Wasatch High mother points out revealing yearbook photos that weren’t censored

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WASATCH COUNTY, Utah – The day after FOX 13 News broke the story regarding Utah students who were upset to discover their yearbook photos had been altered to show less skin, a concerned parent contradicted the statement made by school officials relating to the incident.

Officials with the Wasatch County School District said there was a sign present on picture day informing students of the dress code and the possibility photos would be altered because of that, but parent Bobbi Westergard contradicts that statement, saying she was with her daughter on picture day.

"There absolutely wasn't a sign there,” Westergard told FOX 13 News. “There was no warning about the dress code or the photos may be edited or anything along those lines.”

A statement from the school district released Thursday and available below reiterates school officials’ claim regarding the sign.

Westergard said she is also upset because photos in the yearbook from various activities and sporting events show students showing more skin than was shown in the photos the school edited.

"In some of the cheerleading pictures you can see everything, in some of the dance pictures you could see their crotches, I mean there's just a lot of inappropriate sports pictures," she said.

See the video above for some of the examples referenced by Westergard.

Related story: Rape victim advocate calls yearbook photo incident ‘unacceptable’

Shelby Baum, Westergard's daughter, was one of the students who had her photos edited, and she said the seeming double standard is upsetting.

"They're in the yearbook but we're not, and they could have edited them just as easily as they edited us,” she said.

Baum also said her tattoo was edited out of her picture, even though she said she had approval from the school before she got it.

"It is irritating, mainly my tattoo is the part that bothers me the most because it says, ‘I am enough the way I am’ and for them to remove it and cover my shirt it makes me feel like I'm not enough,” she said.

The following statement was issued Thursday by the Wasatch County School District, who declined to comment further to FOX 13 News Thursday:

Yesterday, we learned that a few Wasatch High School students are upset because their photos had been edited before being placed in the 2014 yearbook.

Last fall when yearbook photos were taken, a large sign (4 feet by 5 feet) was placed where students could see it before having their photo taken. The sign told students that school dress standards would be enforced. Tank tops, low cut tops, inappropriate slogans on shirts, etc. would not be allowed. If a student violated this policy, the sign told them explicitly that the photos may be edited to correct the violation. The sign was plainly visible to all students who were having their photos taken.

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. However, there is no question that all students were advised that photos may be edited if the student’s dress did not follow the dress code.

However, in the application of these graphic corrections, the high school yearbook staff did make some errors and were not consistent in how they were applied to student photos and the school apologizes for that inconsistency.

Wasatch High School and Wasatch County School District are evaluating the practice of photo editing of pictures as it now stands and will make a determination on further use of the practice.


32 comments

  • Brett

    My sister in law was there when they took her sons picture, and said there wasn’t a sign there as well.

  • Cartman

    The plot thickens.

    If the kids knew ahead of time, I blame them. If not, I blame the school. And it’s not enough to say “That’s always been the school’s dress code”, because (apparently) it’s not enforced regularly.

    Have whatever rules you want, but state them clearly AND enforce them uniformly.

  • Mike

    Wasatch High school has been photo shopping yearbook pictures for years. Last year my daughter wore a “modest” blouse that covered the top of her shoulders yet the school added full sleeves to it. We were upset that her image was altered without consent and that her classmates did the alteration. Who knows what other Photoshop manipulations could have been done to her image. There was no sign or notification last year. We didn’t see a sign nor do we know of anyone that did. The administration was directly notified of our concerns last year so this is not a new issue. Maybe now with all of the press they will reconsider their approach; however, the superintendent is only apologizing for not editing every questionable image. Ironically the district’s home page for years featured a group of kids that included a girl with a spaghetti strap shirt.

  • Michael

    Well perhaps the School should just do a recall on all of the yearbooks and retake the pictures. Give everyone a smock to wear and put no other pictures into the yearbook excepting the student class pictures. No sports or extra-curricular pictures. Will this satisfy everyone? It would certainly reduce the cost of yearbooks and that money could go into the education system.

    Now because of this comment I expect people will say this is too extreme but at what point do you just say enough is enough and just provide no benefits to anyone and just make the school system into a prison. And let us face it parents for the most part use the education system as a babysitting service.

    • Cartman

      Who is this “Utah Taliban”? You don’t get much more conservative, or “Mormon”, than Heber City….and the whole point of this controversy is that the photo editing was FAR beyond community standards. You need to get out of Utah more. You sound like a rube.

