Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(| Courtesy Photo) s Shelby Baum's photo before and after Wasatch High edited it for the yearbook.
Utah school defends yearbook editing for modesty
Censors » While mistakes were made, the high school says, students were warned that the editing would occur if they violated dress code.
First Published May 29 2014 10:45 am • Last Updated May 29 2014 08:17 pm

Heber City » Wasatch High School acknowledged Thursday that its yearbook staff made some mistakes in its "graphic corrections" of student photos, which were edited to add sleeves and higher necklines.

In a message on the school’s website, the high school said the staffers "were not consistent in how they [corrections] were applied to student photos and the school apologizes for that inconsistency."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Heber City school and Wasatch County School District are reevaluating the practice of photo editing, the message said.

But the statement notes students were warned, by way of a 4-foot-by-5-foot sign at the fall photo session, that their yearbook photos might be edited if their clothing did not conform to school standards.

Principal Shawn Kelly declined to comment further Thursday. "That’s our statement. That’s our stance," he said. School officials did not allow a reporter on campus Thursday.

Several female students said Wednesday said they were shocked to open their yearbooks this week to find their clothing altered.

One girl, sophomore Shelby Baum, found her tattoo, which meets the school’s standard for tattoos, erased in her yearbook picture. Her tattoo reads, "I am enough the way I am." Her v-neck shirt was edited to show a straight line across her chest.

The girls noted, too, that the photo editing was selective. Photos of other girls wearing almost identical clothing were not edited at all.

And some of the clothing edited to be more modest apparently meets the schools dress code, the girls said, because they have worn the same clothes to school on other occasions without an issue.

In its statement, the high school said it learned Wednesday that "a few" students are upset.

story continues below
story continues below

The school said the sign during photo sessions last fall 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," the statement said.

In their excitement to receive their yearbooks, "it is understandable that students in violation of the dress code could forget that they received warnings about inappropriate dress," the statement said.

"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."

Bobbi Jo Wilkerson-Westergard, Baum’s mother, said she accompanied each of her children for their photo sessions during registration last fall and did not see any warning sign — large or small — about photo editing.

"There wasn’t anything there," Wilkerson-Westergard said. "They could have told them that day, ‘You’re not following dress code.’ Then they could have changed clothes. They could have given other options than editing, which they didn’t learn about until the end of the year."

The dress code posted on the district’s website, which Kelly referred a reporter to, says that clothing must be "modest, neat, clean and in good repair."

"Modesty includes covering shoulders, midriff, back, underwear and cleavage at all times," the policy states.

The policy allows tattoos as long as they are not so "conspicuous, extreme or odd" that they draw undue attention or disrupt the learning atmosphere.

Students, however, noted that in practice, sleeveless tops are typically allowed.

Wilkerson-Westergard said it’s commonly understood among students that they can wear sleeveless tops as long as the straps are at least two or three inches wide.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.