Missouri High School Removes Students' Yearbook Quotes for Being Too Gay


Joey Slivinski, left, and Thomas Swartz. - SCREENGRABS VIA KCTV
  • screengrabs via KCTV
  • Joey Slivinski, left, and Thomas Swartz.
Two recent Missouri high school graduates were in for a surprise when they opened their yearbooks recently: In place of the funny quotes they'd chosen to go under their names, the school had left only blank spaces.

Why? The quotations both referenced coming out of the closet. And in Kearney, Missouri — a small town about 30 minutes outside Kansas City — that is now verboten.

The school apparently decided to censor the quotes because they thought someone might be offended. Naturally, the students were instead offended that they'd been censored — and the district is apologizing.

As the Kearney School District told KCTV,
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.
KCTV reports that Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz, who are both 2017 graduates of Kearney, are openly gay. Slivinski's quote had quipped, "Of course I dress well. I didn't spend all that time in the closet for nothing." As for Swartz, he wrote, "If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet."

Neither student was given any warning that his quote was potentially problematic, KCTV reports.

The school district has since reached out to both students. But the two young men have already come up with a solution: They're creating stickers printed with their quips to place inside their yearbooks and those of their friends.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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