Female students at a high school in Utah were shocked to discover that their photos had been altered before being published in the Yearbook. The students at Wasatch High School found out that their images had been edited to reveal less skin without their consent and some of them also felt that the decision to alter certain photos and not all appeared rather arbitrary and amounted to discrimination.
“I feel like they put names in a hat and pick and choose who… There were plenty of girls that were wearing thicker tank tops and half of them got edited and half of them didn’t,” said sophomore Rachel Russell.
The students could not determine what the problem was because they believe their outfits abided by the school’s dress code and most of them had worn them on campus many times before.
“I feel like they're trying to shame you of your body,” said sophomore Shelby Baum.
Approximately 24 girls complained about their photos being altered and none of them knew of any boys who had similar complaints. While some saw their tattoos being erased, others found sleeves being added to their attires.
Apart from the fact that the school had not consulted the girls before editing their pictures, what bothered most of the students is that the administration had randomly chosen which pictures to edit and which pictures to leave untouched. For instance, in one case, two girls were wearing identical tops – while one of their pictures was edited to add sleeves, the other one was not.
Photo Credit: KSTU
While the administration did admit to erring in not applying the rules to every student, they also said that the students were informed about a certain dress code from beforehand and there was a notice on the premises telling them that their pictures may be edited if they violate the dress code.
“We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we're trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” said Terry Shoemaker, superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District.
An estimated 67 percent of Utah residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which promotes modest clothing. For women, that implies avoiding short skirts, low-cut shirts and covering bare shoulders. The church also tells its members not to “disfigure themselves” with piercings and tattoos. These guidelines stem from a belief that the human body is a sacred gift from god and that god wants his subjects to be chaste.
“The fashions of the world will change, but the Lord's standards will not change,” reads a pamphlet distributed to youth members of the faith.
The Wasatch School District dress code uses the word modesty twice – “Clothing will be modest, neat, clean, in good repair. Modesty includes covering shoulders, midriff, back, underwear and cleavage at all times.”
Photo Credits: KEN