Senior year offers the opportunity for high school students to free themselves and express their identities by submitting a quote to be printed under their senior picture in the yearbook. Unfortunately for two classmates at a Missouri school, the district decided to omit their final declarations, saying they were offensive. Was it simply due to the fact that they were openly gay? Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz saw that when they looked at their yearbooks, their funny and inspirational quotes were replaced by blank spaces. For Joey, it was, “Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.” For Swartz, “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.” No one bothered to reach out to the students to amend anything beforehand. Should a student be silenced because of their sexual preference, race, or religion? In this case, one Missouri school district said yes, and even though they admitted later that they were wrong, and issued an official apology to the students, it was too little, too late for Joey and Thomas. In order to make up for it, they intend to create stickers to put on their friends’ yearbooks.
Jeff Kode has previously written articles for The Arizona Republic ALT section, as well as other publications including Echo Magazine and IONAZ Magazine. He is an enthusiastic movie lover, and enjoys discovering new music. He was previously on air middays with his own show The Sugar Rush, and can now be heard 6-9am on The Morning Beat with Steve and Jeff at 88.7 The Pulse.