Missouri School Removes Gay Students’ Yearbook Quotes, Is It Censorship?

Two gay Missouri high school graduates say that their high school removed their pro-gay yearbook quotes without consulting them, raising the question of whether or not the school unfairly censored them.

As KCTV (Kansas City) reports, Joey Slavinsky and Thomas Swartz are both openly gay. The two young men, who recently finished their senior year at Kearney High School in the far northeastern suburbs of Kansas City, both say they submitted their chosen quotes well before their senior year began. They insist that no one from the school suggested that they pick different quotes.

Instead, when they picked up their yearbooks, they found that their quotes had simply been removed, with no explanation, says Slavinsky.

“I went to find my quote in the yearbook but, nothing was there.”

Swartz had the same problem.

“It was a blank picture under my name.”

The quotes that the men’s school decided to remove are both pretty innocuous. Both men say that they found their quotes funny and inspirational.

Slavinsky: “Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”

Swartz: “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.”

For those who don’t get Swartz’ joke: in the first of the Harry Potter series of books, the titular protagonist is forced to live in a small closet by his abusive caregivers.

In a statement, Kearney High School Principal Dave Schwarzenbach and KSD Superintendent Bill Nicely both admitted that officials were a bit overzealous in removing the young men’s yearbook quotes.

“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. 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 officials have also reached out to both men and their families and apologized.

Did a Missouri school censor gay students' yearbook quotes?
A Missouri school removed the quotes from two gay students' yearbook photos. [Image by CathyKaplan/Thinkstock]

This is not the first time school officials have gotten into hot water for censoring students’ yearbook photos.

As The Inquisitr reported in June, Wall Township High School censored the yearbook photos of at least two students who wore shirts bearing the Trump-Pence logo and/or the “Make America Great Again” slogan on picture day. A third student, a graduating senior, had her quote – a famous Donald Trump quote – removed.

Wall Township High School superintendent Cheryl Dyer apologized and promised an investigation.

Do you believe Kearney High School was right to remove the gay students’ pro-gay yearbook quotes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Featured Image by MarijaRadovic/Thinkstock]