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School district puts two gay students back in the closet

Two gay students in Missouri submitted quotes to run under their yearbook photos at Kearney High School. Joey Slivinkski and Thomas Swartz both chose quotes on coming out. The district said they were offensive and removed them.
Two gay students in Missouri submitted quotes to run under their yearbook photos at Kearney High School. Joey Slivinkski and Thomas Swartz both chose quotes on coming out. The district said they were offensive and removed them. Thinkstock.com

Two gay high school students in Missouri had their quotes on coming out of the closet removed from their yearbook after school district officials deemed them offensive.

The two students, Joey Slivinkski and Thomas Swartz, submitted quotes to run under their photos like other students did at Kearney High School.

When the 2017 yearbook came out in August the quotes were missing.

According to KCTV 5 in Kansas City, officials in the Kearney School District removed the quotes.

Neither quote directly referenced sexual orientation.

“Mine was, ‘Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing,’ ” Slivinski said.

Swartz said his was, “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.”

“I'm comfortable in my own skin and with who I am,” Slivinski told KCTV. “It felt like the district took that from me.”

The district said it has reached out to the two boys and their families and no offense was intended.

“In an effort to protect our students, quotes that could potentially offend another student or groups of students are not published,” the district said in a statement. “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.”

The boys said they would make stickers with their quotes and distribute them to friends.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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