SALT LAKE CITY – A group of Utah high school students said they were shocked and upset to discover their school yearbook photos were digitally altered, with sleeves and higher necklines drawn on to cover up bare skin.
Several students at Wasatch High School in Heber City say their outfits did meet the school dress code and they’ve worn them on campus many times.
I feel like they’re trying to shame you of your body, said sophomore Shelby Baum, who discovered a high, square neckline was drawn on her black, V-neck T-shirt.
Baum told the Salt Lake Tribune she was upset to learn a tattoo she had on her collarbone was erased from her photo. She said she consulted the school dress code before getting the tattoo, a line of script that reads, I am enough the way I am.
I was shocked, said Kimberly Montoya, a sophomore who found the sleeveless top she wore last fall had been converted into a short-sleeved shirt.
Editing photos to meet modesty standards is humiliating for girls, Montoya and other students said. The students also say the standards weren’t applied uniformly at the public school in Heber City, about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City.
The Wasatch County School District said in a statement Thursday that students were warned when yearbook photos were taken last fall that images might be altered if students violated dress standards.
When the yearbook comes out in the spring, students are always excited to see their pictures and are concerned with how they look in the yearbook, so it is understandable that students in violation of the dress code could forget that they received warnings about inappropriate dress, the statement said.
District officials apologized about the alterations not being uniformly applied and said they were evaluating the policy of altering photos in the future.
Superintendent Terry Shoemaker declined to comment further.
Baum and Montoya said they knew of at least seven other students whose photos were altered.
An estimated two-thirds of Utah residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which encourages its members to practice modesty in how they dress.