ST. JOHNS, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Parents and students are criticizing a Florida high school for digitally altering photos in a yearbook to cover up nearly 100 females students whose clothes the school officials deemed too immodest.
“I kind of laughed at first and was confused,” said Riley O’Keefe, a freshman at Bartram Trail High School. “When I saw how many girls it happened to I was really angry and it really upset me that they went through and looked through girls’ photos like that.”
Before and after photos show clear, almost whimsical digital edits used to cover up things like exposed shoulders and low necklines for some students. But what really is driving the uproar is that none of these students or their parents were consulted about the changes.
The school’s yearbook coordinator, who is a teacher, decided that the photos were out of dress code and did some of the editing, said Christina Langston, school district spokeswoman told a local newspaper.
Some parents and students have previously complained that the district’s dress code is sexist, noting that more than 80% of infractions over the last three years have been issued to female students and that a photo of male students in swim briefs by a pool made it into the yearbook without editing.
“This is knowingly supporting the sexualization of young females’ bodies,” said Riley. “We are not adults we are children. They are making it seem like there is something about our bodies we should hide.”
Langston said a decision was made not to edit any team or club photos. The high school’s website says that all student pictures in the yearbook “may be digitally adjusted” if they don’t conform to the school district’s code of conduct.
Adrian Bartlett said her daughter’s yearbook picture was edited to add more shirt coverage and was outraged with the schools actions.
“I think it sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that’s a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes,” Bartlett said to the St. Augustine Record.
The school is offering yearbook refunds to anyone who complains about the changes and wants to turn in their yearbook, the schools spokeswoman said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.