Low-income schools receive pictures after Action News Jax investigation

Students in many of Jacksonville’s impoverished neighborhoods are getting excluded from a school tradition – picture day.
An Action News Jax investigation has brought results for local parents.

After years of being overlooked, students at two Jacksonville schools are getting class pictures.

It all started when Action News Jax exposed a serious disparity in school picture day.

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For years, students in Jacksonville’s poorest neighborhoods were being cut out of picture day. Since our story aired last Wednesday, dozens of photographers have come forward — and students that would have gone without pictures have donned cap and gowns for the camera.

Students at Rufus E. Payne Elementary now have pictures for the first time in years. Rayvon Griffin, a photographer in Orlando, attended the school 13 years ago.

“They told me they hadn’t had pictures in more than eight years, so i knew I had to stay and help out,” Griffin said.

A total of 30 schools in the Jacksonville area were without school pictures — mostly in low-income neighborhoods.

"I believe the [cost] was too high for the neighborhood we're in,” said Marquia Jenkins, a third-grade teacher at Rufus E. Payne.

So far, 29 photographers have stepped up. On Friday, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy will get a digital image for $1.

Jacksonville photographer Charles Sutton, who saw the story on ActionNewsJax.com, says the cost is getting in the way of a parent’s memories. He has also pitched in to help.

“Being a parent myself and having experienced missing out on certain things and not having photos, my heart went out to parents right away,” Sutton said. “One of the things we'l look at during summer is setting up a foundation to help ensure this doesn't happen again.”

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