Openly gay student says school won't publish his yearbook bio


Statement from Sheridan School District's Superintendent: Dr. Brenda Haynes

We must make decisions that lead in the proper direction for all of our students and for our community. We must not make decisions based on demands by any special interest group.The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook.We have reviewed state law, court cases, and our own policies. It is clear that the adults who have the responsibility for the operation of the District have the obligation to make decisions which are consistent with the mission of our school. We have done so.


SHERIDAN (KATV)--One Sheridan High School student is getting national attention after the district chooses not to publish his profile in the yearbook.

The yearbooks' assistant editor says it's because he is gay.

Six student profiles have been removed from the Sheridan High School's yearbook including one junior's story.

Taylor Ellis came out to his family and peers a year ago and wanted to share how well the community has accepted him, but he says his principal told him his yearbook profile was too personal.

"I'm already openly gay, so there's no reason that it should affect how people see me," said Ellis.

Ellis, 17, is a junior attending Sheridan High School and was supposed to be featured as one of the student profiles in this year's Yellowjackets Yearbook.

"Whenever we do them we need to find people who actually have a story to tell, something that's interesting and that wouldn't normally be featured," said Yellowjackets Yearbook Assistant Editor, Hannah Bruner. {} {}

That's when Bruner thought, why not share Ellis' story after he declared being gay just a year ago.

"It's a big thing in Sheridan to be gay, that's something that doesn't get told a lot," added Bruner.

After spending weeks writing the piece, Bruner soon found out, the Sheridan School District was not going to allow it to be printed and removed all the profiles.

"Of course we have a good idea of why they're not going in the yearbook," said Ellis. "They don't want to just throw out the gay kids interview."

Both students said, the profile was not his "coming out story" but rather how the community has responded.

"Censorship has been a problem for the yearbook in the past, but no one has taken the initiative to do anything and it's scary," added Bruner.

"They're history, when I'm done with Sheridan, I'm done with Sheridan; I have one more year and after that I'll thank God that I'm not there anymore," added Ellis.

Channel 7 did call the district several times today and Superintendent, Brenda Haynes, never got back to us. {}{}

The Human Rights Campaign has stepped in and is now asking Governor Mike Beebe and the state's education commissioner to get involved. The Human Rights Campaign is holding a press conference on the State Capitol steps Tuesday at five.

Channel 7 will be covering this and will be updating this story.