by Evan Stambaugh
A Minnesota high school has scrapped its traditional “gender-dependent” method of choosing homecoming “royalty.”
White Bear Lake Area High School no longer crowns a “king” and “queen” as part of its annual homecoming celebration, which took place last week. The school’s homecoming committee, with the backing of school administrators, adopted the “language of a royalty court” where the winners are selected “regardless of gender identity.”
In an email responding to a concerned parent, school principal Don Bosch said the change stems from the “traumatic misgendering of a student during last year’s Homecoming coronation preparations.”
“This year’s Homecoming committee and staff advisors committed themselves to greater inclusivity while also protecting the core of a rich, beloved high school tradition,” Bosch wrote. “Along with the School District’s Administrative Guidelines for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Student Rights and Protections, the committee decided as a district community that decisions should not be made based on gender.”
Those guidelines state students are allowed to use restrooms, locker rooms, and play on sports teams in a “manner that corresponds with their gender identity.”
“A student has the right to request that the student be referred to by a name and pronouns that correspond to the student’s gender identity by all school staff and fellow students,” the guidelines state.
Bosch told Alpha News that many other school districts in the state are moving away from the traditional homecoming court.
The high school was at the center of a “hate hoax” controversy in 2021 after a black female student was determined to have sent messages with racial slurs at members of the Black Excellence Club using a fake Instagram account.
The messages touched off walkouts, protest marches, and an FBI investigation, but the perpetrator was not charged despite lying to investigators.
Earlier this year another student criticized the White Bear Lake district for keeping its mask mandate in place until February.
“For over 400 days we were forced to wear masks to school, yelled at in the hallways, told we were going to harm others for not wearing them, and harassed by other students for not putting them over our noses,” Avery Severson said during a school board meeting. “Your policy was that two-year-olds needed to wear these masks.”
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “High School Homecoming Court” by Ron Cogswell. CC BY 2.0.