The Harbinger Online

Student ID Shock

Students at St. Teresa’s Academy got quite the shock when a surprise shipment of school IDs arrived at their school last week, and all the girls’ faces had been edited. Seniors at the all-girls Catholic school in KCMO noticed that their pictures had been retouched to make their faces and necks slimmer, their skin more tan and their hair smoother.

“We were all just in shock and started laughing about how different we looked in the new ones,” Lily O’Neill, a senior at STA, said. “They were so ridiculous to us and initially just surprised me and my friends.”

Lily O Neill

Original photograph (left) of senior Lily O’Neill shown next to new, edited version


The photos were done by DeCloud Studios in Overland Park, who attributed the mistake to a processing fault.

“The IDs were run through an automated retouching program, which they shouldn’t have been,” Susan Hoefer, a manager who works inside the senior photo studio at DeCloud, told the Kansas City Star. “It was an honest mistake.”

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According to STA administrators, they had requested IDs for students who hadn’t got one earlier in the year, and DeCloud had mistakenly sent a new, edited ID for every senior.

The story was sparked when one student posted photos onto the online forum, voicing her complaints. It was picked up by gossip blog, which reported that the school “decided its students weren’t perfect” and requested the photos be edited, a claim strongly denied by STA administrators.

“We don’t agree with any of that,” STA President Nan Tiehen Bone told the Kansas City Star. “Of course, we were very angry.”

Innocent mistake or not, the story has sparked conversations about body-image, and whether high-schools should work harder to preach body-positivity to its students.

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Katharine Swindells

Senior Katharine Swindells is head online copy-editor of the Harbinger Online. She likes British politics, selfies, feminism, cute shoes and books. Read Full »

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