36 years ago the Courts ruled in Fricke v. Lynch, that students must be allowed to go to prom with the date of their choice, regardless of sex.
Yet, many Alabama High School’s are still decades behind…
Equality Wiregrass was contacted today and spoke to several students from Cottonwood High School. We were told that during a discussion about fundraisers and prom tickets in class Wednesday, a female student was said to have asked her teacher;
“I’m not going to have a date; So, can I bring my friend and she and I go to the prom together?”, We were informed the teacher said, “No, that’s informal, you can’t do that.” The same student then asked “why?”
The teacher again asserted her belief that it would be “informal” and that the prom is a “traditional prom.” The students went on to ask if interracial couples would be allowed, and asserted that could be viewed by some as “non-traditional” It was at this point the assistant principal was called.
Mr. Strange came into room and called 3 boys into the hall. One of the students stated Mr. Strange told them,
“same-sex people can’t come to the prom together.” the student asked. “What would you do if two same sex students purchased their tickets separately and then came to the prom together and began to slow dance?” The student alleges Mr. Strange responded, “more than likely, I would break them up.”
The Juniors also reported that Mr. Strange told them a story about a lesbian couple who wanted to come to prom together a few years ago. One of them wanted to wear a tuxedo but were said to have been told they would have to come in a dress, it would be “immoral” and “non- traditional” for a girl to wear a Tuxedo.
After their talk with Mr. Strange the students returned immediately to class and announced; “Mr. Strange is cancelling prom because of gay couples and is going to cover it up with something else.” This is said to have prompted Mr. Strange to re-enter the room and inquire. The student was said to have repeated the statement and assertted “We have you on video saying it.” The students claims Mr. Strange then said
“there is no audio on the video and it can’t be proven”.
Today, I contacted the Assistant Principal of Cottonwood High School who was said to have made these statements to the students. I asked him if there were any rules banning same sex couples from attending the prom? He quickly told me “it was not his decision to make and I would need to contact the Houston County Board of Education”.
I did just that.
It seems Mr. Strange must have been ill informed? This afternoon I sat down with Rhonda Lassiter, Personnel Director for Houston County Schools. She informed me that ” There is no specific regulation banning same sex couples from attending Prom, all of the normal rules and restrictions would apply” , such as age and enrollment status. She went on to say she would contact the school to make sure they are aware of the current policies.