'Mature content:' Seminole County high school yearbook stirs controversy among parents
LONGWOOD, Fla. - There is controversy over part of Lyman High School’s yearbook.
"The first page that I saw was this two-page spread regarding some information, some content that I deem to be pretty mature content," Sharman Craft, whose son is a sophomore at Lyman High School in Longwood, said.
The page includes a list of descriptions of different types of sexualities as part of the yearbook’s LGBTQ+ spread. It includes terms like "pansexual," "asexual," and "aromantic."
"It’s really not relevant to school activities, academics, clubs, and sports. Anything that has to do with a high school experience, these terms and definitions are not appropriate," Craft said.
Other parents made similar comments on social media, saying the content had no place in the school yearbook.
The yearbook’s editor-in-chief defended the content.
"To be fair, it was supposed to have the opposite effect, which was to be more inclusive and more understanding and just gain that perspective," Ward said.
Ward said her goal is to provide fair representation to all groups on campus, including the LGBTQ+ community.
"That [content] came from credible sources. That came from The Trevor Project. We put it in for more context to the spread," she said. "We didn’t do anything wrong. We covered a full and fair representation, which is what we’re supposed to do. So I’m quite baffled and quite confused why this is a thing, but I’m going to defend our book because I’m proud of it."
A spokesperson for the Seminole County school district confirmed the yearbook is not in violation of the school board’s policy. The board policy states that student publications must be reviewed by a class advisor and/or the principal for determination that they are appropriate for juveniles. It also said the superintendent has the final authority to determine if it is appropriate.
Ward said Lyman’s principal approved the yearbook, including the LGBTQ+ spread.
This is not the first time there’s been controversy over Lyman High School’s yearbook. Last year, the school district ruled the club needed to put stickers over photos and text showing a school walkout over the Parental Rights in Education Law.
Craft sent a letter to Lyman’s principal expressing her concern about this year’s yearbook.
"I’d like for the yearbook to just go back to highlighting kids' achievements, sports, activities, their portraits, senior moments.
The Parental Rights in Education Law was expanded earlier this month. It now prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for kindergarten through 12th-grade students.