- Parents of students at Bartram Trail High School in St. John will be able to get their money back for $100 yearbooks that were edited
- They must hand back the yearbooks to receive the refund, with no word given if there’ll be another print run featuring uncensored snaps
- Officials at the school reportedly ordered the pictures of 80 girls edited because they were ‘inappropriate and violated the school’s dress code with cleavage
- They used to just exclude pictures they deemed in violation of the student code of conduct, but decided to edit them this year to include all students
- Parents previously demanded the school apologize for its censorship
A Florida high school is offering outraged parents refunds after clumsily photoshopping 80 female students’ yearbook photos to make them more conservative.
Officials at Bartram Trail High School in St. John will pay back the $100 cost of the yearbook to anyone upset over their photoshopping – which was not applied to photos of male students in speedos.
The school initially ordered its yearbook committee edit the photos because they were ‘inappropriate’ and violated the school’s dress code. Girls had the necklines of their sweaters raised – with one girl even having her shoulders covered up.
But school staff were forced into a humiliating U-turn after snaps of their poorly-executed photoshop attempts went viral. They said that in order to receive a refund, parents must return the yearbook.
There has been no comment on whether another, uncensored, print run is planned, leaving scores of students with the option of keeping a yearbook that upsets them – or not having one at all.
In a statement to News4Jax, district officials said they used to just exclude student pictures 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’s website also included a disclaimer saying that student images might be altered to fit with the Bartram Trail High School dress code.
‘All images in ads and all individual student pictures must be consistent with the St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct or may be digitally adjusted,’ the disclaimer reads.
Several of the photos leaked to the internet shows that girls’ shirts were photoshopped to bring their necklines higher. However, photos of boys in skimpy speedos were left unedited.
Ninth-grader Riley O’Keefe says she was left stunned when she saw her outfit had been altered in the printed edition of the yearbook, particularly because it had been approved by the school before she had her photo taken.
O’Keefe’s mom, Stephanie, told First Coast News Friday: ‘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?’
A mother told Nes4Jax she thought the school was sending young girls the ‘wrong message’ by editing out their cleavage, saying it ‘sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies,’ and another said she thought a refund on the $100 yearbooks was not enough.
‘Our daughters of Bartram deserve an apology,’ she stated. ‘They are making them feel embarrassed about who they are.’
The school had previously come under fire for singling girls’ dress styles out in March, when teen girls said they were taken out of class and sent to the dean’s office to change clothes or face suspension.
The incident sparked an online petition created by students calling for change, which had more than 4,000 signatures.
A subsequent investigation by News4Jax found the number of recorded violations of the St. Johns County School District’s student dress code skyrocketed during the 2020-21 school year, according to data provided by the district.
Across the district, 78% of dress code violations went to female students.