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Yearbook sales paused at Florida school over Black Lives Matter pages

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT
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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WPLG) - A high school was forced to pause distribution of its yearbook because it included a section about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sales have since resumed, but students said the school was trying to censor them.

“Most of it is history of why it’s happening,” said Elise Twitchell, the co-editor-in-chief of the Edge, the student-run yearbook at West Broward High School.

Pages 16 and 17 of the Edge include a story about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“They put the pause on Friday,” Twitchell said.

She said without consulting them, the administration decided to stop selling and distributing the $90 yearbook.

“I guess more parents complaints came in,” Twitchell said.

She said they were told the story was not objective because it did not include a conversation about Blue Lives Matter.

But Black Lives Matter was an event, a movement in which students participated, so she said it had to be documented.

“I definitely think it’s censorship,” Twitchell said.

In a letter to the community, she wrote, “The suspension of yearbook distribution and sales because of a page that talks about the struggles that Black people face in our world is disappointing and gross because a good amount of our student body is Black, or a person of color...”

“It sounds like it is just basic censorship that the school has engaged in,” said Sommer Dean, an attorney at the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. who has seen similar incidents happen across the country.

“It’s well within (the students’) purview legally to determine what content they want to include and what content they think is not relevant,” she said.

Before noon on Monday, the yearbook advisor was told yearbook sales and distribution could resume after the district says there was a review of the content.

“I know that their intent was to do the right thing, I’m just not sure that their execution was necessarily appropriate,” said David Fleischer, the West Broward High School yearbook teacher.

Broward County Public Schools released a statement saying it supports and encourages students’ freedom of expression.

The distribution of the yearbook was resumed only after an insert was added saying the views expressed are not sponsored by the district.

Copyright 2021 WPLG via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.