Kathryn Lindsay
May 31, 2016 10:24 am
Paramount Pictures

For decades, prom has been exactly the same. There’s the dresses, the dancing, and of course, the prom king and queen. But one high school in Andover, Massachusetts has said, “No more.” According to the Eagle Tribune, Andover High School’s junior prom, held on May 14th, didn’t elect a king and queen. Instead, the students voted two people to “prom court” as a part of their mission towards gender neutrality.

This decision is based on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s “Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment,” which writes that “as a general matter, schools should evaluate all gender-based policies, rules, and practices and maintain only those that have a clear and sound pedagogical (educational) purpose.”

Since having a prom king and a king queen does not serve an an educational purpose, the school made some changes. So on the special night, two male students were welcomed to the court after students voted based on a list of 10 names.

This isn’t the only change the school has made in an effort to be more inclusive.

“We’re in the process of developing gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the district, but have one gender-neutral bathroom at the high school right now,” explained Superintendent Sheldon Berman. “Principal Phil Conrad is working on transitioning two or three more so that we would have up to four gender-neutral bathrooms at the high school.”

Of course, this prom decision came with some controversy.

“They’re not getting the whole perspective of the 450 plus kids in our grade, which is concerning to me because it wasn’t a reflection of what the junior class wanted,” Junior Jules Teichert said during a committee meeting last week. “We’ve been somewhat of a guinea pig class and have had a lot of changes happen to our grade. I feel like this should really be a student decision rather than all of a sudden just going ahead with it.”

However, this doesn’t mean students are against the change. Caitlin Mitchell, an English teacher and the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance advisor, told the newspaper they have only received positive or neutral reactions to the new prom court—which proves how ready our generation is to make the world a safer and more inclusive place.

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