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High school publishes anti-transgender hate speech in yearbook

High school graduates with mortarboards
Photo: Shutterstock

A high school is apologizing after it published an anti-transgender message in its yearbook.

Highland High School in Salt Lake City sent out its 2019-2020 yearbooks last Friday, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the senior quotes wasn’t very positive.

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The senior quote was: “There are only two genders and a lot of mental illness.”

Recent graduate Naomi Hill posted a picture of the quote to Facebook, and it was shared on the social media platform.

“This is a clear attack towards the trans community at Highland,” she wrote. “As a member of the the LQBTQ+, this was extremely offensive to me and many of the students at my school. I demand action to be taken against the student and the administrator that made it so hate speech could go into our 2020 year book.”

Hill noted in the post that got over 60,000 comments that senior quotes were submitted “before COVID started,” which means that the administration had months to review them before the yearbooks were sent out.

I’m not usually one to post. But I can’t help but post about this. I am a student at highland high school going into my…

Posted by Naomi Hill on Friday, July 31, 2020

Now the school district has confirmed the quotation and apologized, calling it “hate speech.”

“Unfortunately, one of the senior quotes in the yearbook included hate speech,” the Salt Lake City School District said in a statement on Saturday. “Even more unfortunately, this quote was published in spite of the editing protocol in place for the yearbook.”

Interim Superintendent Larry Madden said that the quotation was “abhorrent.”

“We are committed to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students, including our LGBTQIA+ community,” he said. “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.”

The district said that it’s investigating the incident.

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