The yearbook photo is a vivid diary to save the beautiful memories of a student’s life. Like any other school, students at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns, Florida, also expected to own a set of yearbook photos that are pleasing to the eye and make them feel proud. However, at least 80 photos of female students were edited by adding clothes to their chest and shoulders without their consent, leaving the students shocked and embarrassed.
The alterations of the yearbook photos were made by Anne Irwin who is a teacher and also in charge of coordinating yearbook photography for students in the school. Irwin made her decisions based on the dress code.
Bartram Trail High School’s prior procedure was to not include student pictures in the yearbook that they found to be in violation of the student code of conduct, so the digital alteration was a solution to ensure that all students were included in the yearbook, according to Christina Langston, the school district spokeswoman.
The purpose of the altered images seemed to be to make the students’ clothes more modest, with modifications that covered female students’ shoulders and chests.
Each yearbook sells for $100. The school will refund parents who return them, as long as nothing is written on them. However, before this move of the school, many parents have said that this problem was not related to money.
Parents responded that the photo editing was poorly done and the girls were teased.
Freshman Riley O’Keefe expressed her embarrassment and awkwardness when she saw her photo looked unsightly, edited with a black box covering her breasts.
Adrian Bartlett is one parent concerned that the photo that had been edited to cover her daughter’s breasts would send the terrible message that growing girls should be ashamed of the changes happening in their bodies.
According to the New York Times, the school did not change any pictures of male students, despite the fact that the boys’ swim team was pictured in Speedo swimsuits.
Earlier this year, a dress code scandal at Bartram Trail High made local headlines when dozens of girls were pulled out of class in one day for violating the dress code. Many girls said they were ordered to unzip their completely zipped sweatshirts in front of other students and instructors, revealing tank tops and sports bras, which were then considered inappropriate.
Students produced an online petition claiming that the dress code disproportionately targets females and focuses on the sexualization of young women and their clothes, mainly because many girls are told they are dressed inappropriately or that what they are wearing might be distracting boys.
The story of yearbook photo editing has gained attention across the country and beyond. Under public pressure, the School Board considered putting changes to the district’s dress code policy on the agenda for discussion at the next conference meeting scheduled on Tuesday.