A group of students at Green Bay West High School are upset after learning the traditional homecoming court has been eliminated this year.
The students say they were not given a clear reason why there was no place to vote for the homecoming court when they went to purchase homecoming tickets Monday.
Last year at the school's prom, an issue was brought up about transgender students fitting into the court ballot, and some thought the fear of leaving them out may have been the reason behind this year's lack of a court.
Principal Mark Flaten says gender issues had nothing to do with the decision. He says the school's Student Council came to the decision last spring after much discussion.
"This decision had nothing to do with who was or who was not nominated for, or not getting on, what their beliefs are and so forth. It had absolutely nothing to do with that," Flaten said.
Flaten says it appeared many students were unhappy with the "pressures" many students may have felt when on court and the behaviors they were expected to carry out as part of the tradition.
Now, the idea is to focus on inclusiveness. An area will be set up at the dance with a crown and tiara, and couples can crown themselves king and queen for the night, as well as get a photo op.
Flaten admits the faculty did not go about telling the student body of the change in the best way, and a letter is going home to parents explaining the change.
It reads in part:
"This year, as in previous years, we’ve continued to work hard with our Student Council to create a welcoming, high energy, inclusive, Homecoming week. After much discussion with our Student Council last spring, the decision was made not to have a Homecoming Court this school year. This change follows suit with other changes made to Homecoming this year. Students shared that they did not find Homecoming Court to be beneficial or something that added to their Homecoming experience.
Due to the early nature of Homecoming this year, I missed a communication opportunity to share this change and apologize for my oversight. Please be assured that we will be revisiting this topic and seeking more student feedback on their preference in terms of future Homecoming activities."
The full letter is posted on the school's Facebook page.
Green Bay West High School's homecoming dance is scheduled for Saturday night. Flaten says this year's homecoming court cancelation is a trial, and may not be permanent based on student feedback.