Wow, in only a couple of days the district went from blacking out photos to apologizing to the student – that is the power of the press. If you don’t know, look back at this and then see today’s story.
I still say that the district, as well as the school, and even the yearbook itself needs to develop a policy. If you are going to allow kissing photos in the yearbook, then you can’t discriminate against gays or anyone else. There are federal laws about discrimination and you will lose.
If you want to get rid of kissing photos, then you must get rid of all of them or none.
This requires a certain amount of work do develop a policy that everyone can live with. Notice I did not say one that everyone would be happy with. You will never get a policy that satisfies everyone. Administrators need to be realistic in seeing that community values may have changed. Teachers need to strike a balance between administrators need for control of the learning environment and student free speech rights, especially when the student has purchased an ad page. And buyers should be informed that the school has a compelling interest in protecting their reputation as well as the reputation of the minors who may be portrayed in the photos.
It is a delicate balancing act, that should be taken seriously by all parties. Then the policy must be approved, posted and followed by everyone involved. This is the world we live in. A world of lawsuits, lawyers and plaintiffs. Forewarned is forearmed.
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