Administrators at a high school in Sheridan, Arkansas are trying to put a stop to a profile on third-year student Taylor Ellis in the school’s yearbook, and it may be because he’s gay.
Student Press Law Center reports that all student features are being pulled from the school’s yearbook The Yellowjacket, and speculation is leaning towards the administration’s issues with one feature in particular: Ellis’s profile and coming out story.
Though the principal and administration has cited concerns about the story being “too personal” with Yellowjacket editor Hannah Bruner, she sees it differently.
“He did come out last year and he did it over a social networking site so everyone knows already, and the story, like I said, is talking about how accepting everyone has been toward him.”
Student publications are protected from any kind of censorship by the Arkansas Student Publications Act, but a similar act by the high school requires the principal’s approval of any material distributed on school property.
Ellis still stands by the story and hopes that it runs.
“I would kind of feel discriminated against, not totally, because I understand what he means by people bullying me and stuff, but the thing is I don’t believe it will happen because I’m already openly gay.”
The deadline to get the yearbook to print is Friday, and Bruner has vowed to fight the decision.
While it’s understandable that the administration has Ellis’s best interests at mind, silencing his story is definitely not the answer.
It’s unfortunate that these students have to deal with this type of discrimination at such a young age, but heartening to know that they’re fighting for what they believe in.