A high school student in Wyoming has started an online petition after school officials did not allow him to pose with the gay pride rainbow flag for his senior portrait.
Matt Jolley, a senior at Worland High School in Washakie County is openly gay. The 18-year-old aspiring photographer got his mother to shoot a photo of himself holding the rainbow flag. But when he submitted the photo for the yearbook the school’s principal, Randy Durr, told Jolley that displaying the flag “would be too much of a political statement,” Jolley said.
The only option, the principal said, would be to pay and take out an advertisement on the yearbook to place the photo. Discontent with the principal’s response, Jolley is appealing to the public to try to gain momentum and pressure the school to allow him to use the rainbow flag.
He started a petition on Change.org, urging people to tell the school to allow Jolley to use the portrait he likes best in the school yearbook.
“It's not uncommon for students to take senior photos with props that symbolize who they are and what they care about. Athletes can wear their uniforms. Band members can hold their band instruments. So why can't an openly gay senior hold a rainbow flag?” Jolley writes in the petition.
As of publication, 4,278 people have signed the petition. He needs to reach a goal of 5,000 supporters before the petition is sent to school officials.
“I'm a WHS graduate and I would be ashamed to see my hometown school district violate the rights of any student,” wrote Jamie Wolf, one of the supporters of the petition, under the “reasons for signing” section.
“This picture is tasteful and proud and there is absolutely no reason for it not to be allowed in the yearbook. I commend the student for standing up for himself, and the school district should be proud of their student, too.”
SFGN will continue to follow the progress of this story.