Arkansas High School Won’t Publish Gay Student’s Bio

Posted by tbaker |

LTEDear Editor:

Administrators at Sheridan High School, located just south of Little Rock, are refusing to include an interview with openly gay student Taylor Ellis in this year’s yearbook. The NWA Center for Equality, a grassroots advocacy organization working to achieve full equality for the LGBTQ and ally community, is calling on Sheridan Superintendent Brenda Haynes and Principal Rodney Williams to reverse the decision.

In a letter to both Haynes and Williams, NWA Center for Equality President James Rector said:

“This deeply saddens us at the Center that the student’s wishes to publish his story have been refused, and we feel this type of discrimination is detrimental to the development of LGBTQ students in not only Sheridan, but also across the state and nation. This sends a clear message that they are second class citizens and not equally valued.”

Read the full letter at:


NWA Center for Equality

The NWA Center for Equality is a grassroots advocacy organization working to achieve full equality while creating an environment that embraces, promotes and supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally community of Northwest Arkansas.

Editor’s Note: Upon further inquiry, The Free Weekly learned that Taylor Ellis was one of six high schoolers interviewed by year book staff for student bios that would be printed in the student yearbook. The principal and superintendent would not run his story for “fears of bullying.” No student bios ended up running in the student year book. James Rector of NWA Center for Equality pointed out that Arkansas has strict anti-bullying laws that should protect Ellis. The yearbook staff member who interviewed Ellis also feels the refusal was a violation of her freedom of speech.


anna March 20, 2014 at 6:30 am

Since when did they start putting student bios in the yearbook anyway? I can see the tribute pages in the back for seniors but why special treatment to ANY student in the form of a bio in the year book?
This would be more appropriate in a student news paper no?

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thebigboboski March 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

Some of the gays are like some of the blacks. They don’t. want equal treatment they want special treatment.

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Keith March 21, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Before you make a prejudiced statement you should find out whether “the straights” get a bio in the yearbook. Also some yearbook committees allow people to buy advertisements in the back where they can put whatever they want as long as they pay for the space. The fact that you consider them “the gays” and “the blacks” also shows that the treatment they receive isn’t equal much less special. Don’t be so ignorant.

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Steve March 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Anna, the average age of a newspaper reader is like a thousand years old, so maybe the teenagers thought they were trying something revolutionary by printing ‘interviews’ in the yearbook. preposterous in my opinion, I can see snippets of conversation, heard around the school, being sprinkled throughout the yearbook but interviews? Newspaper seems more appropriate,or maybe a webpage with interviews.

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