Monday, August 28, 2017

Kearny High School Removes Gay Student's Quotes From Yearbook

When I was in high school and about to graduate, we didn’t have the Senior Quotes business, where each member of the graduating class gets to select a quote by which to remember them; had we done that, me, being so shy back in those days, might have chosen this quote:
 ..... 
Just sayin’. And I’m also saying that my quote might not have “offended” anyone ... unlike the quotes from Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz, two openly gay Seniors at Kearney High School in western Missouri. See, after being asked to submit quotes to go along with their portraits in the school’s yearbook, Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz, used the opportunity to celebrate their sexual orientation ...

Joey Slivinski wrote:
“Of course I dress well, I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”
Thomas Swartz wrote:
“If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one deserves to live in the closet.”
Both young men found their quotes inspirational and kind of fun, but school administrators felt differently and when the yearbooks arrived, Slivinski and Swartz found blank spaces under their names.

Blank. Non-existent. Let that sink in.

The Kearney School District says they removed both young men’s quotes, without warning, over concerns that they could “potentially offend” other students.

For the life of me I cannot find anything offensive in either quote.

And when a kerfuffle ensued over the censorship, the school district, in a statement to parents and the media, apologized to the Slivinski and Swartz and yet also tried to defend themselves:
“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. We acknowledge our mistake and will use it as a learning opportunity to improve in the future.”
Slivinski and Swartz said no one ever told them their quotes might be “problematic,” and no one ever offered them the chance to change them if they chose; instead, the two boys are planning to make stickers with their messages to place into the yearbooks of friends.

Sure, it’s just a yearbook, and sure it’s just a quote, but what this school did was to continue making LGBT people feel invisible and less than, something we’ve been fighting in big ways, and small, all of our lives. The message that this sent to those two young men, and to every student before and after them, is disgusting.

It’s, to use their word, offensive.

8 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

Stickers! Good idea. Should not have
been necessary in the first place.

Deedles said...

Protecting students from potentially offensive quotes, huh? Do they vet all of the quotes, or just the homogaysexual ones? Did anybody ask the students or are the prim and proper "adult" folks the ones with their drawers in a wad? Inquiring minds want to know!

Sadie J said...

The people who made the decision knew they were in the wrong because otherwise, they would have asked those young men to give another quote. Plain and simple

Professor Chaos said...

On what basis were these quotes deemed offensive? There's no reference to any kind of sex act, no profanity, no racism, misogyny, etc. How does the administration justify the censoring?

Bob Slatten said...

@Professor:
Ahem ... "gay."
That's the justification.

anne marie in philly said...

OUST THE ADMINISTRATION!

mistress maddie said...

The Kearney School District needs to get a sense of humor and lighten up.......for pete's sake.

Helen Lashbrook said...

At the very least these two boys should have been told that their inoffensive comments might offend Mr Brainless (or perhaps der Trumpenfuhrer) and given the chance to say something else.