Not only did Wesson Attendance Center, the Mississippi high school, refuse to run Ceara Sturgis’ photo in the annual yearbook, it refused to even mention the fact that she was part of this year’s graduating class. Indeed, the lesbian teen who wanted to wear a tux in her yearbook photo has been scrapped from the book entirely.
After reaffirming its decision not to include Sturgis’ picture, Wesson administrators went ahead with publishing the yearbook. It was released to students on Friday. Sturgis’ name is nowhere to be found.
“They didn’t even put her name in it,” Sturgis’ mother Veronica Rodriguez said. “I was so furious when she told me about it. Ceara started crying and I told her to suck it up. Is that not pathetic for them to do that? Yet again, they have crapped on her and made her feel alienated.”
Sturgis and her mother commissioned the Mississippi ACLU to protest officials’ October 2009 decision not to allow Sturgis’ photo to appear in the senior yearbook because she chose to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress.
The ACLU wrote an October letter demanding officials use Sturgis’ submitted photo in the yearbook, but Copiah County School District officials refused. Rodriguez said she expected the yearbook to at least contain a reference to her daughter on the senior page. What she discovered on Friday, when the yearbook came in, was that the school had refused to acknowledge her entirely.
“It’s like she’s nobody there, even though she’s gone to school there for 12 years,” Rodriguez said. “They mentioned none of her accolades, even though she’s one of the smartest students there with wonderful grades. They’ve got kids in the book that have been busted for drugs. There’s even a picture of one of the seniors who dropped out of school.
“I don’t get it. Ceara is a top student. Why would they do this to her?”
The school won’t comment. The ACLU has yet to indicate whether it’ll pursue further legal action. This just makes me sick. If you’re interested, Ronald Greer (Attendance Center Principal) can be reached here; Oscar Hawkins (High School Principal) can be reached here; and the school’s phone number is (601) 643-2221.