lewisville isd

Teacher on Leave for Controversial Yearbook Cover Receives Support From Community

Student says teacher picked sticker, but students approved it

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Yearbooks sit on bookshelves as a sort of time capsule of youth. Inside there are often jokes from friends or a signature from the kid in math class. 

This year, the yearbook for Clayton Downing Middle School in Flower Mound won't be remembered for what's inside it, but for two stickers on the cover, suggested by the teacher and approved by students.

"She said, 'OK. What do you all think?' We said, 'Great,'" student Carissa Neunherz told us of the selection process.

One sticker has the phrase, "I CAN'T BREATHE." The other reads, "SCIENCE IS REAL, BLACK LIVES MATTER, NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL, LOVE IS LOVE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS, AND KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING." 

The school started getting complaints that those stickers went too far.  

"Some parents were threatening to protest against the school," Neunherz said. "I had a friend who felt offended over the whole women's rights, human rights, because they are pro-life."

The principal quickly ordered an alternate cover for those who wanted it and Kayla Mick, the teacher in charge of the yearbook, left campus just before the last week of school.

"We wouldn't see her again and some people had her from sixth grade all the way to their eighth-grade year," Neunherz said.  "It's really sad not to get to say your final goodbye."

The Lewisville Independent School District said Mick wasn't suspended and that her "leave" is not due to complaints, but due to their investigation into the matter.

The objections over the stickers have led to an outcry over the teacher's disappearance from campus the last week of school.   

A petition online has nearly 50,000 signatures asking Lewisville ISD not to discipline her.   

"I'm sympathetic to the position the school district is in. The last thing they wanted was to be in the middle of a cultural war, no one wants to be," said Rick Neunherz, Carissa's father.

Due to the teacher's right to privacy, the school will likely never share what they decide but there's no erasing the controversy this yearbook caused, just like there's no erasing some of the controversies argued over this year. 

The question is, do they belong on the cover of the yearbook?

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