Florida High School Pauses Yearbook Distribution Over Pages on Black Lives Matter
Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash
South Florida’s West Broward High (WBH) 2021 yearbook, the Edge, ceased distribution on June 4 to the public, due to a two-page Black Lives Matter (BLM) informational page. The cease of the yearbook distribution was ordered by an unnamed assistant principal.
David Fleischer, the yearbook teacher, said he was told the BLM section of the yearbook was “too politically one-sided,” according to an interview with the Miami Herald.
Critics of the BLM movement often point to corporate BLM’s Marxist values and mismanagement of funds going to the black community.
The complaints, deriving from the parents of some WBH student yearbook recipients, was of the most disturbing news to Elise Twitchell, the co-editor-in-chief of Edge yearbook.
“It’s censorship,” she told the Miami Herald, “And the fact that it was over parent complaints about the Black Lives Matter spread is just appalling to me.”
During the yearbook’s four-day inactivity, it was later approved for redistribution after careful revision by the School Board of Broward County.
Brad Fatout, the principal at WBH wrote this in his response:
“Please note that as a governmental agency, the School Board of Broward County must maintain a neutral stance on all political views,” Fatout wrote, “As such, any political views expressed in the 2021 West Broward yearbook are not sponsored by the District.”
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the notion that BLM was a political stance was clear.
“Expressing support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement isn’t political or partisan,” the U.S. OSC said.
“As the yearbook is intended to highlight notable and newsworthy events from that year, student journalists exercised their freedom of speech in documenting the movement,” Fleischer said.
Fleisher also brought up the inequity in the treatment of the BLM section of the yearbook, comparing this section to other sections in the yearbook relating to the 2020 presidential election, LGBTQ advocacy, and COVID-19. Most of which are controversial political topics, but none were flagged for being “too one-sided” by the district.
Fleischer remains disappointed with both the decision of ceasing distribution of Edge yearbook and WBH’s faculty letter and their lack of support for the BLM section through their claim to not support any political views published in the book.
Fleisher writes in a letter to WBH that “…the letter is offensive and dehumanizes the non-white students at West Broward and the entire Broward County School District.”