School officials course corrected and will allow an LGBTQ+ themed spread in this year’s Fleming Island High School yearbook, Clay Today reports.
Back in April, the yearbook’s editor, Hannah Coulter, and her teacher advisor were called into a meeting with school administrators about a page in the book featuring the school’s LGBTQ+ community.
“I was told the page wouldn’t be in our yearbook; in fact, there wasn’t anything I could do, it was already too late due to printing,” she told the Clay Today, a local newspaper. “This angered me for mainly two reasons -- Inez Nieves, the original producer of the culture page, wouldn't have her cultural inclusion in our book, and my pride page wouldn’t be showcasing our wonderful LGBTQ students. I was told it was because we had a GSA club, so we wouldn’t be needing a Pride page.”
However, other clubs and groups at the school were included in the clubs section, and also got their own spreads. This included JROTC, bands, and advanced placement classes.
So Coulter started a change.org petition, and fought to keep the spread. Eventually, she met again with school administrators on April 15 and 16, and a compromise was reached. The pages are going to be included in an add-on that will come with the yearbook.
“Whoever’s decision it was, even if it was unintentional, felt homophobic,” Coulter said. “Stuff like this usually doesn’t bother me. Even though I’m a relatively bland-appearing bisexual, I sitill get called slurs often.”
“It’s water off my back. When it’s something that affects my fellow students, though? I’m like a moth on a flame,” she continued. “I’ve been in yearbook for four years. I know this may sound dramatic to some, but I consider myself a servant to the students. My ‘job’ in yearbook, regardless of whether or not I’m editor, is to serve them.”
The school is located in Clay County School District, and a spokesperson for the district commented on the decision. “The district has been notified of a situation regarding the yearbook at Fleming Island High School. The district is currently in the process of investigating this situation. Clay County District Schools values the diversity of all students and remains dedicated to positively promoting and supporting the students of Clay County.”