• Shirtless boys cut from yearbook pages

    Date: 11.19.09 | by Judge Tom.

    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.

    One of 4 pages (Facebook)

    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.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Grahm Howarth
      Tue, 22 Dec 2009 at 11:04

      Whether the pages were removed because of the guys being shirtless OR because of a preposterous belief that the simultaneous display of money and mobile phones suggests an endorsement of illegal activity, this is a gross display of unvarnished, repugnant censorship.
      Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    • Nathan
      Tue, 25 May 2010 at 12:45

      guys have been going shirtless for centuries. What is the big deal about it now? There is nothing sexual in the pictures I see. I don’t see how a phone and money point to drug dealing (couldn’t he have been trying to buy flowers for his girlfriend and making sure he had enough money???) society today has become so over-bearing, so much more of a dictatorship that freedoms are disappearing fast. I go shirtless as much as I can because I’m proud of how hard I worked on my body, there’s less clothes to wash (helping save on electricty costs, and by extension, the enviornment). Get over it people, guys go shirtless, and many guys prefer it especially when you’re younger and not fat from getting lazy and older. Don’t be jealous, just eat right and exercise properly!
      Dear Nathan: Thanks for your comments.

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