Side by side image of a yearbook photo of a ninth grader at Bartram Trail High School where the neckline of her shirt was raised to cover cleavage


‘Those girls are just existing in their bodies’: High school altered 80 girls’ yearbook pictures

'I felt very sexualized.'


Jennifer Xia


Published May 21, 2021   Updated May 22, 2021, 10:47 am CDT

Parents are demanding an apology after 80 yearbook photos of girls at Bartram Trail High School in Florida were altered to cover cleavage and low necklines.

“Our daughters of Bartram deserve an apology,” one mother said, according to WJAX-TV. “They are making them feel embarrassed about who they are.”

A photo of ninth-grade high schooler Riley O’Keefe, who wore a swoop neck black shirt and cardigan for her yearbook photo, was edited to cover her cleavage.

According to a statement released by Bartram Trail High School to WJAX-TV, digital alterations were made if pictures violated the student code of conduct, and all yearbook photos had to follow dress code guidelines.

The high school’s student dress code states that “students are prohibited from wearing clothing that exposes underwear or that exposes body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner” and specifically lists that girls’ tops and shirts “must cover the entire shoulder and they must be modest and not revealing or distracting.”

O’Keefe said she wore the exact outfit to the school’s office and was told it was acceptable. According to WJAX-TV other parents and daughters had also worn similar outfits to school before and “never got in trouble.”

“You’re not only affecting their photo,” O’Keefe said. “You’re making them uncomfortable and feel like their bodies aren’t acceptable in a yearbook.”

Another ninth grader, Zoe Lannone, said looking at her edited picture made her feel sexualized. “I felt confident that day and I looked good, in dress code,” Lannone said.

People online said they found the edits unacceptable and believed they unnecessarily sexualized the teenagers.

“Those girls are just existing in their bodies,” one user commented on Twitter. “The only people ‘sexualizing’ them are the ones gawking at a tiny curve of breast tissue and deciding that those bodies are impure and must be hidden.”

Others shared personal stories addressing the discriminatory differences between dress codes for girls versus boys.

“My daughter got suspended from school once because her shoulders were visible,” one user commented. “On the way to the office to do the paperwork, she and the staff member passed four boys wearing tank tops that showed their shoulders.”

The school is offering refunds to any parents who contact the school who had issues with the photo altering and is also collecting feedback on how to make the process better for next year. 

Bartram High School did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. 

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*First Published: May 21, 2021, 4:22 pm CDT