Florida yearbook suspended after students dedicate a section to Black Lives Matter and some parents protested

Distribution of the yearbook was halted as officials reviewed concerns over racial justice content

Helen Elfer
Thursday 10 June 2021 08:48
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<p>File: The yearbook included two pages that focused on the Black Lives Matter movement</p>

File: The yearbook included two pages that focused on the Black Lives Matter movement

Students at a Florida high school were told to stop handing out copies of their yearbook last Friday, as the school district looked into complaints about two pages that focused on the Black Lives Matter movement.

David Fleischer, yearbook adviser at the West Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, told CNN: “I found out that it was because there were some complaints from teachers and from parents about the content of the BLM page.”

He continued: “That it didn’t seem objective, there were no opposing views. They mentioned the fact that we should have had, or could have included, something like Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter.”

Fleischer emailed his colleagues the following Monday to argue the case for the content to stand as it was. “Not every story has, or should include, an opposing viewpoint,” he wrote.

“Stating ‘All Lives Matter’ is equivalent to stating ‘all houses matter’ when one in the neighborhood is on fire.

“Advocating for one group does not mean you are attacking another, but using a countermovement distracts from the discussions that must occur about how people of color are impacted by racism.”

Sales of the yearbook were able to resume on Monday afternoon, as the Broward County school district allowed distribution with a new note inserted into the yearbook.

The insert stated that the views expressed in the yearbook were not sponsored by the school district.

Many were left far from satisfied at the authority’s actions, especially given that according to the Broward County Public Schools website, almost half of the students enrolled in the district are Black.

“We just feel that this is an attack on our non-White student body and it’s just a slap in the face to my students who have worked hard in the yearbook, it’s a slap in the face to obviously the First Amendment and to journalism,” said Fleischer.

A statement released by the district said: “Broward County Public Schools supports and encourages students’ freedom of expression.

“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 late Friday afternoon while the concerns were carefully reviewed.”

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