Two students say they were let go from the Palmer High School yearbook staff and two others quit, over decisions made by their advisor.The students say they believe those decisions were unethical.
"She told me to in these exact words, you either cut the gay couple or I cut the page." said former Palmer High School Yearbook Staff Member Rudolpho "Coco" Tribulio.
Tribulio and Anna Carmicheal say their yearbook advisor told them that a lesbian couple holding hands could not be on a page they were creating about high school relationships.A School District 11 spokesperson says there is another reason.
"When the photos came back from that page there was too much PDA and that is against Palmer policy," said District 11 Public Information Officer Devra Ashby.If you look at pictures from last year's yearbook,however, you can see several forms of public displays of affection.
"Regardless of any sort of situation inside the photograph. If theres too much PDA, it's against policy. It's going to get cut," said Ashby.
At that point, the relationship page was cut and replaced by a page called diversity. "I think it was a vision of the class to do a page that was focused on diversity and do a a collage of all the diverse cultures backgrounds," said Ashby.
But Carmichael says the yearbook advisor came up with a new restriction. "No names, only the labels. So for a picture of a muslim, she wanted to label them as a muslim," said former Palmer High School yearbook editor Anna Carmichael.
District 11 Devra Ashby says the diversity page was supposed to be more of a collage, and would not have encouraged segregation. "We don't discriminate in any way or form, so we wouldn't discriminate or find that appropriate, said Ashby.
Ashby says the diversity page in this year's edition will have the collage, but there will be no labeling.