Publicly Apologize & Let Girls Take Girls To Prom
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Mercy High School is an all-girls Catholic high school in Middletown, Connecticut. Like almost all high schools, the end of their school year is punctuated by the senior prom - which is supposed to be a joyous occassion. Unfortunately (and oppressively) for the students of Mercy, they are forbidden from taking another young women as their date, regardless of sexual orientation, and that needs to change.
Although it is apparently legal for the administration of Mercy to enforce this archaic and highly discriminatory rule, in 2017 it’s beyond shameful for an educational institution to be so aggressively discriminatory. Mercy High School’s own mission statement says that the school, “inspires students to respect the dignity of others and to provide leadership and service that foster community, understanding and compassion in local and global environments. Mercy is committed to providing a challenging educational experience in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Nothing about Mercy’s prom policy comes anywhere close to understanding, compassion, or providing a safe and nurturing environment. In fact, the school’s anti-LGBTQ+ attitude and behavior perpetuates discrimination even though, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Negative attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people put these youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students. Violence can include behaviors such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors.” This at a time when, in the 21st century, people are being attacked and murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and the Vice President of the United States advocates for the torture of so-called conversion therapy.
To address this injustice a senior at Mercy took the brave step of starting a petition asking the school’s administration to allow girls to take girls to prom. In less than two days the petition was signed by close to 2,000 people. But rather than address the petition in anything resembling an appropriate manner, the student was apparently intimidated by the administration into abandoning the petition altogther. In an official update on this website the student states, “I'm sad to say that I will be discontinuing this fight due to administration strongly advising me to give up.” Since she can’t take this any further without likely facing severe repercussions it is up to us to continue the fight.
Even Francis, the Roman Catholic Pope, has stated, “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while 'every sign of unjust discrimination' is to be carefully avoided...”
It’s time for Mercy High School to set a standard based on love and acceptance and the first step is to issue a public apology to the student that took a stand for justice. That needs to be followed by an immediate reversal of their horrible policy of discrimination. The administration of Mercy has a choice: embrace their students and all other members of our society, regardless of their identity, with love and compassion, or continue with the status quo and assume a reputation for ignorance, fear, and hate. With hope, this petition will encourage them to make the right decision.
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