Two recent high school graduates were shocked to get their 2017 yearbooks and discover that their yearbook quotes had been deleted. Instead of the funny references they’d submitted, there were just blank spaces under both their names. Both students are gay, and their quotes were funny, innocuous jokes, but they referenced being gay, so the school deleted them.
According to KCTV channel 5, Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz submitted their quotes on-time before graduation, just like everybody else. They heard no whisper of anything being wrong with their quotes. Nobody said anything or asked them to change. But then when they got their yearbooks, their quotes were gone. There was nothing but a blank space under their names.
“I went to find my quote in the yearbook but, nothing was there,” Slivinski told reporters.
“It was a blank picture under my name,” Swartz said.
One would think that a school would delete yearbook quotes for being offensive or harmful, but Slivinski and Swartz’s quotes were pretty darn innocuous.
Slivinski’s quote said: “Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”
Swartz’s quote said: “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.”
Those are the offensive quotes? That’s ridiculous. They’re funny and cute. Those quotes are only offensive if one finds the very existence of gay people offensive.
The school says they now realize they made a mistake in deleting the quotes.
“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,” the school said in a statement. “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.”
The principal and superintendent say this is a “learning experience” and that it will never happen again.
Slivinski and Swartz say they’re going to make stickers with their original quotes, so they can add them to their friends’ yearbooks. They’ve already graduated, though, so they’ll only be able to correct the yearbooks of the kids they see again.
It’s good that the school has apologized and said that deleting the yearbook quotes was a mistake, but this was wrong and hugely disappointing and upsetting for the students. They deserved better from their community.
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(Image: Human Rights Campaign, Kansas City)