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Utah school alters girls' yearbook photos for modesty

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Dress code rules unevenly applied

The body police were working overtime in Utah, where girls' yearbook photos at one school were altered for a more modest look.

Students at a Utah school were surprised to find that the photos that appeared in their yearbook didn't look quite right. In fact, they were altered so the girls' pictures showed less skin — adding sleeves to sleeveless tops and even raising necklines.

An inconsistent application of the "rules"

Students were warned ahead of time that there were rules in place for how they could and could not dress for yearbook photos. They were even told that their photos may be edited. However, whoever was in charge of deciding who needed to be covered up and who didn't wasn't clear on those rules, because even girls who were dressed in similar outfits didn't get the same treatment.

"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," says the superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District, Terry E. Shoemaker.

Cover those shoulders

Look. I understand dress codes to an extent. They are typically designed to avoid disrupting a stable learning environment. Some schools don't allow kids to wear clothing that advertises drugs or alcohol, for instance. Keep the shirts at home that have profane messages on them. But how far do we go? And what ruler do we use to make these judgments?

Unfortunately, dress codes are so often aimed at young girls, policing their bodies in order to keep boys in place. No short shorts or miniskirts. No strappy tank tops. Watch that cleavage. And in some cases, don't wear leggings as pants. It's too distracting for boys.

Not only does this place the burden of distraction on the girls, but it doesn't keep the boys responsible for their own thoughts and actions. Is this how we want to raise our children?

More on teens and dress codes

Virginia teen sent home from prom for violating dress code
Why one school is proposing a dress code for parents
You're not leaving the house wearing that!

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