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Florida School District Offers Refunds, Erasure of Yearbook's LGBTQ+ Content

Florida School District Offers Refunds, Erasure of Yearbook's LGBTQ+ Content

Florida protest sign and seal of the state

They say it’s not about censorship, but what else could it be about?

To appease some conservative parents who detest the inclusion of LGBTQ+ student content in this year’s yearbook, a Florida school district is offering to remove two pages. Critics have accused the district of letting bigots have their way.

The content delivers information about Lyman High School’s LGBTQ+ community and definitions of terms like genderfluid and pansexual. This school is in Longwood, north of Orlando, and is part of the Seminole County Public Schools system.

Superintendent Serita Beamon said some parents and students found the pages “inappropriate” in a memo sent to parents on Wednesday, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Now, the district is willing to offer refunds or reprint yearbooks without those pages. Beamon said a review of the yearbook is underway by district officials.

Danielle Pomeranz, the faculty yearbook adviser at Lyman High School, isn’t comfortable with the district’s offer to sanitize LGBTQ+ content. She notes that many school activities are highlighted in the 256-page yearbook, including Latinos in Action, Black History Month, and the Dungeons & Dragons Club.

“It is unbelievably unacceptable,” she told the paper. “The county is giving into the bigotry and being very cowardly by offering this as an option.”

Pomeranz expressed that most people didn’t have any issues with the yearbook.

Seminole County Moms for Liberty member Jessica Tillmann said she fears the yearbook’s definitions are teaching children sex beyond the state-approved standards parents may refuse to allow for their children.

“They shouldn’t have any sexual definitions in a yearbook,” she declared. “This is a yearbook that goes to every student as young as 14.”

According to Katherine Crnkovich, a spokesperson for the school system, no one had requested a reprint as of Thursday afternoon.

“In reference to what is being reviewed, this material is undergoing a district-level review of the process, policy, and law,” she added. “No disciplinary actions have been taken for any SCPS [Seminole County Public Schools] employee.”

Lyman High School’s yearbook has generated controversy for the second straight year. District officials considered putting stickers over pictures of a student walkout protesting the “don’t say gay” law.

In this year’s yearbook, members of the Gay-Straight Alliance are displayed along with a definition of crucial LGBTQ+ terms, an essay on pronouns, and a profile of a student who advocates for the community.

The principal approved the yearbook’s content, but now the Florida Department of Education will be examining it more closely, Pomeranz said.

In terms of the LGBTQ+ section, Pomeranz defended it.

“They are definitions,” she noted. “They are not teaching anything about sex at all. Nobody is teaching anybody about sex acts. It is ridiculous.”

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