A trio of UMass Amherst students have been booted from campus for the rest of the semester after school officials discovered photos of them at an outdoor event without face masks.

Their families, who intend to hire lawyers to battle the punishment, said forcing the freshman to forfeit their schooling was unfair.

“They took a picture off-campus on a Saturday and got thrown out of school,” one parent told WCVB.

The group of honor students, one of them a high school valedictorian, were kicked out of on-campus housing immediately after administrators found an Instagram image of the girls, taken at a party in March. They were allowed to study remotely as they appealed their case, but were cut off earlier this month from virtual learning and denied the ability to take their finals.

The families said their punishment amounted to a complete loss, both financially and academically.

“That negates this whole semester $16,000 of money and they have to reapply for next semester. But they missed housing registration,” another parent told WBZ.

The parents also said they believe other students at the school have received different treatment when it comes to attending events without the masks, used to fight the spread of coronavirus. They pointed specifically to a video of the UMass Amherst Hockey Team celebrating their national championship on campus.

Some students, including some of the players, could be seen not wearing masks.

UMass Amherst in a statement said it has taken serious precautions since cases surged at the UMass community in February 2021.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health and safety of the UMass Amherst community has been the university’s foremost priority,” the university said.

“Expectations regarding students’ responsibility to follow public health protocols, and the consequences for failing to do so, were clearly communicated to students before and throughout the spring semester, and students were updated regularly as conditions changed.”.

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