Associated Press

KEARNEY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri school district is apologizing for removing senior quotes two openly gay students wanted printed under their yearbook pictures.

Kearney High graduates Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz were surprised when they opened the newly printed 2017 yearbook, KCTV reported.

“I went to find my quote in the yearbook but, nothing was there,” Slivinski said.

He wanted his quote to be, “Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing.”

Swartz had asked for, “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should have to live in the closet.”

Swartz and Slivinski feel the district was wrong.

“I’m comfortable in my own skin and with who I am,” Slivinski said. “It felt like the district took that from me.”

The district said in a statement that its policy of not publishing potentially offensive quotes had the “unintentional consequence of offending the very students the practice was designed to protect.”

“We sincerely apologize to those students,” the statement said. “All KSD staff understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance especially in an educational setting.”

The district said it works to help students feel safe and included, and that staff members participate in ongoing diversity training.

“That being said, we acknowledge our mistake and will use it as a learning opportunity to improve in the future,” the district said.

The two graduates plan to make stickers to insert their quips into their yearbooks and those of their friends.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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