If you thought the Constance McMillen story was bad, another Mississippi school has simply scrubbed the very existence of a lesbian student out of the school yearbook.
When Veronica Rodriguez opened Wesson Attendance Center’s Yearbook on Friday, she didn’t find a trace of her lesbian daughter Ceara Sturgis after a long battle with school officials to include a photo of her daughter wearing a tuxedo in the school’s 2010 yearbook.
“They didn’t even put her name in it,” Sturgis’ mother Veronica Rodriguez said. “I was so furious when she told me about it. Ceara started crying and I told her to suck it up. Is that not pathetic for them to do that? Yet again, they have crapped on her and made her feel alienated.”
They didn’t just refuse to post the picture, they didn’t even list her name as one of the graduating seniors. And the school is refusing to budge:
The ACLU wrote an October letter demanding officials use Sturgis’ submitted photo in the yearbook, but Copiah County School District officials refused. Rodriguez said she expected the yearbook to at least contain a reference to her daughter on the senior page. What she discovered on Friday, when the yearbook came in, was that the school had refused to acknowledge her entirely.
“It’s like she’s nobody there, even though she’s gone to school there for 12 years,” Rodriguez said. “They mentioned none of her accolades, even though she’s one of the smartest students there with wonderful grades. They’ve got kids in the book that have been busted for drugs. There’s even a picture of one of the seniors who dropped out of school.
“I don’t get it. Ceara is a top student. Why would they do this to her?”
Copiah County School District spokeswoman Martha Traxler refused to comment on the school’s reason for excluding Sturgis from the senior page, and referred all questions to Copiah County attorney Olen Bryant, Jr. Bryant did not immediately return calls.
Last year, the school gave no indication that it would withhold Sturgis’ information, but said it had legal justification to not rub Sturgis’ photo.
“We have had our legal counsel research the validity of the position of the School District on this matter,” Copiah County Superintendent Ricky Clopton said in the statement. “We are informed by counsel that this exact issue has been litigated in federal court. The decisions of the federal courts completely support the policy of the district in this regard. It is the desire of the Copiah County School District to inform, first, the patrons of the district, and second, all other interested parties, that its position is not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful, but is based upon sound educational policy and legal precedent.”
The school district’s attorney is a moron. The case they referred to is one in which the school actually settled the case and agreed to change their policy.