Shirtless boys cut from yearbook pages
Four pages from the 2009 edition of the Chatooga High School yearbook were literally cut out of each book before they were distributed. The photographs, taken by student photographer Tyler Barker over the summer, depicted shirtless boys playing basketball in a church gym. The shots were taken for the “summer activities” spread in the yearbook.
A new yearbook advisor saw the pictures and decided they were inappropriate for the yearbook. Reportedly one of the photos depicted one of the boys smiling and holding a cell phone and dollar bills [upper right photo]. The advisor considered the picture as implying drug dealing. They were shown to the principal who agreed with their removal from the yearbook.
It is not clear whether they were removed because the boys were shirtless or because of one “drug-related” picture. If they were censored because of the lack of shirts, it goes against years of sports photos in the school’s yearbooks that included shirtless athletes. Also previous school plays included shirtless boys whose photos became part of the yearbook.
On the other hand, if they were censored because of the single photo that, to some, implied drug activity, why would four pages be eliminated? Do you think a cell phone and money always designates a drug deal? Is a picture of shirtless boys playing ball promiscuous or a portrayal of inappropriate sexual innuendo?
Find out more about school censorship involving yearbook photos.