10/22/2012 12:24 EDT | Updated 12/22/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. school apologizes for homophobic yearbook slur

A B.C. man who was the victim of a homophobic slur printed in his yearbook more than four decades ago has received an in-person apology from the North Vancouver School District and his former high school today.

Robin Tomlin said he was tormented for years after the word "fag" was printed next to his picture in the Argyle Secondary School yearbook in 1970.

He tried for several years to have the school district print a replacement page for the copies in its library, but it was not until he enlisted the help of a lawyer that the school district complied and sent him an email saying they regretted the incident.

After the story was published in the media, the school district eventually agreed to Tomlin's request for the face-to-face apology, which took place at Argyle on Monday morning.

Outside the school Tomlin read out the new inscription next to his picture in his new yearbook.

"It says, 'Robin Tomlin. Meet as many people from around the world as I can. I want to be a cowboy," he said.

It was the inscription he always wanted, and now he can put behind him the slur that has bothered him his entire adult life, he said.

Tomlin also said he hopes the apology will give other victims of bullying hope.

"I hid it pretty good, but over the years, say the last 10 years, there has been so many stories of bullying coming out, it just kept bringing it back. And I just hated to see all these new victims out there, so I hope I can help."

He said some of his old high school classmates will also be throwing him a grad party later on Monday, but noted he has never received any apology from those who bullied him or printed the slur in the yearbook.

Tomlin said he was so terrified of bullies during high school that after the yearbook was published, he was too frightened to attend his prom.

The apology follows the suicide of B.C. teen Amanda Todd, who brought worldwide attention to the problem of bullying online and at schools.