School Removes 'Offensive' Openly Gay Students' Yearbook Quotes.
Do you remember your yearbook quote? Not me. All I remember about the yearbook was who was in it the most and the fact that last year's prom pictures were in it instead of the one I went to my graduating year.
Many use the yearbook quotes as a way of signing off, saying goodbye, thanks to those who mattered and saying good riddance to those that didn't. It's usually harmless fun and most get a chuckle out of it.
Two openly gay students at Kearney High, Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz, say the quotes they submitted to the yearbook committee were removed without warning. KCTV5 News went to the district to find out why.
“I went to find my quote in the yearbook but, nothing was there,” Slivinski said.
“It was a blank picture under my name,” Swartz said.
KCTV5 out of Kansas City tells us more.
So much for embracing funny and inspirational. I think these two openly gay students have always been that in everything they do.
Slivinski said, “Mine was, ‘Of course I dress well. I didn't spend all that time in the closet for nothing.’"
Swartz said his was, "If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.”
The Kearney School District said it has reached out to the boys and their families, and said that it didn't intend to offend them.
In a statement, district administrators explained their yearbook policy to KCTV5. They wrote:
Dear KHS Families,
District administrators were made aware of concerns regarding the removal of senior quotes from the school yearbook. Each year, graduating seniors are provided an opportunity to pick a favorite quote to be placed in the yearbook. In an effort to protect our students, quotes that could potentially offend another student or groups of students are not published. It is the school’s practice to err on the side of caution. 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. All KSD staff understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance especially in an educational setting. We work diligently to help every student feel safe, supported, and included. District staff participate in ongoing training around issues of diversity and support student organizations that do the same. That being said, we acknowledge our mistake and will use it as a learning opportunity to improve in the future.
Sincerely, Dave Schwarzenbach KHS Principal
Dr. Bill Nicely KSD Superintendent of Schools
The two graduates plan to make stickers to insert the missing quotes into yearbooks.
Do you remember who was in charge of your yearbook staff? I remember our committee way back in 1991/1992 had at least one gay student on it. I know if this happened even back in 1992, there would have been a fight. My question is where was the leadership? Why didn't the administration reach out to the students before printing to show their ignorance and to have the students write a new quote? Why wait until the book is published to show how inconsiderate you are?
I'd love to see if other students were judged the same way or if this was just an anti-gay thing.
I guess we found out that people at the Kearney School District are afraid of fashion and Harry Potter. I mean, what else would you find wrong with those quotes in 2017.