KEARNEY, Mo. – Controversy over omitted yearbook quotes has drawn national attention.
A high school staff in Missouri say they are being wrongly labeled as anti-gay.
“Some gay people suffer in silence their entire lives and I couldn’t do that,” Thomas Swartz says.
Swartz says the students at Kearney High School embraced him coming out, but from the administration, the acceptance felt feigned.
And when the yearbook came out without his submitted quote…
“My voice was taken and I became one of the silenced.”
The crowd was atypically large for a board meeting.
A sea of people wearing purple standing up were staff members standing in defense of their principal whom they say was unfairly maligned on social media worldwide.
“You take it personally when they start getting on social media and start calling the kearney staff and school district bigots,” Kearney High School teacher Tim Marshall says.
Marshall says the principal founded the school’s gay-straight alliance and has brought the Bulldogs in a positive direction in terms of inclusion.
As for the exclusion of Swartz’s quote, a joke meant to empower about Harry Potter and coming out of the closet, was due to a “communication breakdown over a policy of not offending,” the board president said.
A mistake which the administration has apologized for.
Swartz doesn’t buy it was an innocent mistake and wants change, including with the gay/straight alliance.
“I would like to see a fully funded GSA,” Swartz says.