Brianna Gentry, 13, keeps her older brother Derrick's picture on her notebook, along with shots of her softball team.
"My brother's very important to me," Brianna told KTLA. "I haven't seen him in a while."
But Brianna is a member of the AVID program for top students at Golden Valley Middle School, and the pictures were apparently breaking some unwritten rule.
"The counselor took me out of class twice telling me that the pictures are added material," Brianna said. "But they haven't pulled any other students with pictures out from their class... Just me."
Brianna's mother, Jaima Eudy, fired off a letter to the school, objecting to Brianna being singled out and claiming it was discriminatory.
"Her brother is a positive role model in her life," Eudy told KTLA. "She's very active in Little League. She has been for six years. So these are things that are happy moments for her."
The next day, the school sent home a list of rules for AVID, highlighting the parts about maintaining a notebook.
Eudy responded, saying that she understood and would abide by all the rules listed -- but that there was nothing about pictures on a binder.
"I was very upset about it, because this is an AVID rule, not a rule for the whole entire school," Eudy said.
"I think if you're going to enforce a rule, the rule should apply to all children," she argued.
KTLA asked the school district for some guidance, and it agreed to meet Brianna halfway. The brother could stay, but the softball team had to go.
"We want our students to be successful, and if this is the type of motivation that's going to help this young lady succeed, then by all means we'll support her efforts," said school district spokeswoman Linda Bardere.
Both Brianna and her mother say that they are satisfied with the compromise.
"I'd rather have my brother in my pictures than to have nothing at all," Brianna said. "So I'm fine with the decision."
"Her brother is the most important, and I can deal with that," her mother said.