Salt Lake City School District Apologizes for Yearbook Quote Seen as Anti-Trans

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday August 4, 2020

A screenshot from SLC television station KSL TV showing the yearbook quote
A screenshot from SLC television station KSL TV showing the yearbook quote  (Source:KSL TV video)

Officials with the Salt Lake City School District issued an apology after a student at Highland High School posted at social media about a yearbook quote that seemed to slam transgender people.

A departing senior contributed this to the school's 2019-2020 yearbook:

"There are only two genders and a lot of mental illness."

In response, a rising senior called out the quote, its author, and the school.

"This is a clear attack towards the trans community at Highland," the student wrote in a July 31 Facebook post. "As a member of the the LQBTQ+, this was extremely offensive to me and many of the students at my school."

The student took note of the unusual gap between the end of the school year and distribution of the yearbooks:

"The quotes were submitted before COVID started and the yearbook came out late. There is no excuse for this."

School district officials responded on Aug. 1, reported local news channel ABC4.

Calling the quote "offensive and inappropriate," in a statement, interim superintendent Larry Madden went on to add:

"To have something like this included in one of our high school yearbooks is abhorrent. We are committed to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students, including our LGBTQIA+ community.

"To our LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized students I say, please know how deeply your teachers, school administrators, and district leaders care about you and your well-being."

Jeremy Chatterton, who has recently been appointed as the high school's principal, also decried the quote, saying it was "an affront, an attack on our Highland community and our LGBTQIA+ community in particular."

Vowed Chatterton:

"As principal, I will not allow hate speech like this in my school community."

Media accounts did not identify the graduating senior who contributed the quote. Explained local news channel KUTV:

Although the student has graduated and could be legally considered an adult now, it is possible they were a minor when they gave the quote. For this reason, their name or photo will not be published.

The KUTV article went on to report that the graduating senior who supplied the quote to the yearbook "may have issued an apology over social media."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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