80 photos from student directory altered due to alleged dress code violations

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. (WFOX / WJAX) – A Florida high school has been criticized for altering 80 photos in the student directory that it deemed “inappropriate” and inconsistent with the dress code. Students say the incident made them feel uncomfortable and sexualized.

Riley O’Keefe, a grade 9 student at Bartram Trail High School, said the photo in her yearbook was deemed inappropriate by the school and was pictured in the print edition. Her photo wasn’t the only one – 79 other students also had their photos edited.

Several, including O’Keefe, had their chests covered. Others had their shoulders covered.

Grade 9 student Riley O’Keefe says her yearbook photo was deemed inappropriate by the school and was pictured in the print edition to cover her chest. She says the changes made her uncomfortable and her body was not acceptable.(Source: WFOX / WJAX via CNN)

“You don’t just affect their photo. It’s not just about protecting them. You make them uncomfortable and feel that their body is not acceptable in a directory, ”said O’Keefe.

O’Keefe says she was wearing the exact same outfit from her photo at the office, and they told her everything was fine.

After seeing the edited picture from the phone book, O’Keefe felt uncomfortable but wanted to speak up and push for the change.

“I don’t want girls to feel like they don’t have a voice, especially girls who don’t feel comfortable coming in and talking about it,” she said.

Embarrassed, ashamed and sexualized are the terms most commonly used by affected students when describing how they are feeling.

“I felt confident that day and looked good. I was in dress code and then when I sent it to my mom and we all saw it I felt very sexualized, like that was what they were worried about, ”Zoe said. Iannone, a 9th grader whose photo has been changed to cover her chest.

Grade 9 student Zoe Iannone says her photo has been changed to cover her chest and the change has been made ...
Grade 9 student Zoe Iannone says her photo was changed to cover her chest and the change made her feel “sexualized.”(Source: WFOX / WJAX via CNN)

The St. Johns County School District said the high school’s previous procedure was not to include student yearbook images found to be “in violation of the student code of conduct,” so the digital changes were made to ensure that all students could be included in the yearbook.

The school district says a yearbook teacher made the decision.

The school says it offers to refund the money from the parents’ directory on the retouched photos, but a mother who didn’t want her identity shared says a refund doesn’t cut her off.

“Our girls at Bartram deserve an apology. They feel embarrassed about who they are, ”she said.

Parents and students say they understand what school officials were trying to do, but say they overstepped the line, causing backfire.

Copyright 2021 WFOX / WJAX via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.


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