Taylor Ellis: Arkansas High School Removed Gay Student’s Profile From YearbookBy: Val Powell - March 21, 2014
A gay Arkansas high school student is making headlines after Sheridan High School decided to remove seven student profiles from the yearbook that talked about his coming out.
The student, Taylor Ellis, claims that the reason was clear. “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.”
However, he said that he didn’t understand the decision because he already came out last year.
The yearbook’s assistant editor Hannah Bruner said that Ellis’ coming out was well-received, even though he was scared of the repercussions. “He found that most of the student body, as well as the teachers, were very accepting of him,” she said.
According to Sheridan Superintendent Brenda Haynes, she and her colleagues have reviewed state law, court cases, and its own policies.
“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 The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook,” she said.
A demonstration was staged last Tuesday by a national civil rights organization to support Ellis. The Human Rights Campaign appealed to Gov. Mike Beebe and Tom Kimbrell, the state’s education commissioner to intervene, but their representatives said it was the local school district’s call.
The principal of Sheridan, Rodney Williams, received a 30,000-strong petition asking to reverse the decision.
Bruner stands by the yearbook’s decision. “It’s a big thing in Sheridan to be gay. That’s something that doesn’t get told a lot. I had no idea that any of this would happen, but I’m glad it did and I don’t regret anything that I’ve done so far,” she said.
“When I’m done with Sheridan, I’m done with Sheridan. I have one more year, and after that, I’ll thank God every day that I’m not there anymore,” declared Ellis.
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