District Rejects Requests to Publish Gay Student Profile

SHERIDAN -- Despite nationwide backlash, the Sheridan School District is standing behind their decision not to publish the yearbook profile of a gay student.

In a new release Tuesday, Sheridan School District's Superintendent Dr. Brenda Haynes has released the following statement in response to an Arkansas civil rights organization who is supporting Taylor Ellis's fight to get his profile back in the yearbook:

"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 The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook.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."

Original Story (March 17):
SHERIDAN, AR -- An Arkansas civil rights organization is now joining the fight for an openly gay Sheridan High School student trying to get his profile back in the yearbook.

The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality calls this blatant discrimination.

17-year-old Taylor Ellis came out on social media last year letting friends and family know he's gay.

After a student wrote his story for a yearbook article, Ellis says the principal told him it was too personal.

Civil rights groups in Arkansas -- and across the country -- are now asking school administrators to reverse their decision.

President of the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, James Rector, said, "It sends a message to LGBT students, across the state and the nation, that they are second class citizens and we're not equal value."

Ellis' story wasn't the only one removed from the yearbook.

The yearbook's assistant editor tells us administrators decided to leave out all six student profiles this year.

So far, the Sheridan Schools superintendent hasn't returned our calls for comment.

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