Arkansas Student Taylor Ellis' Profile Axed From Yearbook Because He's Gay

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 06:52 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Gay Arkansas student Taylor Ellis said his high school administrators chose to pull seven profiles from the yearbook rather than run his, which detailed how students and teachers accepted him after he came out.

Ellis, 17, was originally selected as a student to be profiled in the Sheridan High School yearbook, along with six others. An assistant yearbook editor, also a student, said the profiles were pulled because Ellis is gay.

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“It’s a big thing in Sheridan to be gay,” Hannah Bruner told KATV. “That’s something that doesn’t get told a lot.”

Ellis told the news station that his principal told him the profile was “too personal.” Ellis also said he believes the school pulled all seven profiles “because they don’t want to just throw out the gay kid’s interview.”

“I’m already openly gay so there’s no reason it should affect how people see me,” Ellis told KATV.

The Human Rights Commission took a petition with 35,000 signatures to the school Wednesday to ask that administrators reverse their decision and publish Ellis’ profile, the organization said.

In a statement reported by CNN, the school administrators reaffirmed their decision and said they will not publish the profiles.

“We must make decisions that lead in the proper direction for all of our students and for our community,” Superintendent Brenda Haynes said in the release. “We must not make decisions based on demands by any special interest group. The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook.”

Lynn Tiley, Ellis’ mother, told KATV she asked the school principal if there had been threats, but he said there weren't and that the concern was just for Ellis' wellbeing.

“When I’m done with Sheridan, I’m done with Sheridan,” Ellis said. “I have one more year, and after that I’ll thank God every day that I’m not there anymore.”

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