was Graduating and got her a ticket when we got to the event we were told she had to leave. After all day and the preparations she was told to leave. Which is what she did, she was not allowed to stay and neither should any other child be allowed to attend a high school graduation, if one is not allowed then none should be allowed. If ever graduate brought their children there would be alot of children at the grad just my thoughts and for those who are wanting to know this grad took place three years ago.

    • A Mother
      April 29, 2015 - 12:26

      Pfft, Because every graduate has a child right? They have every right in the world to bring their child if they want! Who cares if theres a baby there, if someone thinks a few babies are going to ruin their grad experience then they are very selfish people to take this kind of experience away from someone who had to work their butt off ten times as hard to graduate! High school is bad enough let alone when you throw a baby into the mix! Im pretty sure there was a girl who graduated with me and she took her child to our grad but no one gave a crap which is the way it should be, the point of graduation is to be able to celebrate the fact that you made it through school with everyone you care about! ITS NOT A BEAUTY PAGEANT!

  • A mom
    April 29, 2015 - 09:36

    I had not had a chance to attend my child's grad but in a few years I will,it will be his day not the day of a baby or any young children ,its their day not the babies,leave your child home get a babysitter,it's not her day its everyone who are graduating.

    • A Mother
      April 29, 2015 - 12:44

      So if he has a child before he graduates you wouldnt want him to take HIS child to HIS grad? its the 21st century get over yourself! Im sure anyone would like to have their own child at their grad just as much as they would want their parents there, its called being a family! To me I feel like this is a form of discrimination against teen parents, or a form of bullying ? People need to grow up.

  • fred
    April 29, 2015 - 08:25

    Is it his daughter too? The way this story is written completely ignores this guy. What's he think about it? Is it his graduation too? Who knows? Very poorly written.

    • Lynn
      April 29, 2015 - 08:34

      Not poorly written at all. The father isn't the one who reached out. The mother just gave her side of the situation. I know the family, and the father is not graduating this year. Why does the father have to be in the story? Just like why would the spouse of a robbery victim be interviewed.

    • fred
      April 29, 2015 - 11:50

      It's his daughter and his girlfriend - people he must love and care about. You may not care about his opinion but it would be a much better story to include his views on the matter. Another point of view on how he sees this affecting them.

  • Deanna
    April 29, 2015 - 07:59

    When my son Graduated from Ascension his daughter was 2 years old, her mom was Graduating and got her a ticket when we got to the event we were told she had to leave. After all day and the preparations she was told to leave. Which is what she did, she was not allowed to stay and neither should any other child be allowed to attend a high school graduation, if one is not allowed then none should be allowed. If ever graduate brought their children there would be alot of children at the grad just my thoughts and for those who are wanting to know this grad took place three years ago.

    • Fred
      April 29, 2015 - 09:07

      So Deanna...based on your comments then women should not be allowed to vote, be allowed to work, hold elected office, become clergy, police officers, etc? It is called progress! Based on your theory, Northern Ireland and Britain should be still fighting, not at peace. I feel sorry that your granddaughter and her mom was asked to leave. That was not right! It was a special day for your son and his daughter should have been there.

  • student
    April 29, 2015 - 06:28

    Can bring your child to school to the daycare daily, but not to the grad, why would they even consider not allowing.

  • delores
    April 28, 2015 - 23:08

    She does cdli courses on line to get her grade 12 . she gave up going to ascension collgiate back in grade 10 . Her father is aive and well, she don't have a relatonship with her father. The graduation rules been in place for many years.

    • thanks
      April 29, 2015 - 09:32

      Thanks for giving us facts, Delores!

    • thanks
      April 29, 2015 - 09:34

      Will screaming babies ruin the valedictorian's speech?

    • thanks
      April 29, 2015 - 09:37

      Will screaming babies ruin the valedictorian's speech? What about people who want to bring their pets? Should that be permitted? I mean, they're part of the family too. The teens think they're an example of a loving family. Give it a couple years and they'll likely be splitsville.

    • To baby haters
      April 29, 2015 - 10:55

      Delores not that this is the point but her father passed away two years ago. You obviously obviously no nothing about this girl or her situation. We should be praising a teen mother who is graduating high school. Also who wants to be with there child for all of there life events. It's a celebration day for the whole family. If it's just there day are you going to leave your parents home? Also it's a memory made to show look what mom did and you where there and I will be there for yours. To the people who don't know the war is over time to wake up.

    • Jessica mason
      April 29, 2015 - 11:11

      http://www.inmemoriam.ca/view-announcement-333123-shawn-angus-mason.html My father is very much DEAD sadly! I have never done a Cdli course and have always done my work from ascension...do you even know me?

    • Susan
      April 29, 2015 - 11:28

      Shame on you, Delores. Your children attend this school, and you are making a show of them. You should stop talking.

    • Michelle
      April 29, 2015 - 16:17

      What in the world made you come on here and make false statements like this? All I can say is, it's fabulous to see that the young lady herself has given you the actual facts. How dare you try to slander her like this...you are obviously a deeply unhappy person if you take pleasure in doing this to someone.

    • to baby haters
      April 30, 2015 - 21:07

      Delores do you think the next time you run for town council you will get any votes at all? Especially when the town sees your slanderous nature. Not only by your lies!! that you are trying to hurt a young girl and her family you are also trying to tarnish the repuation of a reporter. Maybe you should get your ducks in a line before you post any other comments that may hurt someone. You for sure would not like it if someone did this to your kids!!