It’s pretty rare that I get to write two blog posts in two days about the same topic, but here we are. Apparently the clothing worn by teen girls is more controversial than I thought.
Today’s story comes from St. John’s, FL, where teen girls have had their yearbook images photoshopped to hide any evidence of cleavage. You can read an article about this here.
In and of itself, this isn’t particularly concerning to me. After all, teen girls clearly shouldn’t be showing their breasts to anybody, much less posting them in the yearbook. However, let’s look at a before/after picture of one of the young women in question:
If this were a private school, it would be fine for the school to take whatever steps they thought were necessary to ensure that the students were in their desired learning environment. That’s kind of the whole point of a private school: To give parents a school where their moral values are supported.
For public schools, things are a little different. Based on my last blog post where I discuss this in greater detail, the question about whether these steps were reasonable really boils down to “Is the clothing something that can be reasonably considered prurient by the contemporary standards of the community?”
My only answer is this: Have you ever been to St. Augustine, FL? I was down there about a month ago and despite the fact that the weather was only 60 degrees, I saw a large number of people – women and men – wandering around in outfits that would make the girl in the above picture blush. While I understand that people don’t want to see the cleavage of a high school freshman, I don’t think that this picture demonstrates anything that can be considered inappropriate in a public high school. Frankly, I think this is rather a nice outfit for a school photo.
According to the articles I’ve read, 60 girls had their photos changed in this general fashion. Not having seen them, I have no idea how many of them were actually inappropriate – it’s likely that a few of them were genuinely inappropriate and should have been left out of the yearbook. However, based on the picture above, it also seems likely that many of these pictures showed nothing but nicely dressed young women who wanted to look nice for their yearbook pictures.
Oh, Florida! You’re so wacky!