“Don’t Say Gay” protest leads Florida district to censor yearbooks

Students at a Florida high school were told they won’t receive their yearbooks until pictures of students protesting the state’s parental rights law aka “Don’t Say Gay”, are censored and covered up by stickers. 

The pictures, which depict students at Lyman High School, in Longwood, Florida, holding up rainbow flags and a “Love is Love” sign during the protests, were flagged by administrators fearful of backlash from their inclusion. 

Lyman High School Principal Michael Hunter said in a statement that “pictures and descriptions” documenting a student-led walkout in March were flagged over concerns that they violated school board policies prohibiting the depiction of non-school sponsored events in school publications. Hunter apologized, saying he regretted that the photos  had not been “caught earlier in the review process,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hunter announced that the distribution of the yearbook would be delayed to assure it meets all aspects of school board policies, including a provision discouraging the inclusion of events not previously sanctioned by administrators in school publications.

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

The yearbook does include a page highlighting the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club — which is allegedly not prohibited by the “Don’t Say Gay” law, at least according to the law’s authors — but that page is not being covered by stickers.

Students have created a hashtag, #StoptheStickers, which is circulating on social media, and had planned to protest Tuesday night’s meeting of the Seminole County school board, reports Orlando-based CBS affiliate WKMG.