Washakie County school officials OK gay senior's yearbook photo

2013-01-29T23:45:00Z Washakie County school officials OK gay senior's yearbook photoBy LEAH TODD Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
January 29, 2013 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. -- Washakie County School officials said Tuesday they will allow the photo of openly gay senior Matt Jolley to be published in the Worland High School yearbook. Jolley had submitted a photo that included him holding a gay pride flag.

The decision was made after a meeting between the superintendent and local school board officials on Monday evening.

"The district has determined that the student request to have a gay pride flag in his/her senior picture will not disrupt school processes and will be allowed," Superintendent David Nicholas said in an emailed statement. "This decision was made after a review of policy and following consultation with legal counsel."

School officials initially said the photo violated the school's policy to refrain from taking a stance on political issues. They told Jolley on Friday he would have to pay for the photo as an advertisement if he wanted it in the yearbook, Jolley said.

While petitioning school administrators to allow his senior photo to be printed alongside the rest of his classmates', Jolley said he also requested Worland High School change its policy on prom ticket prices. Jolley proposed charging same-sex couples the same rate as heterosexual couples, rather than paying as two individuals at a coincidentally higher price.

Worland High School Prinicipal Randy Durr approved Jolley's same-sex couple prom ticket request Friday, according to Jolley.

Jolley said Tuesday he was en route to Cheyenne to offer testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is slated to consider a bill Wednesday morning that proposes adding the phrase "sexual orientation or gender identity" to the state's anti-discrimination laws.

He's already typed up his testimony.

"Now it's just to be there, and tell it," Jolley said.

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