CHS debates prom king and queen election


Debate continues at CHS about having a prom king and queen. hannah busing/unspalsh

SARAH MISCIKOSKI, staff writer

As prom season approaches at Canton High School, conversations debate if a renewal of a king and queen election should be allowed. For this small town in Connecticut, opinions differ as a portion of students and staff are fascinated by this tradition, while others emphasize its division within the community. With the junior and senior proms scheduled for April and May respectively, there is limited time for last minute changes.

The Canton High School administration has been hesitant to proceed with a king and queen for several years due to a fear that the competition will make for an uncomfortable social environment. Victoria Rich, teacher and resident of Canton, expressed her involvement in the decision along with Ruth Kidwell, the assistant principal of CHS. Mrs. Rich fears that students’ identities would not be represented if the school were to follow through with the election.

“It’s gender. What if people identify differently?” Mrs. Rich said as she brought up her concern with the possibility of discriination. Mrs. Rich mentions that the dynamic between a king and queen specifically is to blame.

While student Emily Cote, 16 year old junior, is in agreement with the prediction of discrimination, she is in favor of a king and queen being reinstated. Unlike Mrs. Rich, Ms. Cote is upset at the lack of an election. “It’s a fun tradition” for most schools around Canton,” Ms. Cote said. 

 After having discussions with other students, Ms. Cote recalls stories about their prom experiences, comparing them to movies she would watch growing up. “I don’t think it will hurt anyone [to have a king and queen] that badly,” Ms. Cote said. Taking that into consideration, she believes not many students will be irritated after the results of the election for king and queen have been announced. Ms. Cote has confidence that people will remain high-spirited due to their appreciation for the election itself.

As society adapts, and topics including identity and sexuality are becoming more familiar to the world, events such as prom have been altered to adhere to being more inclusive. For some schools, switching to labels and props that refrain from suggesting a specific gender, has allowed for students of any identity to feel acknowledged.

Brain Jones, teacher and adviser of Canton High schools LGBTQ Alliance Club, feels strongly about this community’s growth. “I think that it is always a good idea to reflect on long standing traditions, and examine them closely to see if they truly fit our needs/values anymore,” Mr. Jones said.  He talked about how effective new traditions would be, if they helped represent today’s aspirations, instead of sustaining past perspectives.

Mr. Jones is not alone in enforcing an adaptable school environment, as Mrs. Rich sugested ideas for a new version of a prom election. “Make it yearbook themed. Best smile. Best outfit. Best hair. Instead of making it about gender,” Mrs. Rich said. By generalizing the categories, Mrs. Rich hopes it would ensure a more universal outcome.

Currently there are no official plans to incorporate a prom king and queen in the future. While students and staff are able to convey their opinions, the decision is ultimately made by the administration.

Although prom comes off as an event purely created for entertainment, controversial decisions lie within its production. “There seems to be a lot more that goes into creating this thing than I originally thought,” Ms. Cote said.