When the $100 high school yearbook was released at the end of the year, some students at Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns County, Florida, were a little surprised.
At least 80 students had their photos digitally edited, and some quite badly, to add more clothing to their chests and shoulders. All of them were girls, and none of them were consulted.
According to a school district spokeswoman, the school’s yearbook coordinator, Anne Irwin, who is a teacher, decided that the photos were out of dress code and did some of the editing.
Some critics thought it was interesting that there were photos of boys on the swim team in Speedos that were unaltered.
Bartram Trail High isn’t new to dress code controversy. Earlier this year dozens of girls were removed from class when they were asked to unzip their fully zipped sweatshirts in front of other students and teachers to reveal tank tops and sports bras, which were then deemed in violation.
In response a petition was created calling the violations “clearly based on the sexualization of young women and their clothing, especially since many girls are told they are dressed inappropriately or that what they are wearing may be ‘distracting’ to the boys.”
The school district has offered refunds to those who are objecting, but would have to turn in their yearbook to be refunded the $100. Parents say this isn’t about the money, but the messaging that girls should be ashamed of their bodies.
One parent said that her daughter had struggled with stress from the pandemic and other mental health issues over the past year, adding, “The school did a horrible job of protecting our children’s mental health by body-shaming.”
The St. Johns County School District breaks down these standards in its dress code:
- Boys’ pants/slacks must be worn at the waist. No boxer shorts or underwear may be visible.
- Mustaches and beards shall be neatly trimmed.
- Revealing clothing and pajamas are not acceptable.
- Tops and shirts must cover the entire shoulder and they must be modest and not revealing or distracting.
- Midriff or “cut‐out” dresses and “cut out” tops may not be worn.
- Extremely short skirts are not allowed.
- Skirts must be no shorter than 4 inches above the top of the knee.
- Revealing clothing, pajamas and lingerie are not acceptable. Underwear must not be exposed.
- Hair curlers and excessive makeup shall not be permitted.
- Girls’ pants/slacks must be worn at the waist. No underwear may be exposed.