A senior at East Side High School in Newark, NJ, had purchased (for $150, no less) a page in the school’s yearbook to commemorate his high school experiences. Included among the montage of photos printed on that page was one of him kissing his boyfriend on the lips (at left).
But, before the yearbook was distributed, school officials had that photo blacked out with a marker in every copy of the yearbook, deciding that it was easier to black out the”suggestive”photo than to tear out the whole page (which was apparently their first reaction). Nevertheless, the school officials left untouched the photos of heterosexual couples kissing that appear in the yearbook, including one that appeared on the page right after the blacked out photo of the gay couple kissing.
Yet, perhaps the most galling line from this story in the Star-Ledger has the superintendent of schools stating that she will apologize to the student”if he believes the district did something to hurt him because of his orientation.”Translation: objectively speaking, the superintendent believes that the school did nothing wrong; however, if, for some reason, the student somehow feels hurt by this action, then she will apologize to him in order to make him feel better. Apparently, the superintendent has not the first clue of what an”atmosphere of tolerance for gay students”might look like, despite claiming to foster just such an atmosphere in Newark’s schools.
-Anthony C. Infanti