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School Board Changes Yearbook Policy After Lesbian Photos Published

The Clovis board of education will have final say on content in student publications under a new policy adopted about four months after the high school yearbook published pictures of lesbian couples.

The board voted 3-2 to pass the new publications code Tuesday. The code also gives school principals authority to review students' work before publication.

Clovis Municipal School District Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the school district's previous publications code did not allow principals to review student publications.

She said the need for such a review surfaced after community groups criticized last year's edition of the high school yearbook, the Plainsman, for photographs of lesbian couples in a segment about relationships.

Under the code, students can appeal a decision regarding content. The board of education will have the final say in the appeals process.

Board member Lora Harlan voted against the measure because she said she wanted to be sure the code did not conflict with state statutes.

Photos of two lesbian couples, along with narratives describing their relationships, were included in a features section titled "Do you want to go out?" Also pictured on the two-page spread were nine heterosexual couples.