School sorry it covered gay kiss photo

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007

NEWARK, N.J. – The school district said Monday it regretted ordering a picture of a male student kissing his boyfriend blacked out from all copies of a high school yearbook and said it apologized to the student.

Andre Jackson, the student, said he was disappointed that the superintendent had not delivered the apology face-to-face and in public. Because of that, he said, he didn’t accept it as sincere.

“I would accept an apology – a public apology,” said Jackson, 18.

Jackson said he learned of the apology through the media.

The district issued a statement Monday saying it regretted the decision and that it would issue an unredacted version of the yearbook to any student of East Side High School who wants one.

“The decision was based, in part, on misinformation that Mr. Jackson was not one of our students and our review simply focused on the suggestive nature of the photograph,” the district said.

Jackson said his teachers, classmates and his parents all knew he was gay and that his sexual orientation was never a problem at school.

“I’ve never had to deal with this before,” he said. “It’s shocking. It’s crazy.”

The photo was among several on a personal tribute page in the yearbook. Jackson, who paid $150 for the page, noted that the yearbook is filled with pictures of heterosexual couples kissing.


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