Yearbooks at a Central Florida high school will not be handed out until images of students protesting the “Don’t Say Gay bill” have been censored. 

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According to Principal Michael Hunter, the photos of Lyman High School students holding rainbow flags and “love is love” should have been “caught earlier in the review process.”

Images Do ‘Not meet School Board Policy’

In a statement, Hunter said, “The distribution is being delayed in order to assure the yearbook meets all aspects of Seminole County School Board policies, particularly as it pertains to non-school sponsored events contained in school publications. 

“Unfortunately, the pictures and descriptions that depicted this event did not meet school board policy and were not caught earlier in the review process. 

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

Seminole County Public Schools spokesperson Michael Lawrence explained that the problem was not the LGBTQ nature of the photos. 

Lawrence said, “The issue at hand here is not the photos or the topic for which the students were protesting. 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.”

‘This is Censorship’

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

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Students are speaking out using the hashtag “#stopthestickers” and have also planned a protest at this week’s school board meeting. 

Out Representative Carlos G Smith tweeted his support, writing, “This censorship is a direct result of the law these students were protesting. #WeWillNotBeErased in this so-called ‘free state’. I SUPPORT THE STUDENTS!”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a conservative Republican, signed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” into law on Monday, March 28.

The Bill, officially named the Parental Rights in Education Bill, will restrict the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It states, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”Parents would be able to sue if a school if school is suspected of violating the law.

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