HRC asks school to reverse decision on yearbook interview

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "I can't do it," Lynn Tiley whispers as she stands before a crowd on the steps of the state capital. She continues, "I want the best for my son and right now Sheridan High School isn't providing him for that."

According to the openly gay 17-year-old, administrators are refusing to include an interview in the yearbook with Taylor Ellis because of his sexuality. Ellis says, "I'm not looking for anything special. I just don't want to feel like I'm not good enough for the yearbook because I'm gay."

Ellis' story is reaching thousands of people across the world, even attracting the attention of international singer and songwriter Paul Luftenegger. Luftenegger dedicated his song entitled, "It's Only Love" to Ellis. In a phone interview, Luftenegger says, "I really tried to use music as a way to basically move through borders and boundaries that kind of exist within social change."

Tuesday afternoon the Human Rights Campaign also joined Ellis, his family and friends to take a stand against school administrator's decision. The president of HRC, Chad Griffin says, "This discrimination. It comes from the worst of places. It comes from an adult, the adult who is supposed to be there to protect the students, protect them from the bullies. But in this case, the principal and the superintendent are the bullies."

In response to the criticism Sheridan School District's Superintendent, Dr. Brenda Haynes sent a statement saying: "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."

While the school district stands firm on their decision, Ellis' supporters are hoping administrators will have a change of heart.


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