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Utah school district apologizes after masks added to faces in yearbook photos

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 28, 2021

NORTH OGDEN, Utah — The Weber School District is apologizing after it appears a yearbook student or students went rogue and altered several photos, leaving some parents and students frustrated and upset.

Ninth grader Kylie Eldridge said she got her North Ogden Junior High yearbook on Thursday. On Friday afternoon, she brought it to a baseball tournament in Orem to look through.

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In between messages from friends and pictures with fun memories, she couldn't help but notice something odd when she looked closely.

"One of my friends pointed out that there were masks covered over the people who didn’t have them on," she said.

Eldridge turned to a page with a group of kids in gym class. Over a couple of faces, it looks like a thick, black spray-paint type of line was drawn over their mouth and nose.

"Their masks are pulled down beneath their chin," she explained. One can see the kids' mouths and faces under the markings.

The Weber School District said about a dozen photos appeared to have been edited. In some of the photos, Eldridge pointed out, it looks like more than one student or teacher has drawings on their faces.

"Some are done really well, and some are done really bad," said Eldridge's mom, Becca Hair.

They wondered who did all the editing, who approved it — and why.

"I just don’t see the need to alter children’s faces and put on a fake mask," Hair said.

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In a statement released to FOX 13, the Weber School District said it thinks a well-meaning student(s) did this on their own, without any teachers or administrators realizing it when they looked at the proofs before printing.

"The proofs are typically in black and white, and administrators are usually focused on looking for inappropriate content," the statement read. "We apologize to the students who may have had their photographs altered, and how this slipped past us during the review process."

"It wasn’t caught, and that’s kind of frustrating," Hair said.

While Hair is frustrated someone took the liberty to make changes without anyone noticing, Eldridge said she's disappointed.

These edited photos will always stick out to her as she looks back on her last year of junior high school.

"It was a really rough year, and the fact that we got through it — I think we should see the truth," she said. "And we don’t get to."

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