Senior Photo Restrictions


Tara Afshar, Journalist

    Our world is in a constant state of flux. Industries and companies are continuously updating their bylaws in an effort to address gender and race inequality issues, as well as the narrowing socio-economic disparity that is plaguing our world.

    It is disconcerting that our school district is not on the same wavelength to eradicate these social issues. What is most shocking is the antiquated gender-biased dress codes that are still practiced in the Newport Mesa Unified School District. Back in 1994, a panel of 5 parents along with 5 students were selected within the district to form guidelines and a procedure for each school to set its own dress code.

    These days it is common practice for interviews and applications to address pronoun preferences, and be mindful of aligning their institution’s culture with the pressing diversity bias and inclusion agendas. It is astounding that our own NMUSD is just beginning to reevaluate, and rewrite its gender-biased dress code guidelines that were written twenty-seven years ago in 1994. It has been revealed that Newport Mesa Unified School District is currently working on releasing new dress code guidelines to address in the new future.

    Another disparity widely practiced is the choice of mandated attire for senior portraits at Corona Del Mar high school. Senior portraits will only be featured in the yearbook if their portraits are taken by PSS Imaging starting at a base price of  $40 – $185. It is very insensitive of the district administration team to disregard families that are experiencing financial hardships, and assume that every senior is able to pay these exorbitant fees. Looking back at 2016 CDM yearbooks, seniors were given the choice of wearing appropriate attire that was their own, and reflective of their personality and self-expression. Somewhere down the line, the guidelines have changed, and seniors no longer have a choice of attire for their senior portraits. The senior boys are given the option to wear a tuxedo or an appropriate suit for their picture. Senior girls however are only given the option of wearing a dated bateau neck black dress, regardless if it is a flattering look for their senior portrait or reflective of their self-expression. The district does not even take into account if certain students might have religious preferences that will not allow them to uncover their shoulders or show their hair. Many senior girls have recently expressed their concerns, and have been talking with the CDM administration to eradicate this disparity. Senior Alan Maher says “It’s time to stop confining people into boxes where people are stripped of their self-expression and personal identity. Restrictive dress codes only promote misogyny and excuse sexist behavior.”

Gender-biased issues need to be addressed from the ground up and, hopefully, the CdM administration will join the 21st century, and reevaluate the senior portrait disparity stigma, just as the district is revamping its obsolete dress code guidelines.