Students at Utah school upset to discover yearbook photos were altered before publication

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WASATCH COUNTY, Utah -- Female students at a Utah high school want to know why their yearbook photos were altered to show less skin without them knowing about it.

The students who were surprised to find their photos altered attend Wasatch High School, and some of them said they also feel upset because it appears the decisions whether to alter the photos or not weren't made consistently.

“I feel like they put names in a hat and pick and choose who," Sophomore Rachel Russel said. "There were plenty of girls that were wearing thicker tank tops and half of them got edited and half of them didn't."

And that’s what bothered the girls the most. It seemed like the school randomly picked which pictures to edit. In one case, two different girls were wearing nearly identical tops: one photo was altered to add sleeves and the other was not. At least two dozen girls had their photos altered. The students who spoke with FOX 13 News were not aware of any male students who had their photos altered.

But educators said the students know the dress code and there was a sign warning them that their pictures may be edited. However, the Wasatch County Superintendent admits the school erred in not applying the same rules to each student.

“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,” said Terry E. Shoemaker, who is the superintendent of schools for the  Wasatch County School District.

FOX 13 News' Kiersten Nuñez spoke with students and school officials, see the video above for her report. The photos are included in that video and are also available in the gallery below.

RELATED: Photoshopped yearbook pics ‘modesty shaming,’ Rape Recovery Center says


  • Cartman

    A typical Southern California public high school dress code, as published on their website:

    The Beverly Hills Unified School District believes that the school and the home be engaged in a partnership to teach the values of integrity, truth, personal accountability and respect for the rights of others.

    DRESS CODE POLICY – Click on Photo Album Photos
    Students will dress appropriately for school as described in the Beverly Hills Unified School District’s Board Policy. Student will recognize that school is a place of business and that they must respect the dress code policy.


    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.

    First Infraction:
    1. Student referred to the Assistant Principal for counseling and change of clothes
    2. Parents notified for a conference and a 1-day student suspension

    Second Infraction:
    1. Student referred to the Assistant Principal for a conference and a 5-day student suspension.

    The photos depicted of “before editing” would NOT be acceptable in yearbook photos in southern California. Got it? There will be a quiz later.

  • electropig

    Gotta say, I very much enjoyed all of the comments which supported the narrow-minded viewpoint of the school’s FAILURES. But it’s their policy, and if they want to edit a student’s photo to THEIR OWN PERSONA LIKING, then they should be free to do that, without any notice to the person they’re “revising to their tastes, for whatever reason.”

    That said, since the photos were revised without the fully informed and advance consent of the kids whose photos were “edited”, those kids should at least have their yearbook costs refunded, as legally, THEY did not appear in the yearbook.

  • pnamajck

    i agree with sukiyhtaky’s earlier comment. all schools need to maintain / enforce dress-codes … it’s the students who interpret / manipulate the system for their own self-centered gratification. i work for a yearbook publishing firm … we routinely are asked, by school staff, to “cover up” clothing … or retouch “bird flipping” or “gang symbols” that idiots try to sneak into pictures. s’been this way since the 70’s at least … have no doubt many decades earlier as well. students need to act responsibly … or face the consequences.

  • Tigger

    “They KNEW they were breaking the school’s dress code”. So why are they now whinging about their photos being edited? IMO, they were very lucky the school didn’t just print a blank where their photos should be.


    I think all of the edited photo’s look a lot better! Those girls should be thanking the school. I know I would be as their mother. Geesh! And get over it. Yes, the school needs to be more consistent. But they did put up signs.

    • Nan

      I think they look worse, the editing looks like it was done with a black Sharpie and White-Out..

  • Lizza

    “Students say they knew they were breaking the school’s dress code.”
    Did you moaners not hear that? The girls broke the rules, ignored the warning, and now are whining that their little teen-age cleavages and bare shoulders have been covered up. Wah wah. Why is this even an issue ?

  • Brian

    This is all silly. All of those pictures were fine. Except the one that was altered to cover up that girl’s bra strap. Not because it was slutty, but because it looked terrible. They did her a fashion favor on that one. The rest? Take your prudish puritan ways somewhere else, Utah. Get a grip.

