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.
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.