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Parents, Students Miffed at Yearbook Photo Edits: 'Horrible Message'

Fla.'s Bartram Trail High School digitally altered 80 girls' pictures to cover up their chests, shoulders
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2021 8:44 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2021 6:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's the end of the school year, which means it's also yearbook time. At one Florida high school, however, this annual tradition was marred by an odd find when the $100 yearbooks were distributed. News4Jax and the St. Augustine Record report that 80 portraits of female students were digitally modified by the yearbook coordinator at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, without notifying students or their parents about the tweaks. A spokeswoman for the St. Johns County School District says that Anne Irwin, also a teacher at the school, had the final OK on what made it into the yearbook and was behind the picture edits, which she deemed necessary due to perceived violations of the district's dress code. In the photos—some of which can be seen in this Action News Jax thread—additional clothing was edited in to more fully cover girls' shoulders and chest areas. The district's dress code notes "tops and shirts must cover the entire shoulder," among other rules.

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The school's website says yearbook pictures "may be digitally adjusted" if they don't conform to the district's code of conduct. Critics, however, note several issues with the changes, including poor editing that led to teasing of students, as well as the fact that all of the altered photos are of girls, even though there are unedited pictures of male students in Speedos, which also violate the dress code, per NPR. Some students also say they'd never been warned about the outfits they had on in their portraits when they'd worn them to school previously. Mom Adrian Bartlett tells the Record the incident sends a "horrible message" to students "that our young girls should be ashamed of their naturally growing bodies." It's not the first time Bartram High has had a dress code commotion: The school made headlines in March for yanking dozens of girls out of class in one day for alleged dress code violations. District stats show upward of 80% of dress code breaches in recent years have gone to girls. (Read more yearbook stories.)

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