AP

Florida school yearbook on hold over student protest photos

May 10, 2022, 6:28 AM | Updated: 8:56 am

LONGWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Yearbooks at a central Florida high school won’t be distributed until images of students holding rainbow flags and a “love is love” sign while protesting the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law can be covered up.

District officials said they don’t want anyone thinking that the school supported the students’ walkout.

Lyman High School Principal Michael Hunter said in a statement on Monday that “pictures and descriptions” documenting a student walk-out in March in response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law should have been “caught earlier in the review process.”

The bill, signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K through 3.

“Rather than reprinting the yearbook at substantial cost and delay, we have elected to cover that material that is out of compliance with board policy so that yearbooks can be distributed as soon as possible,” the principal’s statement said.

In an email on Tuesday, school district spokesman Michael Lawrence said the issue wasn’t with the protest but how its depiction in the yearbook could be interpreted as being endorsed by the school, which would be in violation of the school board’s policy.

Lawrence noted that the yearbook dedicates a separate page to the school’s Gay Straight Alliance Club and elsewhere shows students at a pride march and holding rainbow flags, and he said these depictions do comply with the policy.

“The issue at hand here is not the photos or the topic for which the students were protesting,” said Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Public Schools. “If these items were caught earlier prior to print, some simple editing/tweaking likely could’ve occurred to make that section in compliance prior to print.”

School officials determined that the least costly solution would be to cover up that section so that the yearbooks could still be distributed to seniors before graduation and the rest of the student body prior to summer break, he said.

The yearbook’s faculty advisor Danielle Pomeranz told the Orlando Sentinel that she was asked to check into putting stickers over the photos and captions depicting the walkout. She said it would cost $45,000 to reprint the 600 yearbooks.

“This really shouldn’t be happening because all we did as journalists was document what was happening at our school on our campus,” Skye Tiedemann, one of the yearbook’s editors-in-chief, told the Sentinel. “To have that covered up isn’t right. … This is censorship.”

Tiedemann told WKMG that students were supposed to have a party on Monday to have yearbooks signed by their classmates, but that was canceled.

Students at the school in Longwood, which is near Orlando, have created a hashtag “#stopthestickers,” which is circulating on social media. They also planned a peaceful protest at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Seminole County School Board, WKMG reported.

Rep. Carlos G. Smith, a Democrat who is the state’s first LGBTQ Latino legislator, said in a tweet that the “censorship is a direct result of the law these students were protesting. #WeWillNotBeErased in this so-called ‘free state.’ “

DeSantis frequently refers to the free state of Florida in his news conferences.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

5 hours ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

5 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

6 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

8 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

12 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Florida school yearbook on hold over student protest photos