Class photo called ‘offensive’ and ‘degrading’

Allison Louie-Garcia
The Upshot

An elementary school class picture is causing quite a stir after the photographer Photoshopped a cartoon smiley face over a boy's head.

David Claussen, owner of Broward County Pictures, took the photo of the second grade class at Sawgrass Elementary school, but was notified afterward that two of the students hadn't signed consent forms and needed to be removed.

The local news reports:

"Claussen said he was able to use the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop to lift one of the kids out, but had explained to them that there was a problem with the second student. He was sitting in the front row, right in the middle ... He said he would have gladly come out there to reshoot the image. Instead there was talk about putting a star over his face and then, he said,  the P.T.A. asked him to place a smiley face."

The news station could not locate the student or his parents for a comment, but was told the boy is no longer attending Sawgrass Elementary and may not even be aware of the picture's existence.

Parents at the school have had mixed responses to the altered photo, they ranged from feeling that the image is humiliating, to simply calling it "an oversight that has been corrected".

In an email to the local station, Sawgrass P.T.A. wrote:

"Broward Schools Photography covered the child's face using an inappropriate sticker. The PTA disagrees with how the photography company handled it and worked with the photographer to have the picture retaken this Thursday. Immediate action was taken on behalf of the PTA. We love and protect our children."

They said families who ordered the class photo will get a free copy of the new print.