WKYT reports that a Kentucky school district denies intentionally leaving a gay basketball player’s picture w out of a school yearbook.
Dalton Maldonado first told his story to Outsports in an article that has since prompted lots of questions from the media. The yearbook features every player in individual pictures bracketing a group picture — every player, that is, except Maldonado.
“It was really disappointing to see that my picture wasn’t in there,” said Maldonado, who played for Betsy Layne High School’s basketball team for three years.
According to Floyd County superintendent Henry Webb, a harassment coordinator investigated Maldonado’s claims. A statement released Wednesday says the coordinator thinks the photo was omitted by mistake. The release claims Maldonado’s photo was taken, but he asked for the digital file “for approval and editing.” The file was apparently given back to the photographer but didn’t contain the photo.
The district says there was no deliberate attempt to harass the student athlete by omitting his photograph from the yearbook, that claim is totally false and without merit… The student appears in the yearbook in fifteen separate photos,” the release says.
Maldonado insists he was harassed by an opposing team during a tournament in Lexington, but an investigation by school leaders and Fayette County Public Schools disputed his claims.
Maldonado says he complained about the missing photo but “they ignored me. They just brushed it off like, oh. They didn’t apologize. That’s what’s hurting the most.”
“My big thing is gay athletes who are not out right now. I just want them to know they are supported,” Maldonado insists. “Here is someone out there that is going to have their back and for them not to be scared to come out. But my story might seem negative. Obviously, negative stuff has happened to me like the yearbook incident (and) all of this stuff. In the end so much great stuff has came out of it.”
Earlier today, after receiving many good wishes and lots of support from all over the country, I received a call from the superintendent of schools. He told me that I was in the annual fifteen times, and that they may have over looked my senior basketball picture. He went on to say that they were going to make a new annual and he hoped I knew they were so proud of me. However, here is the picture that should have been in the yearbook, along with the rest of the senior basketball players! They took Outsports’ first article about my experience and swept it under the rug, as if the harassment and humiliation never happened! I refuse to let this happen again! I was a senior point guard who had played for three years, and I was even in the center of the team picture. I don’t care if I was in other parts 100 times, my individual picture wasn’t in there! I find it unbelievable that their “investigation” took less than one whole school day and once again they’re just letting it go! I will not stop fighting this. No one deserves this, and I’ll make sure no other LGBT teen in Floyd Co has to face this type of discrimination!
View the official school statement on the following page.
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