Students at Palmer High School believe a yearbook page was pulled because it featured a photo of a same sex couple, but the district says the problem was a photo of a straight couple kissing. District 11 distributed copies of the controversial pages to the media Tuesday.
The samples of the so-called “relationship page” look incomplete, but featured prominently in the center of one is the kissing photo.
The page itself was actually deleted nearly a week before allegations surfaced that the page was being pulled because of those two photos. The copies distributed Tuesday were recovered from a backup.
"Since the page was recovered from what's called a taped file, no one except the D11 technology team had access to the page to make changes neither the teachers nor the students,” explained D-11 spokesperson Devra Ashby.
When the news surfaced, students said they believed two other photos were at the heart of the matter. One photo showed two girls holding hands, the other showed a kiss on the cheek.
“This particular incident had nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with public displays of affection, which is not condoned by Palmer and is against policy in District 11,” Ashby told 11 News last week.
“It’s actually kind of hypocritical, because we’ve fought to have a gay-straight alliance here at Palmer. That way, gay and lesbian couples could be open with who they are,” Palmer Student Stephanie Friesen said last week. “And then a picture comes up and they’re taking it out of the yearbook because it is a lesbian couple, I’m really confused about that.”
Right now, the district says they have an open investigation about what happened.
The school’s yearbook has replaced the relationship page with a diversity page, on which the district says a photo of a same-sex couple could be featured holding hands.
D-11 also says Palmer High School prides itself on its diverse culture, even pointing out they’re one of the few schools with a faculty-supervised Gay Straight Alliance club.