Gay seniors’ yearbook quotes censored by school district over fears they will ‘offend’
Two gay seniors at a school in Missouri have had their quotes pulled from the yearbook over fears that they will “offend”.
Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz were told that their quotes, which referenced coming out, could not be included in the yearbook as they may “offend another student or groups of students”.
The two seniors just graduated from Kearny High School, close to Kansas City, and as is the tradition in the US they were asked to give a quote to be included in the book.
Slivinski’s read: “Of course I dress well, I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”
“If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one deserves to live in the closet,” Swartz’s read.
The pair explained that they were shocked to open up the yearbook to find that the quotes they had chosen had not been included in the yearbook for the class of 2017.
Slivinski explained: “I went to find my quote in the yearbook but nothing was there.”
“It was a blank picture under my name,” Swartz added.
The pair, who were not told that their choice of quotes would not be permitted, immediately complained to the school.
The administration admitted their mistake in unintentionally offending the students they had hoped to protect with the policy.
Administrators said in a statement: “In an effort to protect our students, quotes that could potentially offend another student or groups of students are not published.”
“Doing so in this case had the unintentional consequence of offending the very students the practice was designed to protect.
“We sincerely apologize to those students”.
Both Slavinski and Swartz said that they were comfortable with their sexuality and felt mortified that their identity had essentially been stripped with the removal of the quotes.
Slivinski said that he was “disappointed” by the situation but that he and Swartz planned to make stickers of their quotes to be included in their friends’ yearbooks.
“I’m proud to be from Kearney and I’m proud to be who I am,” Slivinski said. “I’m just disappointed at what happened.”
Swartz added: “They need to know what they did is wrong. I want to be able to tell other people my story about what happened.”