Two high schools in Washington state have come under fire for using anti-police and pro-Black Lives Matter imagery in their yearbooks.
Officials at Woodinville High School and Bonney Lake High School were forced to defend themselves this week after critics attacked them for publishing the politically-charged yearbooks.
The controversy at Woodinville High School centered around a photo of students at a BLM rally holding an array of signs condemning white supremacy – including one with the word ‘ACAB’, which stands for ‘all cops are b*****ds’.
At Bonney Lake High School, critics took issue with a two-page spread about BLM which featured a drawing of a police officer attempting to assault a black person and encouraged readers to donate to the organization.
A picture appearing in a Woodinville High School yearbook featured seven students at a Black Lives Matter rally, one of whom was holding a sign reading ‘ACAB,’ an acronym for ‘All cops are bastards.’ School officials said the yearbook staff did not know what the acronym meant and apologized for it
The inflammatory photo in the Woodinville yearbook showed seven students proudly displaying pro-BLM signs at a protest which featured phrases including: ‘Use your white privilege to end white privilege’ and ‘Why is ending racism so controversial?’
But it was a sign the acronym ACAB that provoked the most uproar, according to Jason Rantz, a conservative radio talk show host in Seattle.
The acronym has been used by BLM and ANTIFA activists in protest of police brutality.
The image was also shown in a photo montage at the school’s graduation ceremony earlier this month, Rantz said, even after some parents complained about it.
Northshore School District spokeswoman Lisa Youngblood Hall said the staffers who put together the yearbook were unaware what ‘ACAB’ meant.
‘Honestly many other staff members had to ask what it meant once the concern was brought to our attention,’ she told Rantz in an email.
‘The situation was addressed with staff, who are embarrassed and apologetic about including the image, and the unintended impact of this lack of oversight.’
She promised to be ‘more vigilant in our review of future presentations to better represent our core values.’
The Bonney Lake High School included an entire spread on the Black Lives Matter movement, with a timeline and student artwork showing a riot officer about to strike a kneeling black woman while a white woman interferes
School district officials defended the artwork saying it is representative of the school year
And in Bonney Lake, about 50 miles south of Woodinville, the yearbook contained an entire two-page spread devoted to the BLM movement, which it called: ‘The protests that changed the world.’
The spread included a timeline of significant events in the movement and a line directing people to donate to the organization on its website.
The opposite page, the New York Post reports, included a student’s artwork entitled ‘Liberty and Justice for All,’ featuring Black Lives Matter protestors in front of the Statue of Liberty holding signs saying ‘Silence is violence’ and ‘Stop killing us.’
On the right of the image, a riot officer could be seen raising his baton to hit a kneeling black woman while a white woman tries to protect her.
Sumner-Bonney Lake School District spokeswoman Elle Warmuth defended the image in an email to Rantz.
‘With the purpose, in part to chronicle events, issues, pop culture and student life during any given school year, yearbooks often serve as a historical publication,’ she wrote.
‘Our yearbook standards reflect this purpose in highlighting a variety of topics written in either fact-based or opinion-based formats. The Black Lives Matter message presented a factual background on the movement and timeline of events.’
She added that the yearbook included a ‘balance’ in political content, with an interview about election integrity with the school’s conservative student body president, a survey of student’s political beliefs and a critique of the divisive nature of politics.
But, she said, the line soliciting donations should not have been included.
‘We apologize for this oversight,’ Warmuth said. ‘To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, we will be reviewing our editing procedures and implementing a new process.’
Two stickers on the back of a middle school yearbook – ‘Science is real, Black Lives Matter, no human is illegal, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, kindness is everything;’ the other sticker was a closed fist with the words ‘I can’t breathe’ – riled parents up in North Texas
Kayla Mick, a middle school art teacher in Texas, was placed on administrative leave
The outcry comes after a middle school teacher in Texas was put on leave after ordering yearbooks decorated with the slogans ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘I can’t breathe.’
One of the controversial slogans was included in a larger sticker which read: ‘Science is real, Black Lives Matter, no human is illegal, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, kindness is everything;’ the other sticker was a closed fist with the words ‘I can’t breathe’ – a nod to George Floyd’s dying words as he was murdered by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis in May 2020.
Those two stickers were mixed in with dozens of other stickers referencing recent events and pop culture, like the 2020 election, Baby Yoda, TikTok and popular games.
The Lewisville ISD said they had taken the decision to place art teacher Kayla Mick on leave ‘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.’
Three Republican-led states have now signed laws banning critical race theory in public schools and nearly a dozen others are currently trying to pass similar bills that block or limit it from becoming part of curriculums
Meanwhile, school and government officials throughout the country are continuing to debate whether to allow the teaching of critical race theory in schools, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of New York Times’ 1619 Project.
Its opponents claim the theory indoctrinates children into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
They argue it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Four states – Montana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Idaho – have banned critical race theory from school.
A handful of other states — including North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia — are currently debating, or in the process of approving, similar bills.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.