County school officials are backing a principal’s decision to bar a picture of a lesbian student dressed in a tuxedo from the high school yearbook.
Sam Ward, principal of Fleming Island High School, said he pulled the senior class picture because Kelli Davis was wearing boy’s clothes. His decision was debated Thursday at a Clay County school board meeting that drew 200 people, but the board took no action, and Superintendent David Owens said the decision will stand.
Most of the 24 people who spoke at the meeting supported Kelli Davis.
“This is not to be treated as a gay rights issue,” said her mother, Cindi Davis. “Rather it’s a human rights issue.”
Others applauded Ward’s decision, including Karen Gordon, who said, “When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds.”
Officials at the northeastern Florida school have said the picture was pulled from the yearbook because Davis did not follow the rules on dress. School board attorney Bruce Bickner said there is no written dress code for senior pictures, but principals have the authority to set standards.
The student editor of the yearbook, Keri Sewell, was fired after refusing her adviser’s order to take the picture out.
“When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds.” Ain’t it the truth? The 21st century marches on.