Students, parents upset over yearbook pictures

Frenship High School pulled some students’ pictures from the yearbook because of dress code violations — but upset parents and students say the standards are not consistently used and they were not given notice.

The school said it makes every effort to be consistent with the dress code and tried to contact every student.

Some of the class pictures pulled were of seniors, such as student Drew Burke.

“I’ve been going there since kindergarten, and for them to leave me out as a senior, it’s pretty frustrating,” he said.

Drew’s father, Jent, said the photos were not pulled with consistency.

“The yearbook itself has got at least 20 or 25 kids that have hair at least as long if not longer than my boy’s,” he said.

On Wednesday, the school decided to print an addendum with pictures of the students who were left out. The students have to show up today for retakes. The senior students not pictured in the yearbook will have their retakes in the class composite photo to be hung in the halls of the high school, said Linsae Snider, director of professional development and public relations.

To help things run more smoothly in the future, Snider said the school will explain procedures more clearly.

“We just didn’t have real thorough written procedures. We will next year,” she said.

The reason the pictures were pulled, said Kim Spicer, high school principal, is because the students, mostly male, were in violation of the dress code.

Spicer said she asked Virginia Solomon, the yearbook adviser, to check the pictures to make sure students were following dress code.

“My directive to Ms. Solomon was to make sure the students in the class photos were in dress-code compliance and that if they were not in dress code compliance they needed to be removed from the class picture,” she said.

Spicer said she believes Solomon did what she was asked to do.

“I have had a chance to look at the yearbook, and I think she did a really outstanding, professional job and made every attempt to be consistent,” she said.

Class pictures were taken during registration in August. Spicer said she was told by Solomon that all students were informed they would not be pictured and were given a chance for retakes.

“It is my understanding from our yearbook sponsor that, yes, we attempted to contact every child,” said Spicer.

Spicer also said Solomon tried to get written verification signed by all students.

Snider said of the 25 seniors who were violating dress code, 17 signed the document, 14 of them had retakes and eight seniors have no written verification on file.

The school has written verification on file for 22 freshmen, sophomores and juniors not in the yearbook, but does not know how many had retakes done.

Chase West, a sophomore, said he did not find out his picture was not going to be in the yearbook until after the opportunity to retake.

“I’m just a sophomore. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me … but for the seniors, I feel pretty upset,” he said.

Kristi Gentry, mother of senior Aaron Peters, said her son had a picture taken during retakes because he did not meet dress code during registration. She said they did not find out he was not in the yearbook until they received it.

Brad Salley, father of freshman Taylor Salley, also said he didn’t find out about his son’s picture being left out of the yearbook until he got it.

“There was no contact about the issue at all,” he said.

Some parents said they think the dress code is not consistently enforced throughout the year.

“The problem is they pick a fight each day on little bitty things, but they don’t consistently enforce anything,” said Jent Burke.

Spicer said the school makes an effort to consistently enforce the dress code.

“I have five principals and close to 1,500 kids, and we definitely consistently try and enforce the dress code every day,” she said.

Robyn Phillips, mother of West, said she believes the dress code should be changed.

“The problem isn’t as much the principal as much as the policy,” she said.

Comments

  • frenshiptoday (Author) said:

    We got this comment from David Baldner sent to us by e-mail concerning this story:

    As a parent, and an educator, I’ve been on the enforcement end of dress code decisions.

    The truth, not told in your article, is that these parents all (probably 100%) signed a form at the beginning of the year reviewing the student code of conduct (I did on both of my children) and returned it to the school.

    After that, it was their choice to follow the rules the school clearly lays out. It was the parent, not the school, who chose to make this an issue by sending their children to school out of compliance with that dress code.

    And then it was the parent, not the school, who chose to have their child’s picture made out of compliance as well.

    A school enforces policy and rules regularly, but that is not a guarantee that they will find every violator, and reasonably, that is an unrealistic expectation. Priorities are those things that take away from a conducive learning environment. Safety is clearly a priority and the article did not note how safe the environment is at Frenship and has been. That is from consistent and routine enforcement. The next level is dress code, and a dress code becomes a real issue in a gang environment or one which takes away from learning time (a form of dress that may be a protest and distracts or clothing worn in a way to express an affiliation with a group like a gang which may be style or colors). That is dealt with on an as-need basis with some routine checks.

