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The Brantley Banner

The student news site of Lake Brantley High School

The Brantley Banner

The student news site of Lake Brantley High School

The Brantley Banner

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Lyman High School yearbook faces controversy again over LGBTQ-inclusive pages

Lyman+High+School+is+located+in+central+Florida+and+is+populated+by+over+a+thousand+students%2C+many+of+whom+took+home+yearbooks+at+the+end+of+the+school+year.
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Lyman High School is located in central Florida and is populated by over a thousand students, many of whom took home yearbooks at the end of the school year.

At the beginning of summer, hundreds of students at Lyman High School in central Florida went home with yearbooks, ready to look back on the best moments and memories of the school year they had just wrapped up. However, all was not smooth sailing as controversy regarding a particular page focused on LGBTQ identities erupted almost instantaneously. 

The page in question was headlined “Words to live by” and featured definitions for various terms describing sexual orientations and gender identities, such as “genderfluid”, “pansexual” and “cisgender”. The definitions were shown alongside photos of students with quotes describing how students across the Lyman campus felt about inclusivity and representation of LGBTQ identities. 

“I think [the spread] was valuable,” senior Luke Satterlee said. “It made the students feel safe in their skin and respected by themselves.”

Some parents of students took issue with the spread, claiming that the content was inappropriate and contributed to the sexualization of minors. Enough complaints were made to result in the yearbook being taken under review by the district. The controversy took place almost a year exactly after a separate one regarding the Lyman yearbook’s inclusion of photos from student protests of the Florida HB 1557 bill, dubbed by some as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“I think it’s hypocritical to get mad at the yearbook,” senior Sarah Cillo said. “Hashtag freedom of the press. It’s the right of free speech so I feel like people shouldn’t get upset about one or two pages in the yearbook.”

Ultimately, parents were provided with the options of returning the yearbooks for a full refund or requesting an exchange for a re-printed version of the yearbook that did not include the contentious page. With a general agreement over whether or not it is right to feature such divisive topics in a school yearbook still having not been reached, it is possible that issues like this will continue to arise for any publications that try to feature such topics in their content.

“I think the effects of this are pretty negative, only in the aspect of it separating people,” art history teacher Ronni-Marie Villanueva said. “I feel like we should all respect one another, and it doesn’t hurt to understand where someone is coming from, even if you don’t personally believe in those things. We can all just take our biases and put them somewhere else.”

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About the Contributor
Annaliese Long, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Annaliese Long is a third year staff member and Editor-in-Chief of the Brantley Banner. She is also a member of various clubs and honor societies such as Latin Club, Quill and Scroll Honor Society, National Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys creative writing, reading novels and Wikipedia articles and listening to music. She plans to become a music journalist when she’s older, combining her two passions of music and writing into one job. She is grateful to be a part of the publication as it has helped her gain experience she will need to excel in this career. 
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