A US high school has been lambasted for altering the yearbook photos of female students, whose outfits were deemed too revealing and going against the school dress code.
Bartram Trail High School in Florida is facing huge backlash from parents and students after altering 80 different yearbook photos – all of them of girls, Action News Jax reported.
The attempt to cover up the young students' upper chests and/or slightly exposed cleavage has been called out as sexist - particularly given images of boys (even some in their swimming speedos) remained untouched.
One mother of a student, Adrian Bartlett, told USA Today her daughter's picture was edited in the chest area to add more shirt coverage.
"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," Adrian said, adding her daughter has worn the same outfit to school regularly and has never received a violation.
Another anonymous mother told Action News Jax: "Our daughters of Bartram deserve an apology. They are making them feel embarrassed about who they are."
Riley O’Keefe, a ninth grader at the school, echoed that sentiment, telling the NY Times: “They need to recognise that it’s making girls feel ashamed of their bodies."
The school defended its actions in a statement, saying previously any student deemed in violation of the school's code of conduct would simply not be included.
"So the digital alterations were a solution to make sure all students were included in the yearbook," the statement read.
The school has offered a refund to parents unhappy with the yearbook – given it cost $100 USD – adding that administrators had been “receiving feedback” about it. But no official or public apology has been made.
The altered images also sparked quite a response on social media after they were shared on Twitter.
"What da eff? Apologies? Reprint it with the original photos, and make the twit who did it pay for them," one angry Twitter user wrote.
"I’m sorry WHAT," was another outraged response.
While a third wrote: "Wow, Bartram Trail High School sexualised girl students for being female. I'm okay with dress codes for high school students (uniforms in private schools), but not dress codes that mean female secondary sex characteristics are erased."
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