      Turns out the “editing” was done by the kids on the yearbook committee. Children should never, EVER be put in charge of discipline of their fellow students. Only adults should do that. Decisions on whether or not a photo is acceptable according to the dress code should NEVER involve kids. Their only job should be to put the approved photos in alphabetical order.

      This wasn’t a “Mormon” thing. It was a CLIQUE thing. Just teenage girls being snarky.

      • JD

        Since when did this become a “discipline thing?” The way I see it the school had every right to remove the photo entirely and put in a “not pictured” icon in its place. That is what happened to several students who did not follow the dress code iny high school. Rather than disciplining, I see this as the school doing all it could to enable all students to be pictured in the yearbook.
        And lets be honest, are you that dead set on your daughter wearing a spaghetti strap rather than a short sleeved cami?

  • Barbara Miles

    I think the yearbooks should be re-done at no cost to the student body. Re use the original untouched photos. If this is not possible for whatever reason, then everyone who purchased one should be refunded the price of the yearbook. Next year, make a plan and spell out just exactly what will be photo shopped and leave everything else alone.

  • Susan Saxton

    The boys teams wear long shorts except the wrestling team. Girls track, and especially volleyball have extreme short skin tight shorts. Should we call that discrimination or sexual exploitation/ abuse?

  • voiceoftruth19

    OH MY GOD!!!! WHO F*CKING CARES!!! HERE IS AN IDEA DONT LET YOU KIDS LEAVE THE HOUSE DRESS LIKE WHORES!

    • Scott

      I guess I didn’t realize that dressing like a whore meant showing your shoulders. My mistake.

    • utahisstillbackwards

      Oh my god. This is just one of the reasons why I could never live in Utah again (was forced to live here when I was a kid, and moved out of state when I was 19). Shoulders being exposed? Are you kidding me? Just how tight is the underwear of the school officials? Whores? Please. Crawl back into your cave…

  • Jon Anthony

    I’m afraid I’d have to closely examine the alleged cheerleader “revealing” photos before commenting with any degree of articulation.

  • Broooke Hardman

    My biggest problem is not all pictures were changed and the decision of who’s picture was “made more modest”was decided by the year book committee. That means students made these decisions (along with facility) so was it a case of “I don’t like her” or ” she’s too pretty” so let’s change her picture. High school girls are pretty mean and shouldn’t have the power to pick and choose another students looks in a permanent picture. If they can’t enforce all pictures be held to the standard, then none of the should have been changed!

  • Patriot

    Sick of hearing about this Mickey Mouse nonsense. Mothers dress your little darlings before they go to school so the teacher does not have to look at their nakedness!

  • downcastmysoul

    Get every senior girl to buy the same pre agreed upon modest dress to take the picture. No way to prevent green hair, piercings and tattoos.

    • Cartman

      Why does it only apply to girls? Because they’re inherently evil?

      Were you looking for Kabul and accidentally found Utah?

      • Cartman

        Fine. Get the parents of Wasatch High to agree to a school uniform policy.

        If that’s the community standard, so be it. Good luck. I’ll even vote for it. But until then, whatever community standard happens to prevail is what the school should use. If you want to dress your kids more “modestly” than that standard, do so. Be a parent. But it’s not the job of the schools to make your job easier, or to jump through your personal hoops.

  • Cartman

    Public school dress codes are supposed to represent “community standards”, which is defined as what an average taxpaying member of the community would view as acceptable. AVERAGE. The standard is not supposed to cater to the most blue-haired busybody, nor to the sluttiest stripper. AVERAGE.

    Heber City is a pretty conservative place, and mostly LDS. But the photos shown would definitely NOT offend the average member of the Heber City community.

    This is the result of one (or possibly a few) blue-haired busybodies who believe that the world should conform to THEIR personal standards.

    If you want a higher OR a lower standard for YOUR little darling, then put them in a private school or home-school them. It is not the job of the public schools to cater to every individual whim.

    I have NO PROBLEM with the school having standards, as long as they are COMMUNITY STANDARDS, are clearly defined and stated, and uniformly enforced.

    This story has gone national, and reading the comments from around the country shows that AMERICANS, in general, are overwhelmingly in favor of what Wasatch High’s supposed “standards” are. So to claim it’s a “Mormon thing” i simply not try, and is a very provincial and ignorant attitude. The issue is whether or not these girls actually violated a standard or not, and what the Community Standard actually is.

    I do not believe the school’s claim that “there was a sign on the wall.” If so, at least ONE person would have come forward to back them up. I believe they are petty bureaucrats who got caught doing something dumb, and who are now doing what bureaucrats always do when caught: LYING.

