42 Years Later, School Apologizes For Calling Man 'Fag' in Yearbook

The North Vancouver school district formally apologized on Monday to Robin Tomlin for printing the word "Fag" next to his photo in the 1970 yearbook.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

October 24 2012 6:47 PM ET

It took more than four decades, but Robin Tomlin finally got some closure to the antigay bullying that haunted him since childhood. On Monday, Canada's North Vancouver school district Superintendent John Lewis apologized, in person, for allowing the word "fag" to appear next to Tomlin's name in his 1970 high school yearbook.

"They just said how sorry they were and how it slipped through the cracks," Tomlin, now 60, told The Vancouver Sun. "And they'll institute remedies so that it won't happen again."

Tomlin said he was satisfied with the apology, which concludes a four-year campaign to reconcile the hideous antigay bullying codified in the Argyle Secondary School yearbook of 1970. Originally, the school agreed to reprint the yearbook page, but until recently refused to issue an in-person apology, according to the Sun.

Tomlin, who has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, said he was often bullied in Argyle's halls, most often by a group of jocks who would shove him and say, "You little faggot, get out of the way."

The bullying was so severe that Tomlin did not attend his high school graduation for fear of harassment.

That's another wrong that was righted on Monday, when Tomlin's friends arranged a "graduation ceremony" for him, complete with a cap and gown in front of the high school. Later in the day, Tomlin spoke to students in a social justice class at nearby Sutherland secondary school about the ways bullying has changed since he was a target. 

While Tomlin is satisfied with the district's apology, he said neither the yearbook editor nor his former bullies have contacted him. "I hope it bothers them," Tomlin said. "It doesn't bother me."

Tags: Youth

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