Kearney School Board members are expected to hear for the first time from the gay students whose yearbook quotes were omitted without warning by school officials.
The board is set to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kearney High School, 715 E 19th St. in Kearney.
Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz last week opened the yearbook that would commemorate their four years at Kearney High School and found blank space beneath their senior photos.
Both Slivinski and Swartz, who are openly gay, took the opportunity to celebrate their sexual orientation, with quotes that each believed were inspirational and reflected who they are.
The two students, friends, family, alumni and members of the community have taken to social media with a torrent of comments criticizing the school for removing the students’ quotes.
Among those joining the criticism was new school board member Matthew Ryan Hunt, who himself is openly gay.
Hunt, who said in a Facebook post that he was asked to speak on behalf of the boys, said that he recognizes how difficult it could be to be an openly gay high school student in a town the size of Kearney.
The population is about 8,380 and fewer than 700 are high school age. Hunt, who said he has heard from hundreds supporting the students, called the two graduates brave.
At Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting the board is expected to hear from the students, parents and perhaps members from the community regarding the removal of the student quotes, an act that Superintendent Bill Nicely called “an error on the part of the school district.”