A Kentucky high school basketball player who came out publicly during his senior year is now accusing the school of homophobia.
Dalton Maldonado says Betsy Layne High School administrators erased his photo from the senior yearbook after a homophobic incident during a game last year.
Maldonado was humiliated and reduced to tears in December when a rival basketball team directed anti-gay slurs toward him.
As a result, Maldonado came out to the local media.
The high school graduate says he received his senior yearbook and scanned the 2-page photo tribute to the boys basketball team. He said he was devastated to see his photo missing from the team photos.
"I recently saw my senior yearbook, I flipped right to the sports basketball page only to find my senior basketball picture missing,” he wrote on Facebook.
He said school administrators downplayed the omission as a mistake.
“They just acted like it wasn’t a big deal. They didn’t apologize. That was the only thing I was asking for,” Maldonado said.
As word of the omission spread, school officials denied Maldonado's homophobia accusations.
"Yes, the individual picture for the student athlete was omitted from the school’s basketball section through error,” said Floyd County Superintendent Henry Webb in a statement. “We do acknowledge that none of these images may be as meaningful to the student athlete as his individual basketball picture and we apologize to him and his family for the error.”
Webb said Maldonado appears 15 times throughout the yearbook.
Webb ultimately placed the blame on Maldonado for not turning in a studio photo to be included in the yearbook's tribute to the team.