BRIGHT FORT MYERS
Protests are published in the yearbooks. The students’ bold words to Governor DeSantis about the so-called “don’t say gayThe law is now printed on paper with photos of outings against the law, when it was still a bill, in the yearbooks of North Fort Myers High School.
Lee County Schools say students have compiled a yearbook, a staff adviser reviewed it, and the principal of North Fort Myers High School gave his seal of approval even before the controversial bill became law.
Why allow photos aimed at the governor? Because the photos are from a student protest that, according to the county, was 100% protected by freedom of speech.
A district representative said the case law motivated the decision. In the case of Tinker vs. Demoines The Supreme Court has ruled that students do not lose the right to freedom of speech in public schools if it does not interfere with learning.
In March 2022, North Fort Myers High School students left the classroom to protest the Parents’ Education Bill before the governor signed it.
There was a poster in the student sea that read, “My gay moms could pick up Ron DeSantis.” Unusual for a protest, but perhaps for a yearbook.
“First and foremost, the yearbook is run by students,” said Debbie Jordan, chairwoman of the Lee County School Board.
Lee County Schools have allowed the publication of photos and others in the 2022 North Fort Myers Yearbook.
“You know, kids have shared their lives, what they have, what they’ve been doing for a year. They used their freedom of speech, ”Jordan said.
“I believe in freedom of speech, of course. But I think it shows a bad assessment of administrators and staff, “said school board member Melissa Giovanelli.
However, unlike Jordan, Giovanelli is passionate that this picture hit the yearbook. She asked where the “Other Side” was and said it should be represented, but the school never had an exit or demonstration in support of the measure.
“I’m sure there were students who supported it. It’s a yearbook that leads students, but students aren’t adults, right? I mean, most of them are minors when they are under 18 years old. So, they have supervision, and I think he lacked opinions, ”Giovanelli said.
A lawyer specializing in the First Amendment said she agreed with the district’s explanation.
Giovanelli said the new superintendent is considering introducing a new yearbook policy.