Members of a Colorado high school yearbook staff are protesting after a faculty adviser allegedly forced them to remove a photo of a lesbian couple from the yearbook.
Rudolpho Tribulio and Anna Carmicheal, students at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., told local station KRDO-TV that their adviser took issue with a photo of a same-sex couple holding hands that was slated to appear as part of a collage on a page in the yearbook devoted to relationships.
"She told me to in these exact words, you either cut the gay couple or I cut the page," Tribulio told KRDO-TV. The two students were reportedly kicked off the staff after the incident and two others quit in protest.
District 11 public information officer Devra Ashby said that the photo was one of at least three, including another of a heterosexual couple kissing, in a collage that was pulled from the yearbook because they violated the school's policy on excessive physical displays of affection - not because of the sexual orientation of the students pictured.
"A photo of two women holding hands could be allowed in the yearbook. That doesn't go against the policy," Ashby said. "The photo was part of a collage that included multiple pictures with multiple public displays of affection. When the photos came back from that page, there was too much PDA and that is against Palmer policy."
This is not the first yearbook photo flap to make headlines this year. A Colorado high school senior was thrust into the spotlight when a racy photo she submitted of herself posing in a short yellow skirt midriff and shoulder-exposing black shawl was rejected from her school yearbook because it violated the dress code. Teen Sydney Spies fought back and her family told local media that she would file a complaint with the Durango, Colo., school board.
The school district is reportedly conducting an investigation into the incident at Palmer High School.
Instead of the relationships page, Ashby said that the yearbook will now have a diversity page to highlight the student body's varied backgrounds.