You’ve heard of so-called influencers editing their photos with filters, Photoshop and other social media tools. But one Florida high school took images to a new level.
Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County released its yearbook last Wednesday, and some of the photos went through a transformation. Apparently, an editor digitally altered 80 photos to make ninth-grade female students show less skin.
This is a before and after yearbook photo taken of Bartram Trail 9th grade high school student, Riley O’Keefe.
She says it was deemed inappropriate by the school and photoshopped in the printed edition.
Parents and students are now asking for a major change.@ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/f8MjkZMDOw
— Ben Ryan (@BenRyanANJax) May 20, 2021
The school admitted that any teen’s picture that showed too chest, cleavage, even shoulders, was digitally altered. The somewhat crude changes were made by the yearbook’s faculty adviser because the photos didn’t follow the school’s dress code, according to the St. Johns County School District.
“I am sure there are many different opinions on whether they were or were not [in violation of the dress code],” a district spokesman told News4Jax. “The 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.”Many of the young women in the photos were apparently upset by the edits, as were their parents.
“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,” mom Adrian Bartlett told The St. Augustine Record.
The school district added that if the pictures hadn’t been edited in that way, they likely would have been zapped altogether.
“Bartram Trail High School’s previous procedure was to not include student pictures in the yearbook that they deemed in violation of the student code of conduct,” spokeswoman Christina Langston told The Record. “So the digital alterations were a solution to make sure all students were included in the yearbook.”
No boys’ photos were modified, which upset an already disturbing situation even more.
“The double standard in the yearbook is more so they looked at our body and thought just a little bit of skin showing is sexual,” student Riley O’Keefe told NewsJax 4. “They looked at the boys, for the swim team photos and other sports photos and thought that was fine, and that’s really upsetting and uncomfortable.”
Her photo, which she released to the local news outlet, showed her black shirt altered to hide her cleavage.
A spokeswoman for the district told the Miami Herald Monday that it was releasing a new statement about the backlash “soon.”
This isn’t the first scandal the school has seen. Back in March, there was another uproar when administrators called out a number of girls for violating the dress code, including one who had on a zipped jacket over a sports bra.
Riley began a Change.org petition after the incident.
“On March 26 of this year countless young women were taken out of their learning environment and sent to the dean’s office where they were forced to change,” says the petition that has 5,418 signatures with 7,000 needed. “All because of the lengths of their shirts, skirts, or the thickness of their straps. This is ridiculous. Many young women were even asked to unzip their jackets so that an administrator could check what they were wearing underneath, and if they did not comply, they were threatened with suspension.
“Taking young women out of their learning environment to change clothes when they should be in class learning is not reasonable. Especially considering the fact that almost all of the young men out of dress code were simply given warnings. The dress code is clearly based on the sexualization of young women and their clothing, especially since many girls are told they are dressed inappropriately or that what they are wearing may be “distracting” to the boys.”
Riley then asks if you want to see “change at BTHS and in St. Johns County,” to sign.