Oh prom night. The event Hollywood oversells as the zenith of your teenage years. Unless you’re in a coma, there’s no excuse to miss it.
It’s supposedly the magical pinnacle of high school where girls become women. The dress has to fit. The shoes need to be just right. Plus, that limo driver better be smokin’ hot or funny.
I mean, girls drop hundreds and even thousands of dollars to make prom the Best. Night. Ever. Forget the dress, I’m talking about the radical makeover girls undergo without the help of a fairy godmother. Okay, maybe mom or dad’s wallet. You get the drift.
So, there’s a reason why the girls of Mercy High School want a say in who they can and cannot bring to prom. The date MAKES or BREAKS prom.
FOX 61 reports that the all-girls catholic high school is under pressure to throw out its old prom guidelines because of their restrictions. Under the current rules, girls can only bring a member of the opposite gender to the dance.
The girls of Mercy High say there’s no valid explanation that can support upholding such an antiquated restriction.
A senior named Allison launched an online petition, calling for the Sisters of Mercy to have a change of heart.
“I’m aware I attend a private, Catholic school, and not all the laws for public schools apply to us, however, it seems unfair to limit LGBT+ student’s activities and not treat them with the acceptance that public schools show them.
In my opinion, Catholics should strive to be like Jesus and accept all of God’s children with the same love and compassion they would show to their own children, and all students should be allowed to bring whoever they want to Prom.“
It seems the school administration didn’t approve of the petition and had Allison shut it down. It was 600 signatures shy of reaching its 2,500 goal.
But the issue refused to die. Someone unaffiliated with the school launched another one, which has already garnered 1,000 signatures.
Despite that, Sister Mary McCarthy, President of Mercy High School, refuses to budge. She released a statement that read:
“Mercy’s practice relative to prom attendance has been, and continues to be, that Mercy students are permitted to attend alone or in the company of a friend or friends of their choosing. […] In this tradition, the expectation has been that a Mercy student’s date be male. These limitations are premised both in preserving the spirit of the prom as a safe and enjoyable experience for the students of Mercy, as well as recognizing and adhering to the teachings of the Church.”
Look, I am a graduate of Mercy High (class of 2006) and I see both sides to the argument.
First, it’s a lot of money to attend so it is a privilege to wear the uniform. Maintaining the school’s integrity should be a student’s priority. To some, this petition is shining a negative light on Mercy on a national scale. Numerous people are embarrassed and I can see why. I’m also troubled by the sheer amount of consternation this story has caused.
Second, a private school offers less restrictions than a public school, such as the absence of rigorous standardized testing. Teachers get to enjoy a little more freedom, which has a spillover effect onto the classroom. Smaller class sizes and a focus on spirituality are big selling points to parents. Some students have attended Catholic institutions all their life because of this.
And let’s not forget some parents are angry that public institutions are becoming so “radicalized” in terms of “making everyone happy.” They want their child to attend a school that focuses more on education and less on safe spaces and political correctness.
Lastly, people on Facebook are denouncing the petition because the students are attending a private institution. If they don’t like the rules, they should leave. They believe it’s the school’s right to abide by its own rules.
However, the other side argues that if Mercy is truly an institution that focuses on acceptance and tolerance, this rule refutes that. Others are saying that Mercy has always been a progressive and forward-thinking institution, so it’s time to be a leader once again.
A majority of millennials and the younger generation now support LGBT rights. Even the Pope is calling for the Church to respect and embrace the LGBT community. It’s evidence that a cultural shift is imminent.
So, to them, Mercy has a lot of soul-searching to do to figure out where their priorities lie.
But who wins in an argument like this? Personally, no matter which side prevails in the end, a lot of people are going to be unhappy. The big question is: will it be the administrators or will it be the students?