Florida school under fire for editing female student yearbook photos to be more modest

A Florida high school digitally altered over 80 yearbook pictures of female students’ cleavage and bare shoulders claiming they violated the school dress code.

Many of the “adjustments” were reportedly considered to be very poorly done.

Anne Irwin, who is an employee at Bartram Trail High School, had the last say on what was altered for the $100 yearbook according to the district. She claims to have made her decisions based on the district’s student code of conduct and dress code.

Students were reportedly shocked by the changes when they received their copies of the yearbook on Wednesday.

“I am sure there are many different opinions on whether they were or were not [in violation of the school’s dress code],” a district spokesperson commented to News4Jax on Friday. “The dress code guidelines are in our student code of conduct, but enforcement of the dress code happens at the school level and differs from administration to administration.”

(Video Credit: First Coast News)

The conservative alterations appeared to be an attempt to make the students’ attire more modest. Changes covered plunging necklines and bare shoulders of female students.

On the school’s website is a disclaimer that warns photos may be altered before publication. The school’s previous policy was just to exclude pictures that were deemed to have violated the dress code. Instead, they apparently decided this year that “the digital alterations were a solution to make sure all students were included in the yearbook.”

At odds with the censorship is the fact that a number of shirtless photos of male students and other photos showing the shoulders and cleavage of female students can be found within the yearbook. Allegedly, only portrait photos were altered by Irwin.

“There’s a black box over my chest and the cardigan on the side is like moved over and it looks really awkward and I was very confused,” Riley O’Keefe, who is a freshman at the school, said. She didn’t think she was violating the dress code and she was never asked about it. The outfit that she wore for photo day was cleared by the office.

“It made me feel a little uncomfortable that that’s what they noticed when they looked at our pictures,” she said.

O’Keefe’s mother, Stephanie Fabre was irate.

“Yesterday she happened to be wearing the shirt again so after school, we went up to the school and asked if she was in dress code and they said yes. So, my next question was if the shirt is in dress code and is good enough for school and your school ID, why is it not enough for the yearbook?” she told First Coast News.

Adrian Bartlett, whose daughter goes to the school, was noticeably upset: “It was a little sad, a little worrisome because my daughter has struggled with mental health and self-esteem and body issues and even resulted in a couple of hospitalizations this year because of that. So this is just one more thing that could be super detrimental to these young minds. So it’s, it’s scary,” she explained.

“Tops and shirts must cover the entire shoulder and they must be modest and not revealing or distracting,” the district’s dress code states. “Midriff or ‘cutout’ dresses and ‘cut out’ tops may not be worn. Extremely short skirts are not allowed. Skirts must be no shorter than four inches (4″) above the top of the knee. Revealing clothing, pajamas, and lingerie are not acceptable.”

Parents were offered a refund if they decided to return the yearbook after the digitally altered photographs were viewed and they were not happy with them. Unfortunately, the students in the altered photographs are being ridiculed online over the changes.

This isn’t the first time this school has been in hot water over its heavy-handed dress code. In March, several teen girls claimed they were removed from classes and sent to the dean’s office to change clothes or they would face suspension. A petition circulated online was created by the students at the time in reaction to the incident. It had more than 4,000 signatures.

Allegedly, the number of dress code violations at the school during the 2020-21 school year has skyrocketed. According to the district, 78 percent of violations are committed by female students.

Comments

Latest Articles