FLOWER MOUND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Accusations of censorship versus complaints of political bias have set off a war of words over a North Texas school yearbook.
It looks like a typical school yearbook that 13-year-old Carissa Neunherz helped design for Downing Middle School in Flower Mound. But the back cover has created controversy which led to a teacher being placed on paid administrative leave.
There are references to the 2020 election, popular video games and the latest social media craze TikTok. They adorn the front and back cover of the latest yearbook put together by students at the school in Flower Mound.
“When we saw it all finished we all feel so proud it was so cool and I felt like I did such a great job,” said Neunherz.
Neunherz was among the students that designed the yearbook which on the back also included a black fist with words “I can’t breathe” along with references to Black Lives Matter, women’s rights and human rights.
“To me this just showed ‘oh this has what happened over the year, this happened and that happened’ so I found nothing wrong,” she said.
But plenty of parents did find something wrong.
Among the posted complaints:
“I don’t feel like schools should be forcing anyone’s political views on anyone.”
“There should’ve been a MAGA sticker and an ‘all lives matter’ sticker on there, if they are going to put political stickers then balance it out.”
Rick Neunherz thinks the yearbook his daughter helped create is apolitical. “To me those none of those are controversial positions those should be what any decent person believes,” he said.
The Lewisville Independent School District has placed the art teacher overseeing the project, Kayla Mick, on paid administrative leave and releasing a statement saying, “We are taking time to ensure we fully review the circumstances surrounding the design of the yearbook and that we have all the facts before any further action is considered.”
Nearly 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the district not to punish the teacher. Lewisville ISD is also offering parents the choice of receiving another yearbook with an alternate cover if they want it.