Bartram Trail High School accused of 'sexism' after yearbook photos of girls altered to cover chests, shoulders
ST JOHNS, FLORIDA: Parents of students of a Florida high school are demanding an apology after their daughters' yearbook photos were edited to cover up their body parts. Reportedly, all of the pictures that were edited featured female students, and the photoshop was done to cover chests and shoulders. The school is now facing allegations of sexism.
Officials at Bartram Trail High School in St John reportedly ordered at least 80 pictures in their 2021 yearbook to be photoshopped because they were 'inappropriate'. Before and after photographs show how the young girls' tops were edited to bring necklines much higher than they were. Apparently, photos of boys wearing speedos were left untouched.
Texas student suspended for wearing nail polish, says it's 'double standard' because girls are allowed to paint nails
Louisiana High school principal orders students to send photos of prom dresses for approval before buying it
'I felt very sexualized'
When the students saw their pictures in the yearbook, they were baffled to say the least. They say they have been left feeling "sexualized" by the school, as this action indicates that the outfits they were wearing were not inappropriate in any way. "I felt confident that day and I looked good, in dress code," ninth grader Zoe Iannone reportedly told Action News Jax. "When I sent it to my mom and all of us saw it, I felt very sexualized."
Decision was taken by a one teacher
According to school district spokeswoman Christina Langston, the school's yearbook coordinator, Anne Irwin, who is a teacher, decided that the photos were not as per dress code and did some of the editing. 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.
According to the latest report, Langston said, "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. 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."
School was okay with the dress
Ninth-grader Riley O'Keefe couldn't understand why her photo was altered in the printed edition of the yearbook especially when she had ensured that her outfit was approved by the school before she had her photo taken. "It doesn't make any sense that they looked at that and was like, 'This is okay, but this is not,'" she said.
Stephanie Fabre reportedly told First Coast News, "Yesterday she happened to be wearing the shirt again so after school, we went up to the school and asked if she was in dress code and they said yes. So, my next question was if the shirt is in dress code and is good enough for school and your school ID, why is it not enough for the yearbook?"
Adrian Bartlett, the mother of a student at the school, doesn't agree with how her daughter's yearbook picture was edited in the chest area to add more shirt coverage. Even though she laughs it off, Bartlett is concerned. "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 reportedly said.
As the edit was poorly done, it makes her daughter's body look unnatural. This has led to kids teasing her, Bartlett complained, according to a report.
"My daughter has been hospitalized twice this school year due to the stress and pressure this past year has brought upon her, including body image issues, which she is still seeking regular treatment for," Bartlett said in an email to The Record. "And now, the school has made a decision that is now drawing attention to her body in a negative way. It sends the message that our young girls should be ashamed of their naturally growing bodies."
Daughters deserve an apology
Even though the school has said parents and students can ask for a refund if they were not happy with the yearbook, one parent said that was not enough. "Our daughters of Bartram deserve an apology," she stated. "They are making them feel embarrassed about who they are."
This is not the first time that the school is being called out. The controversy comes even as the school is already embroiled in a debate over its handling of the district's dress code, which some say is sexist and unfairly targets girls. Critics said the yearbook editing sends yet another harmful message to female students.