Is the Photoshopping of this school photo offensive or innocent?

What should have been a normal class picture turned ugly and offensive when a photographer Photoshopped a brown cartoon smiley face on top of a second grader's face after he failed to bring a signed permission slip for the photo.

Sherry Rose, the principal of the Florida elementary school, and the student's parents said they were shocked after seeing the photo. However, the photographer, David Claussen, told WPLG that he was following orders from the school's P.T.A who told him to place a smiley over the student's face, instead of the star Claussen had supposedly originally recommended.

 

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Rose has scheduled another picture taking session and parents will receive new prints of the picture, which many called "offensive" and "degrading."

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Wow, seriously? Though Claussen says he regrets causing any controversy, I can't help but wonder why he didn't just use the generic yellow smiley face, if blurring out the student's face was really necessary. That would have avoided any harmful racial implications. But more importantly, why did the whole incident ever even get this far in the first place? If the student didn't have a signed permission form, he shouldn't have been allowed to sit in on the picture or school authorities (not just the P.T.A) should have tried to contact his parents for consent. It's as simple as that. And even if if letting the boy in the photo was just an oversight, shouldn't the photos be reviewed by the class teacher or principal before being sent out to parents?

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The entire situation was handled pretty sloppily and poorly on the school's part. I sincerely hope that they pay more attention to the children inside in the classroom!

What do you think of the photo? Offensive or not? 

Image via Local10.com

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