Outrage Over BLM Pages Cause Administration to Halt Sales of High School Yearbook

June 08, 2021

Story by Ali Pelura; Photo via WPLG

Concerns from parents regarding yearbook pages dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement have sparked controversy in one Florida high school. 

Last week, the administration of West Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida, decided to temporarily stop the selling and distribution of “The Edge,” the school’s student-run yearbook. This decision was made in an effort to review concerns before the $90 books could continue to be sold. 

Pictures have been released by Elise Twitchell, the student co-editor-in-chief of the yearbook, showing the yearbook pages in question. The two pages include pictures of West Broward High School students attending protests in support of Black Lives Matter, a movement which has especially gained momentum during this past year since the death of George Floyd. 

The spread also included a history of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as names of Black victims of police violence. Twitchell told reporters that most of what is on the pages is “history of why it’s happening.”

Despite this just being an attempt at addressing history and showcasing student involvement in protests, the editors of the yearbook were told that the pages were not objective. According to reports, this claim was made because there was no description or mention of the Blue Lives Matter, which is a countermovement advocating for the lives of police officers. 

The teacher in charge of the yearbook publication, David Fleischer, has gone on to explain that the group did not feel it was necessary or appropriate to include “anything beyond Black Lives Matter” because “it took away from the purpose of the page.” 

According to Fleischer, the school administration was given the opportunity to review the pages in question but decided not to. 

Now that they have taken the time to review, administrators have decided to resume the sales and distribution of “The Edge.” According to the Broward County Public Schools’ statement, every book now includes an insert that notes that “the views expressed are not sponsored by the District.”

Despite how this incident ended, it is nonetheless part of a larger discussion not only of student journalism and censorship but also of social movements in general and how they should be represented in schools.