LEXINGTON, Mass. – Lexington, Massachusetts may have played host to one of the first battles of the American revolution, but 240 years later, “American pride” is considered offensive to the school system.
Students on the dance committee at Lexington High School voted for “American Pride” to be the theme of this year’s prom, which was scheduled to be held April 10.
But administrators overruled that decision, saying it “excludes” other nationalities and canceled the dance.
Students swiftly and roundly criticized the move.
“People consider America to be a melting pot, so the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about,” student Sneha Rao tells 7 News.
“It’s a little ridiculous,” student Ethan Embry says. “In my opinion, (it’s) a lot of hypersensitivity to being politically correct.”
Administrators at Lexington Public Schools – whose motto is “The Historic Past Meets the Progressive Future” – defended the decision.
“Given the diverse demography of our community it was suggested by the advisers that the students come maybe national pride theme so they could represent their individual nationalities,” Assistant Superintendent Carol Pilarski says.
She added the “American Pride” theme would not be “inclusive.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “white” students comprise about 83 percent of the student population.
Asians make up the next largest category at 14 percent. Hispanics account for 2 percent while blacks are about 1.2 percent.
“You don’t think it’s one of those ideas that might be too politically correct or trying to please all the people all the time?” Pilarski was asked.
“I don’t believe that’s the case, no,” she answered.
The high school was ranked 19th best in the country in 2014, according to Newsweek magazine.
Administrators now say the dance theme will be “National Pride” and students can wear red, white and blue “if they want to.” It will be held in late April.
Earlier this month, students at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in New Mexico voted to have a “communism” theme at their prom.
“I would hope Cottonwood would realize the seriousness of having a very powerful and destructive idea as the theme for a prom,” one Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School student says, criticizing the idea.
Another student at the New Mexico charter school tells KRQE, “While the seniors meant no harm in their choice of theme, it is not appropriate.”
“Our students are in the International Baccalaureate program, so they are very academically focused,” Sam Obenshain, executive director at Cottonwood says of the decision. “One of the classes they enjoy the most is a world history class.”