This school tried to be sneaky in order to avoid a firestorm, but it didn't quite work out that way.
Luckily, their plan totally blew up in their face — because now the world is hearing ALL about it!
An Arkansas high school student named Taylor Ellis wrote a beautiful letter for his yearbook about how touched he was that his community had accepted him when he came out as openly gay, but Sheridan High School decided to scrap his story along with the six other profiles featured in the yearbook.
The school's tactics aren't fooling anyone, though, especially the yearbook's assistant editor!
Here's what Hannah Bruner said:
"It's a big thing in Sheridan to be gay, that's something that doesn't get told a lot. We have a good idea why they're not going into the yearbook. They don't want to just throw out the gay kid's interview."
As for Taylor, he for one doesn't understand why the school made the decision that they did. He said:
"I'm already openly gay, so there's no reason that it should affect how people see me…It’s not something I’m ashamed of. In fact, I’m proud of who I am. That’s why I can’t understand why my school was trying to force me back into the closet."
Sheridan Superintendent Brenda Haynes has released a statement on behalf of the school. The statement said:
"We must make decisions that lead in the proper direction for all of our students and for our community. We must not make decisions based on demands by any special interest group. The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook. We have reviewed state law, court cases, and our own policies. It is clear that the adults who have the responsibility for the operation of the District have the obligation to make decisions which are consistent with the mission of our school. We have done so."
Well, many folks won't take this lying down including the Human Rights Coalition and Taylor's super supportive mom Lynn Tiley (photo with Tayler above). They've gathered over 35,000 signatures demanding Taylor's story be put back in the yearbook, and have delivered them to the school.
Here's what the HRC President Chad Griffin wrote:
“This act of discriminatory censorship sends a dangerous message to all LGBT students in Sheridan, across Arkansas, and the nation – that they are second-class citizens and their lives are not equally valid. Tens of thousands of fair-minded Americans are speaking out against this discrimination.”
No matter what happens, Taylor, who is a junior at the high school, knows that he won't have to put up with such small mindedness for very longer. He said:
"They're history, when I'm done with Sheridan, I'm done with Sheridan; I have one more year and after that I'll thank God that I'm not there anymore."
Hopefully he'll be able to leave high school with some positive memories — especially if his yearbook entry gets reinstated! You know, instead of graduating with this bad taste in his mouth.
No way should this kind of discrimination still be happening!
Especially in a public high school in 2014!!
[Image via AP Images.]