  • meffertf

    What I don’t get is why these pictures were censored in the first place. I’m a practicing Christian with a 16 year old daughter in High school, and I don’t see anything in these pictures I wouldn’t approve of my daughter wearing. And believe me, I have my limits.

    The cleavage I see is not revealing in the least. I see worse at church. The funniest part, however, is the covering of the naked shoulders. What are we, puritans? Should we require our girls to wear a burqa until they’re 18?

    Silly, silly Utah.

  • Mr. Jackson

    They’re still showing too much skin. Their head and face can still be seen.

    Just throw burqas on all of them.

  • McFowl

    Well unless the school got permission to alter the photo’s from whoever took the photograph’s of each student there sa a case of copyright infringement here. Photographer don’t just give people a copyright release unless someone is willing to pay serious money for it. We on the other hand do give a print or user release to the purchaser which allows them to post or print the photograph. Know one not even the purchaser can alter the photographe without written permission to do so. What the school should have done if there was something wrong with the photograph is contact the student and/or parent to let them know the photograph didn’t meet either school standards or rules.

  • kami

    I honestly don’t get why this is an issue or why people care so much. If it were me is this scenario I’d say something along the lines of, “Oh man..that’s weird” and then not think about it anymore. I mean seriously, the only time I would ever get mad is if they made me less publicly presentable like putting me in a bikini or something.
    Making it more presentable was really only a change of regular clothes and it still looked great.

    Why would people lose their minds over modesty? Are they mad because they over reacted that the picture has changed or mad because they have more clothes on?


    This is funny. The story says that the girls knew they were breaking the dress code in the photos, but then they want to be consulted about how the photos are altered so things match? Give me a break. These high school students crying “not fair” have not learned the important life lesson that “life isn’t fair”. The school admin is right to only apologize for not being consistent. When you break the rules…you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

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  • Craig Lewis

    The Taliban and Utah Mormons would get along really well if they were in the same country. LOL.

  • Cartman

    “If he gets up, we’ll all get up…..IT’LL BE ANARCHY!” -John Bender, The Breakfast Club. (Future McDonalds shift manager.)

    Not an adult attitude. (Funny scene, but childish and immature.)

  • Esther

    I am so thinking back to my high school yearbook: seniors girls were given a black sweater (which we wore backwards) and a white shell lei and boys had to wear a suit. But the rest of the grades…you can find tank tops to spaghetti strap dresses and boys in t-shirts with all sorts of graphics on them. And a few of them were probably barefoot as well (until my senior year, I did go barefoot a lot). Of course, this was in Hawaii and back when dinosaurs still roamed, so times have changed. I don’t envy parents and kids today at all.

  • Charity

    Bravo! I think ALL schools should follow suite. Modesty is under-rated. There is a time and place for everything and school is not the place to be underdressed.

  • Kandace

    I’m sorry this is ridiculous i understand school rules and dress codes are just that but If the school superintendent wants that kind of major control then he should have enforced it for all not just for some! This is discrimination & If anyone wants to disagree with this statement may I suggest you look up the word in the Webster Dictionary! And folks if this is are only concern in today’s society than we’ve got real problems truly!!! As long as it isn’t my child being the one that breaks the dress code than life is good…and if kids show up to be photographed not up to dress code then its simple don’t take the picture! BOTTOM LINE!

  • Johnson

    The thick straped tank top looked fine, her bra straps were hidden and the shirt was very pretty. Not coming down too far or exposing anything but shoulder, and they “fixed” it.
    I believe that schools are a bit strict on what females are allowed to wear, especially when it gets hot and schools have a limited budget for a/c. Plus no where does it say that males are not allowed to wear “shoulder exposing” clothing or sheer tops, which we all know happens…. they just aren’t allowed to wear baggy clothing. If you are going to implement a rule then make it for everyone not a specific gender or teach your boys to respect women and not gawk at a bit of shoulder or a belly button because neither one are really nice to look at, an ugly scar used to pass nutrients and waste as an unborn and a section of the body that is curved and you put deodorant on the other side…
    I understand the covering of the chest and bra straps that just looks bad, but it gets hot as well and some of the rules just aren’t right especially when stores don’t sell shorts that come to the knee for women. lol

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