Utah High School Under Fire For Airbrushing Yearbook Pictures To Cover Up Girls

c3There is an interesting controversy out of Wasatch County, Utah where students were surprised when they received their yearbooks and found themselves wearing outfits that they never saw before. The Wasatch High School had altered photos of girls who had too much skin showing, though what was viewed as inappropriate by the local school officials is rather surprising.

Students say that there was no rhyme or reason to the alteration and that half of the girls with tank tops were edited while half were left alone. This includes two girls with identical tops. One was covered up and one was not.

The school however insisted that the girls were warned that outfits deemed inappropriate were subject to editing.

Terry E. Shoemaker, superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District, was defiant in the face of claims of arbitrary and conflicting censorship: “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.”

Dress codes have always intrigued me in schools and courts. We previously discussed how female lawyers are treated differently from male lawyers in dress codes. I often appear with women wearing open shirts or sweaters where the same choice by male lawyers would result in an expulsion or sanction. When it comes to students, a male wearing the equivalent to a tank top would likely be barred. It is an interesting cultural distinction.

a21The school’s position is that it is merely trying to teach proper decorum and dress rules. Others have pointed out that this is a deeply religious area. In either case, it appears to have been enforced rather arbitrarily and the question is whether schools should actively encourage (rather than actively enforce) such standards.

By the way, they might want to check out the pictures of a few of the Administrators and teachers for the next round of airbrushing (here and here). Indeed, in covering up shoulders of students, school officials might want to address another misguided female in Washington who appears not to have received the Wasatch School memo on proper dress for official photos:


Source: Fox8

72 thoughts on “Utah High School Under Fire For Airbrushing Yearbook Pictures To Cover Up Girls”

  1. This is a story I’ve been following for a number of years, oftentimes using it as an egregious example that some will stoop to when it comes to religious bigotry and the wants-it-both-ways mindset infesting too many individuals today who actually believe their rights are senior to yours. More damning is how there are only one in a million Snowdens who are ever outraged enough to actually do something about these criminal individuals who, more and more, turn out as the bureaucrat next door. There are so many of these belly-low creatures now, a Texas rattlesnake roundup is needed.

    Laz Paz County church being forced to pay taxes it doesn’t owe

  2. mespo, I don’t necessarily respect absurd beliefs. I only respect, for example, one’s right to satanic worship, if that is what one is into. How does what you deem absurd make it so for everyone else?

    Els, I never said I have a God-given right to defend Mormons (maybe my comment was drafted too hastily). Perhaps you believe your rights begin and end with government, but I certainly do not, as the Framers also had believed. As for killing, perhaps unlike you, I don’t even believe in abortion or capital punishment. Just because I defend religious expression, much less use terminology to refer to a higher power, doesn’t make me religious, as you wrongly leap, or give you the right to sanctimoniously suggest l’m a religious extremist, among other things, as much as your compulsion is steering you. Your line of reasoning implies that an attorney’s defense of a pedophile makes the attorney a pedophile.

  3. The women in my class were draped with a black cloth with a V neckline so we were all appeared the same. I didn’t buy copies. I had another photo taken about the same time when I was wearing a favorite dress. I got copies of this for exchanges with classmates.

    1. bettykath – in a way the drape would be nice. Some of the girls in my class did not have the money for a nice dress for their graduation picture so that would have solved the problem.

  4. Samantha, I followed your side conversation with Mespo about the Mormons and you write that his/Mespo’s bias blinds him. This statement after you write that you are defending Mormons because it’s your God-given right etc. You know I find that an incredible sanctimonious statement. What exactly is a God-given right and how do you proof that you were given it? What kind of other rights did God supposedly give you: to kill in his name? to hate in his name? to dislike the poor? to persecute the gays?

    1. Els DL – My God gave me the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What rights did yours give you?

  5. Samantha:

    Even if the stark distinction between the right to hold beliefs and the propriety of holding those beliefs elude you, maybe you could still answer my question about why you “respect” objectively absurd beliefs? Does your reading of the Bill of Rights require that?

  6. Elaine – love anything that empowers parents and students and gives them choices. It’s the best defense against the “stagnant quo.”

  7. Nick – what a great story about your mom removing all the bindis. 🙂

  8. My state (Massachusetts) has a school choice program. Towns and cities can opt into the program. Funding follows the students from their community to the community where they attend school. I don’t know if other states have school choice programs like MA.

  9. Jim:

    So true. If the schools could set their rules, and parents could be free to choose schools, this wouldn’t be such an issue. Currently, the choice is between public schools, private, and Charter. I like the European system where funding is attached to the student, who can attend any school of the parents’ choice.

  10. I have worked at large companies that had a dress code, some for lab safety and some for workplace decorum. Sleeveless tops were not allowed. If you showed up wearing one you got sent home. Tattoos had to be covered by clothing or a bandage. And I’ve had friends who worked with no dress code, and they’d get everything from miniskirts to short shorts in cubicles. Companies with business casual or business formal are not about repressing women, they are about professionalism.

    I don’t have a problem if a school or business owner sets a dress code, but as Professor Turley pointed out, it needs to be consistent and consistently enforced. One cannot demand business formal in men but allow business casual in women. It sounds like perhaps different people either worked on the airbrushing, or on flagging the photos, and it was all subjective.

    As has been pointed out, implementing uniforms would solve the consistency problem easily. School uniforms also prevent kids from competing for who has the most expensive clothes, and prevent them from being sloppy or dressing too skimpily. I have friends with high school kids and it is amaaaaaaazing what girls sometimes wear. Some of these girls are too young to understand the difference between the attention mud wrestlers get and the interest a class act gets. And the guys with the baggy pants 3 sizes too big belted below their butts! It looks like they can’t dress themselves.

    Either that or printed, clear rules.

  11. mespo, if your own belief system is crazy, you’re right is still protected, even if you’re into satanic worship. As for defending mormons, I’m really defending our god given rights, the constitution and the bill of rights. I actually had made this obvious, but your bias blinds you. As for the remainder of your comments, I won’t respond because I see them as distraction from an argument that is protected by law, unless we tear up the bill of rights first.

  12. The fact that the tattoo was erased shows how unilateral this was. The school did this because officials there used their own personal/individual standards.

    Some people just can’t let things go. I wonder if these girls were told to change their attire if they wore the same to their classrooms.

  13. Paul:

    As long as we have a checks and balances system, all of Obama acts enjoy the passive or active acceptance of those entities whether we agree with their decisions agree or not.

    1. mespo – correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t a case need to come before the courts for them to have jurisdiction? And with a Congress where the House is controlled by one party and the Senate controlled by the other it is hard to say that Obama is acting with either active or passive acceptance.

  14. JT:

    “Just for the record, the school district insists that this is about professional attire for the yearbook and has never referenced religious standards or expectations.”


    And, I thought they did it to “spend more time with their family.” . A quick look at their yearbook, as you point out, reveals the true motivation. In Utah, if it’s not about the Mormon religion, it’s about to be

  15. mespo –

    BTW if you want to criticize Obama, again feel free but you should also know that everything he does is done with the approval of Congress, the court system, the bureaucracy, and a majority of the electorate who put him into office.

    I don’t think you can back this up. 😉

    1. Understood. The comment was not meant as a criticism. Many have expressed that view but I wanted to be fair to the district officials in terms of the official explanation given for the action taken on the pictures.

  16. Paul, frankly, that’s baloney. It’s a public school. Bottom line.

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