St. Johns County

After 80 girls at Bartram Trail High School have their yearbook photos edited, school district reviews dress code recommendations

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Johns County School District is reviewing school board-recommended changes to the district’s dress code.

The recommendations come following an Action News Jax Investigation that revealed 80 girls at Bartram Trail High School had their yearbook photos edited after they were deemed “inappropriate.”

Two of the students who had their photos edited, Riley O’Keefe and Zoe Iannone, wore the same outfits that they wore on picture day at a district workshop on Tuesday.

RELATED: Families want change after girls’ yearbook photos were altered

Action News Jax just got our hands on the number of girls that were warned about dress code in the last three months. Those numbers show girls are getting in trouble for dress code at a much higher rate than boys at Bartram Trail High School.

In March, the school gave out 54 warnings. 49 were given to girls and only 5 boys. In April, a similar story, 56 girls and four boys were given warnings.

Combined from March through May, 153 warnings were given, 92 percent of those were given to female students.

Riley and Zoe say they have worn the same outfits several times before at school without receiving a dress code violation. The teens spoke during the workshop -- Riley said she doesn’t feel safe or focused in the school environment because she’s afraid she’ll get in trouble for her outfit.

Zoe said she was targeted because she’s a girl and “because of your sexist policies.”

Superintendent Tim Forson told Action News Jax’s Ben Ryan on Monday, “It was never the intent to embarrass or harm any of those students,” and that message was reiterated during Tuesday’s workshop.

Among the school board’s recommendations:

  • Change the language and remove the word “modest” and clarify the term “distractive”
  • Move away from the 4-inch measurement and say skirts, shorts and dresses should not be shorter than fingertip length or mid-thigh, whichever is shortest
  • Remove separation of standards for boys and girls

VOTE IN OUR POLL: What do you think of St. Johns County Schools proposed dress code changes?

Parents say the yearbook issue is one example of the inconsistent dress code. The deadline for the vote on the changes is June 8, but Riley’s mother said they want to postpone the vote in order to hold special meetings and more public hearings.

WATCH: Controversy over altered yearbook photos at Bartram Trail High School

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