    Photos should never be digitally altered. If they violate a clearly stated, uniformly enforced Community Standard then they should not be published at all. We shouldn’t cater to loudmouths and cranks, but neither should we cater to kids who choose not to comply. That teaches them that the world will bend to their wishes. That’s a lie. The world does not do so.

  • Cartman

    The dress code for Beverly Hills High School, as taken from their website:

    STANDARDS FOR APPROPRIATE DRESS:

    No clothing, backpacks, or hats that suggest a gang affiliation, has inappropriate logos including graffiti style language/logos, carries an inappropriate message (words or images that are offensive, vulgar, derogatory towards individuals or groups of people, or that promote or advertise illegal products or activities), does not provide appropriate coverage, or detracts from the academic environment.
    Undergarments shall not be visible.
    Girls: No revealing clothing. Students shall not wear sheer blouses, bare midriff or revealing tank tops, tube tops, open backed shirts, halter tops, spaghetti straps, or low-cut necklines. Short skirts and short shorts are not allowed. Shorts and skirts must be at least half way down the thigh. Leggings or tights must be covered by shorts, dress, or skirt.
    Boys: no sagging pants, wallet chains, hanging belts, or hats/clothing with inappropriate language or logos. Hats or hoods may not be worn in class.
    All clothing must be neat, clean, and in good condition, reflecting a professional atmosphere of learning.

    Drat those Mormons! They’re EVERYWHERE! LOL!

  • NotbuyingIT

    Utah thing, what other high school photoshops girls photos to cover their shoulders? Seriously, shoulders? Really an outdated standard. In some areas of Utah women will get stared at, and disapproving looks if a she isn’t wearing a t shirt under their tank top (why bother with the tank then) , but in the more progressive areas it’s rare (SLC, Park City). Utah has a high rate of female and child abuse/molestation, so making them cover up to “protect” them rather than taking progressive action to stop the problem seems to be ….well yes a Taliban way of dealing with the “natural” instincts of the dominating gender.

  • Ace Frahm

    Has anyone suggested to the students they could take their own yearbook private, out of the hands of the principal, and refuse to participate in any “official” yearbook that features any censorship?

    Students have a right to control their own image. The school could have left out images it wanted to censor, but Photoshopping the images without written, informed consent could make them liable for a class-action lawsuit. Could the students use such threat to force the school to reprint the yearbook without edits, or suffer a lawsuit?

    Does the principal understand simply placing a sign is not the same as acquiring written legal consent from each student, even if they all looked at it, and read it word-for-word, which no one did?

    Where is the sign now?
    Did you look at it?
    What did it actually say?

    Which person(s) made the decision to alter the photos, and who did the work?
    Was it the yearbook advisor, Dallyn Zundel?
    Did he act alone?
    The school website links to Zundel’s own website, which features
    this Mitt Romney 2012 poster, he labeled it “Propaganda Poster”:
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Digital.html#5
    and this pro-LDS missionaries poster in a Soviet Constructivist style also labelled “Propaganda Poster”:
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Digital.html#6
    Yet it also includes this, with fantasy bare shoulder, mascara for days & ridiculously “ripe” lips:
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Digital.html#11
    Also at his site:
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Recent.html#18
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Recent.html#15
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Recent.html#16
    http://dallynzundelstudio.com/DallynZundelStudio/Recent.html#17
    If Mr. Zundel is responsible for the editing of the yearbook images, how does he explain the content of his own website?
    If it is not OK for the school yearbook to include perfectly normal shoulders & clothes, why is it OK for the school website to link to yearbook advisor’s “almost soft porn” image + mormon propaganda at his own website?

    If the school principal, yearbook advisor, and/or others responsible don’t have the self-discipline to recognize that they are abusing the government power of their jobs to force peculiarly crazy religious standards onto relatively powerless students in a hypocritical fashion, don’t they deserve to be fired/resign?

    Did any of the students participate in the decision to alter, or the alterations?
    If so, who were they?
    If so, did any of these students object?

    Your story also says that when student Montya wore a jeans skirt, “Montoya was ordered to change into sweatpants emblazoned with the words, “I support Wasatch High dress code.”” This situation seems to be an illegal compulsion from the government of political speech by a student that is against their free speech rights.

    Are any students willing to file a lawsuit?
    THEY COULD WIN BIG $$$$$ IN COURT!
    Is there a lawyer willing to take up their case?

    Please forward this message to the afflicted yearbook victims

    • Bob

      Interesting rant. Short on common sense and practicality, but long on immaturity. Everybody involved has moved on already Ace.

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