H.S. Yearbook Adviser Fires Staff Over Photo of Black Lesbian Couple

March 13, 2012  |  


When yearbook staffers at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs were putting together a page on relationships, a picture of a black lesbian couple holding hands seemed like a natural pic to include. But when the students’ adviser came across the page, she felt differently, and responded to the mock up by telling the staff, “you either cut the gay couple or I cut the page.”

Refusing to do so, staff members Rudolpho Tribulio and Anna Carmicheal were fired, and two other staffers quit working on the yearbook in protest. District spokeswoman Devra Ashby defends the school’s decision however, saying the photo was one of three that were rejected for violating a policy against “excessive displays of public affection.”

“When the photos came back from that page there was too much PDA and that is against Palmer policy,” she said. “Regardless of any sort of situation inside the photograph, if there’s too much PDA, it’s against policy. It’s going to get cut.”

I’m not sure when hand-holding became “excessive PDA,” especially on a page about relationships, but now the school has decided to nix the entire idea altogether after students pointed out that last year’s page featured couples kissing and holding hands.

Unfortunately, the school swapped one controversial idea for another and will now feature a page on diversity. But the staff has already run into hinges with a rule the adviser supposedly created that said no names of students could be used, only labels. So for a picture of Muslim student she wanted it labeled as such. Ashby denies that there is any truth to the labeling for the diversity page:

“We don’t discriminate in any way or form, so we wouldn’t discriminate or find that appropriate.”

Just like holding hands.

Do you think the picture of the lesbian couple was really cut for PDA or because the girls are gay?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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