    These parents made this an issue, not the school. Could the school have communicated this better to prevent a “PR” problem? I don’t know. They did the best that they could.

    It was a parent’s choice in this case. Somehow, “the best that they could” is being defined by the parents in this story, and it really shouldn’t be.

    David Baldner

  • frenshiptoday (Author) said:

    And we just received this comment about the article from Tony Chenault:

    Jennifer,

    I have read both your articles in the paper concerning the students whose photos were omitted from the Frenship High School yearbook and what I am reading appears to be a contradiction of what I have been told.

    We first found out our son Chris Chenault’s photo was deleted from the yearbook this past Monday evening. My wife and I could not understand why it wasn’t in there and Chris told us the rumor in school was because there was a dress code violation concerning hair length. We were completely outraged at this. We asked Chris if he was notified and he said he wasn’t and that not being in the yearbook was a complete shock to him. After looking through the yearbook and seeing numerous students with as long and longer hair than Chris, I felt this was unacceptable and decided to call the principal to find out how something like this could happen in this day and time.

    On Tuesday morning I called Kim Spicer and was told that she had no idea why he was left out and would have to check with Ms. Solomon and call me back. She called me back the next day and explained to me that Chris was left out due to his hair length. I found this outrageous and I asked her why he was never notified and given the opportunity to retake. She had no answer for me. She then told me their solution was to have the students come in for retakes so the deleted students could place an addendum into the yearbook. My son has refused to go back to the school for a retake and I don’t blame him. He feels if his hair was too long to be put into the original yearbook, along with his name in the correct alphabetical order it should be, he does not want to be in an addendum. The least they could have done was put his name in the yearbook with a “no photo available” caption. It is as though his 4 years at Frenship have been erased! Another thing I find very upsetting about the entire situation is the fact that in all 4 years at the school my son has never been talked to about his hair length. I told Spicer as much. I have been up to the school on several occasions and have seen numerous students in blatant violation of dress codes with absolutely no enforcement from the school. Chris confirms this with me as well. I sent Spicer a picture of my son’s yearbook photo and she told me there was no reason he should have left out.

    Finally, I demanded a refund of my son’s money for the yearbook. Spicer told me if he returned his yearbook to the school, they would refund his money. I ended our conversation in disgust. My son has had a very good experience at Frenship H. S. until this point. He has been an honor student and has been active in school activities. This incident has tainted his experience at Frenship. It is time somebody stood up to these people and their Gestapo ways. This is an embarrassment to a good school, good kids and a good town. Maybe some of the civic leaders in town should take a good hard look in the mirror before passing judgment on other people. I am attaching a picture of my son’s yearbook picture.

    Thanks,

    Tony Chenault

  • stacyb01 (Author) said:

    Mr. Chenault,
    My senior son, Drew Burke, was also in the same situation as Chris, as well as my freshman son, Brooks Burke. People are not realizing the true issue here. It is not about whether we knew the dress code rules. We all agree that we did. We have tried to lead an effort against this but it was difficult to find out who to contact since they left all of their names out too. Please contact me if you are interested in standing up for our kids and the others that come after them. Jent and Stacy Burke jentster@door.net

  • phillipsr (Author) said:

    In response to above comment from Mr Baldner stating that the school enforces policy and rules regularly, but that there is no guarantee that they will catch every violator and other priorities taking precedence:

    A policy is only as good as the paper it is written on, if it is not enforced CONSISTENTLY. In the workplace, inconsistent application of policies, will cost corporations millions of dollars (not just lawsuits). Inconsistency will cost in loss of product, customers, production, morale, etc. If this were a private company providing a non-compulsory service – they would be losing money due to product loss, and poor service.

    further:
    I don’t think any parents are claiming ignorance of the dress code, per se or even trying to rail against the establishment by allowing their sons to have long hair.

    The issues are that a) pictures were taken before the school year started. so it did not dawn on many of us that compliance was an even factor on that day b) it does not appear that the dress code is even being enforced throughout the school year , no enforcement at all = no policy. c) their were more students in violation that they ‘did not catch” than that they did. d) they did not just pull the pictures, they completely removed the students.

You must be logged in to post a comment.