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Arkansas: Gay student’s bio pulled from high school yearbook

School not budging in face of petition calling for decision to be reversed

Arkansas high school student Taylor Ellis has had his yearbook bio, that includes his coming-out story, pulled from being published. Credit: katv.com

The yearbook bio of an Arkansas high school student that includes his coming-out story has been pulled from publication.

Taylor Ellis, 17, alleges Sheridan High School also decided to stop the publication of other students’ bios so as not to give the impression that it is discriminating against him, a CNN report says. Ellis says the school’s actions are puzzling since he is already out.

His bio reads reads in part, “I use to be scared to say that I’m gay,” Taylor Ellis, junior, said. “It’s not fun keeping secrets; after I told everyone, it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.”
 Ellis’s “secret” was first shared in the summer of 2012, with his friend Joelle Curry, junior, and his mother, Lyn Tillman.
 “I wasn’t surprised at all,” Tillman said. “I don’t care because he’s my son, and I know he’s happier.”
 

The Human Rights Campaign has rallied to Ellis’ defense since the news broke, delivering a petition with 35,000 signatures to the school, calling on it to reverse its decision.

But the school refuses to budge from its stance. Its superintendent, Dr Brenda Haynes, issued the following statement, “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 The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook.

 “We have reviewed state law, court cases, and our own policies. It is clear that the adults who have the responsibility for the operation of the District have the obligation to make decisions which are consistent with the mission of our school. We have done so.”