Rogers High School LGBTQ+ community looking to be included in the yearbook

KNWA

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – At Rogers High School, two members of the yearbook committee said the LGBTQ+ community is having a tough time getting a column in the 2020-2021 publication.  

Two students who spoke with KNWA/Fox 24 said the two-page spread was meant to bring awareness. 

“Also, [it should] just give them a platform [to] express themselves in a way that they never have been allowed to talk about themselves,” said Betty Gower, a member of the committee.

Fellow student Grace Henley and Gower pointed to Principal Lewis Villines, who they said felt it did not belong in the yearbook.

“He said it wasn’t an event, so it didn’t belong in the yearbook, but I have been doing this for two years and we don’t just cover events,” Henley said.

In a statement from Villines, he said administrators’ concern was that two pages of content with an LGBTQ+ theme were more of an opinion editorial rather than a chronicle of the year.

Henley said in a meeting about the LGBTQ+ pages, she asked Villines to explain his thought process behind the decision.

“Now I want to understand why the reason is no, and when he couldn’t tell me that, he was like, ‘Do you know how much authority I have to get you in trouble?,” Henley said.

A member of Rogers High School’ LGBTQ+ community spoke with KNWA/Fox 24 about how he feels about the pages being left out of the yearbook.

“It would be heartbreaking, because they knew there was a chance to have something like that to happen, but it was done by a member of the faculty at the school,” said Uriel Rodriguez, the senior student.

Villines said discussions on the pages are ongoing, and he recognizes the LGBTQ+ club is part of the school and the yearbook. Like all student clubs, its presence in the yearbook is not at issue, he said.  

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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