MISSOURI—For high school seniors, yearbooks mark a bittersweet Sharpie-scented end to their four years. For two openly gay Missouri seniors whose quotes were excluded from the yearbook, the keepsake was more bitter than sweet.
After recently graduating from Kearney High School, Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz opened their yearbooks to find blank spaces under their portraits, according to KCTV5. Both submitted witty quotes about their gay identities, only to find that the school scrubbed them from the pages.
“Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing,” Slivinski’s original quote read.
“If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet,” said Swartz’s.
An apologetic statement from the KHS principal Dave Schwarzenbach and district superintendent Bill Nicely claimed this was done to try and “protect” their students by withholding quotes that may offend other students or groups. It was a move intended to “err on the side of caution.”
Though the statement said that the district works “diligently to help every student feel safe, supported, and included,” Swartz called this incident an act of “senseless censorship” on his personal Facebook page.
The students told KCTV that they plan to make stickers of their quotes for friends to insert into their yearbooks.