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

Kamala Harris speaking at podium...

Associated Press

Harris has support of enough Democratic delegates to become party’s presidential nominee

Vice President Kamala Harris won the backing of more than two-thirds of the Democratic delegates she needs to become her party's nominee and set a fundraising record Monday, as top Democrats rallied to her in their bid to defeat Republican Donald Trump.

3 days ago

Global technology outage causes chaos on Friday morning...

Associated Press

Faulty software update causes havoc worldwide for airlines, hospitals and governments

A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air on Friday morning.

6 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives during the second day of th...

Associated Press

Donald Trump celebrated by former rivals at Republican National Convention

Former president Donald Trump was celebrated at the Republican National Convention by former rivals, including Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

9 days ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths.

12 days ago

FILE - Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the "Ask Dr. Ruth" panel during the Hulu presentation at...

Associated Press

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, has died

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author, has died.

12 days ago

Biden proposes rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat...

Associated Press

Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat

President Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, warning — as tens of millions of people in the U.S. are under heat advisories — that high temperatures are the country's leading weather-related killer.

23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

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.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Florida school yearbook on hold over student protest photos