WMU-Cooley Professor Renalia Dubose Speaks on Florida HS decision to pause yearbook distribution

WMU-Cooley Professor and former administrator from Pasco, Hillsborough and Orange Counties Renalia DuBose is available to speak to the media on the legal parameters surrounding Education Law and Legal Rights and the recent news surrounding the Florida High School Yearbook Distribution Being Paused Due to Black Lives Matter Content.

Last Friday, West Broward High School stopped distribution of its yearbook because pages contained pictures of students in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The Miami Herald reports, The assistant principal ordered yearbook teacher David Fleisher to stop selling and distributing the yearbook because the Black Lives Matter spread in it was ‘too politically one sided.’” In the report, the yearbook’s co-editor-in-chief says the halting of sales and distribution was “censorship.” CNN has reported that the Broward County school district provided a statement which said, “Broward County Public Schools supports and encourages students' freedom of expression. After concern was expressed last week regarding editorial student content included in the West Broward High School yearbook about the Black Lives Matter movement, the school's administration paused distribution late Friday afternoon while the concerns were carefully reviewed."

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor and former assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose said, “This is a First Amendment, free speech issue. There are two landmark cases to this specific topic. Tinker v Des Moines Independent School District provides that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. Schools must decide if the speech is a material and substantial disruption test to the school environment. The other case is Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which provides that the district is in control of school publications.”

According to DuBose, “The district does not have an unfettered right to censor all speech. This is a very delicate balancing situation. It is a judgment call.”

Professor DuBose joined the faculty in 2013, teaching at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay, Florida, campus. Before joining WMU-Cooley, Professor DuBose served as the Assistant Superintendent for Administration for Pasco County Public Schools 2006-2013, the Director of Training and Staff Development for Hillsborough County Public Schools 2003-2006; Senior Director of Training and Benefits (2001-2003) and Senior Director of Professional Development Services (1999-2001), both for Orange County Public Schools; Supervisor of Teacher Training (1993-1999), Principal Intern (1994-1996), and social studies teacher (1979-1993) for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Prior to becoming a member of the faculty at WMU-Cooley, Professor DuBose was an adjunct professor at St. Leo University, the University of South Florida, and Hillsborough County Community College. At WMU-Cooley, Professor DuBose teaches Contracts I and II, Personal and Professional Responsibility, Education Law, and Employment Law.

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