ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — At least 80 photos of girls in a Florida high school yearbook were edited after school officials deemed them “inappropriate.”
The St. Johns County School District confirmed 80 images of girls in the Bartram Trail High School yearbook were digitally altered after being deemed inappropriate for not following the dress code, WJAX reported.
“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, so the digital alterations were a solution to make sure all students were included in the yearbook,” the district said in a statement to WJAX. “At this point the school is offering refunds to any parents calling about this issue. The school is receiving feedback from parents/guardians/students on making this process better for next year.”
The district superintendent, school principal, the person who edited the images and a member of the yearbook committee were not “available for an interview.” A female yearbook teacher made the decision to edit the images, WJAX reported.
Before and after photos of Riley O’Keefe, a ninth grade student, are clearly, and clumsily, edited. She called the censorship a double standard.
“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,” O’Keefe said. “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.”
Rachel D’aquin, the mother of a 10th grade girl, supported the edits.
“If parents aren’t teaching at home how daughters should dress and dress decently, then the school has to parent,” D’aquin said.
O’Keefe said the issue is more than just edits in a yearbook.
“The dress code and sexualization of young girls’ bodies has been happening for a long time,” O’Keefe said. “All the messages I get about people being thankful for me speaking out are worth it, and I’d do it a million times.”
Cox Media Group