Administrators at Sheridan High School in Sheridan, Ark., are refusing to publish a profile of an openly gay student in the school's yearbook, claiming the article is "too personal" and could lead to bullying.
But 17-year-old Taylor Ellis, the student profiled in the censured article, says he understood the implications of sharing his story.
"This was just letting people that it's OK to be gay," Ellis told Little Rock TV station KARK Friday. "And if you are gay, that if you come out, it's not that big of a deal. It won't ruin your life."
KARK reports that six student profiles were pulled from this year's book, but it's unclear whether those encompass all the student profiles slated to appear or not.
Regardless, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, a native of Arkansas, condemned the school's decision in a strongly worded letter Sunday.
"Regardless of print deadlines, it would be unconscionable to release the yearbook with the omission of Taylor's well-deserved profile," writes Griffin in a letter to Sheridan School District superintendent Brenda Haynes. "If not resolved immediately, this act of discriminatory censorship will send a dangerous message to all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in Sheridan, across Arkansas and around the nation — that they are second-class citizens and their lives are not equally valid. Instead of respecting the wishes of Taylor's fellow students to recognize him in their yearbook, you have told him and other students who may already feel marginalized that they are not an equally valued part of the Sheridan high school student body."
Watch KARK's report below.