Rogers High School LGBTQ + community seeks inclusion in directory

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – At Rogers High School, two directory committee members said the LGBTQ + community was struggling to get a column in the 2020-2021 publication.

Two students who spoke with KNWA / Fox 24 said the two-page broadcast was meant to raise awareness.

“Also, [it should] just give them a platform [to] express themselves in a way that never allowed them to speak for themselves, ”said Betty Gower, committee member.

The other students Grace Henley and Gower pointed out to principal Lewis Villines, who they said felt it did not belong in the yearbook.

“He said it wasn’t an event so it didn’t belong in the directory, but I’ve been doing this for two years and we don’t just cover events,” said Henley.

In a statement from Villines, he said the directors concern was that two pages of content with an LGBTQ + theme was more of an op-ed rather than a column of the year.

Henley said during a meeting on the LGBTQ + Pages, she asked Villines to explain her thought process behind the decision.

“Now I want to understand why the reason is no, and when he couldn’t tell me he said to me, ‘Do you know how much authority I have to get you into trouble? “Said Henley.

A member of the LGBTQ + community at Rogers High School spoke to KNWA / Fox 24 about what he thinks about the pages left out in the phone book.

“It would be heartbreaking because they knew there was a chance something like this would happen, but it was done by a faculty member at the school,” said Uriel Rodriguez, the senior student.

Villines said discussions on the pages are ongoing and he acknowledges the LGBTQ + club is part of the school and the yearbook. Like all student clubs, its presence in the directory is not in question, he said.

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