Recently, several parents at a High School in Sullivan, Indiana decided that they wanted an exclusionary, “traditional” prom, and got loads of press coverage (yay! They paid attention to us) albeit overwhelmingly negative. Oh, and by “traditional” they of course mean no same-sex couples will be allowed. No doubt this traditional prom will not feature any pre-marital sex, shell fish, will ban all people with tattoos, and the women will only be allowed if a proper dowry is paid to the fathers. But I have a feeling that they just mean not allowing a certain segment of the population in.
To the credit of the school administrators and a good number of students, they’ve pretty much said that these people can throw whatever dance they want to put on and label it how they’d like, but ultimately the Sullivan High School Prom was going to take at Sullivan High School, and no student would be excluded. The one “teacher” that made a comment on it apparently isn’t really a teacher, so once again it looks like some people wanted some publicity, got it, and are now free to do what they’d like.
Personally, I don’t have a problem if someone is gay. However, it’s also none of my business who anyone chooses to love, except in the future if I have a daughter, at which time no person, man nor woman, will be good enough for my baby. But that’s still waaayyy off. No, today’s post isn’t really about the issue of how two people feel about each other. There is a much deeper, much more disturbing problem at play here.
The real problem is that this is not the first time that someone has chosen to throw a “traditional” exclusionary prom. And, you see, when I say “someone” I mean, “parents” and that just makes it all the sadder. High School is hard. It’s harder if you realize you’re gay. It’s even harder when you have parents – supposedly the adults in the situation – telling their kids that it’s ok to bully and exclude some kids. Basically all the lessons they never learned from Animal Farm. I don’t understand how you can claim to be an adult and still do that to another human being.
The other high profile case that was just a few years ago was a young woman that wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom, she couldn’t, then the school canceled the prom. Then they were super-adult about it, and proceeded to throw a “secret prom” that excluded this young woman… and a few other students that they deemed “undesirable.” These other students weren’t gay. They just decided they didn’t want them at the prom with their kids.
So I have to ask… what kind of adults do this to another human being? Kids in high school are at an awkward time in their lives. They’re not quite adults, but they’re expected to act like adults. They’re expected to start their journey that will affect the rest of their lives… i.e, College, not college, where will they go, can they get in, etc. They get to face all types of pressure. They get to deal with the fact that some kids are immature. Some don’t have a home life that’s great. Some do. You know what the last thing they need is? Some parent, some adult coming at them because the still want to play the “mean girl” or “cool jock” and intimidate them. The general rule is that if you have a kid in high school, you’re too old to pull any of this off.
Seeing this story made me mad. It made me so mad, actually, that this isn’t the first post I’ve written about this. Yeah, I just sort of didn’t publish them because they contained a lot stronger language and brief nudity, and I like to think of Bad Shakespeare as a family friendly blog. (Well… family friendly-ish. I mean, I do allow those undesirables to look at my blog. WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!) But it made me bad and a lot of my ranting came from a visceral place that didn’t want to let these parents off easy. Make no mistake, if you’re trying to segregate a prom and exclude people that don’t fit into your view of what will make the night “wonderful” for your kids that could probably care less and just want to hang out with their friends, then you are a horrible person. These are high school kids. You are an “adult.” Perhaps you take a minute to act like one.
Hmm… I guess I can get a little harsh today.
Humanity has found ways to exclude people since Oog first noticed that Ugh’s hair was blonde, and he was obviously kissed by the Sun god, and thus he was not allowed in the Celebration of the Night. I understand that we just keep finding new and different ways to do it. But I just can’t find a way to justify or think about what is going through a parent’s mind as they exclude kids because they feel that something is wrong. I really can’t. It's bullying. Plain and simple.
Congrats to the Sullivan High School staff for coming out and basically treating this as a non-issue, and shame on the parents that wish to act like the mean kids and further bully kids that really don’t need it. I promise you, they’ve already gotten enough of it. You don’t need to help.