Mar 20, 2010
joined My Stranger Face
Mar 20, 2010
commented on High School in Mississippi Cancels Prom to Prevent Lesbian Student from Bringing Female Date—and Potentially Incites Violence Against Lesbian Student
I'm late to the party, but here is my letter:
Dear Ms. McNeece,
I was sorry to hear about the recent cancellation of your school's prom, and the stated reasons for it. As an educator myself, I know that real life issues of civil rights are not "distractions" from the curriculum. If anything, they enhance the curriculum by allowing students and teachers to apply critical literacy to issues that matter to them and to their lives.
Schools can claim neutrality, and can claim that the choices they make are to preserve the education of their students. However, every choice schools make sends a clear message to students about what that school values. When your school district chose to cancel prom instead of embracing a teachable moment, you communicated to students that you value ease of administration over open discourse, and that the safety of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students and their allies is of little to no importance to you. You have placed those students at risk of bullying and hate crimes from students and community members in your population.
How much time in the past week have you spent deleting messages like mine, erasing voicemails, and talking about this issue? Do you honestly think it was less time than what you would have spent allowing two young people to celebrate the end of their senior year together? Is it less time than what it would have taken to educate yourself, your students and your staff about embracing difference and supporting one another as a community of learners and a community of individuals?
Reverse your decision. Do not encourage community members to host an alternative prom that will shut people out. Make a change that communicates your dedication to the education and growth of every child, no matter whom that child loves.