High school yearbook’s distribution halted over Black Lives Matter pages

The distribution of a Florida high school’s yearbook was temporarily paused following complaints from parents over a two-page spread dedicated to coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Officials at West Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., located about 18 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale, stopped the sale and distribution of “The Edge” yearbook on Friday, high school senior and the publication’s co-editor-in-chief Elise Twitchell told local ABC affiliate WPLG

Twitchell said that some parents claimed the pages did not objectively cover the racial justice movement because it did not include reporting on Blue Lives Matter, the counter movement established in support of law enforcement officers amid fervent calls for police reform following multiple killings of unarmed Black individuals in police custody over the past several years. 

The yearbook pages, which Twitchell shared with WPLG, include photographs of students participating in Black Lives Matter protests and recounts the history of the movement, as well as the names of those killed when police used deadly force. 

The Black Lives Matter movement gained increased attention in the past year following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked months of civil unrest. 

Twitchell told WPLG that the halting of the yearbook’s distribution amounted to censorship, adding that school officials made the decision to stop sales without consulting yearbook staff. 

She added that the yearbook pages were meant to recount the “history” the Black Lives Matter Movement and “why it’s happening.” 

West Broward High School yearbook teacher David Fleischer told the local news outlet, “We just didn’t feel that including anything beyond Black Lives Matter was appropriate because we thought that it took away from the purpose of the page.” 

WPLG reported that following a review of the pages by the Broward County Public School district, school officials on Monday said sales and distribution of the yearbook could resume. 

“Broward County Public Schools supports and encourages students’ freedom of expression,” the school district said in a statement. “After concern was expressed last week regarding editorial student content included in the West Broward High School yearbook about the Black Lives Matter movement, the school’s administration paused distribution on Friday afternoon while the concerns were carefully reviewed.”

“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,” the statement added. “As a result of the review, distribution of the yearbook resumed Monday morning with an insert noting that the views expressed are not sponsored by the District.”

Tags ABC Black Live Matter Blue Lives Matter Censorship Florida Fort Lauderdale George Floyd yearbook yearbook page

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