WILCOX COUNTY, Ga. - Students at Wilcox County High School in south Georgia share classrooms and sports fields. But, they don't share the same prom.
One prom is for white students, and one is for students of color.
If any race other than Caucasian tries to attend the white prom, one student says "they would probably have the police come out there and escort them off the premises."
That was the case in 2012 as a biracial student was turned away by police. It's been that way for as long as anyone can remember, and it doesn't stop at prom. Homecoming is also segregated.
While still having two separate dances, the school decided to elect only one pair for king and queen for the first time this school year.
"I felt like there had to be a change because for me to be a black person and the king to be a white person, I felt like, you know why can't we come together?" Quenesha Wallace said.
Quenesha was not invited to the "white homecoming." In fact, the pair took separate pictures for the school yearbook.
So, the girls are taking matters into their own hands. They're organizing a prom for everyone to attend, but everyone is not fond of the idea.
"I actually put up posters for the integrated prom and we've had people ripping them down at the school," Quenesha said.
The group will continue to make progress even though there doesn't seem to be much motivation to change.
The senior class is raising money to pay for the integrated prom, without the help of school officials. It will be held April 27. The students say the school offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom for all students to attend but not stop segregated proms.
The school released the following statement Thursday:
WCHS is much like any other high school, where the homecoming king and queen are chosen by popular vote (and are allowed to have their picture made together, despite published reports to the contrary!). Most discipline problems relate to tardies and matters of the heart, and students see skin color through their parents' eyes.
Recently the high school has received some negative publicity for hosting segregated proms, but that is simply not true. The high school does not host a prom at all, and groups of students who host private parties have referred to the parties as their proms. The school sytem has no influence over private parties, but we are encouraged by recent events.
Earlier in this school year, a group of ladies approached the Wilcox County Board of Education and the Superintendent to discuss their plans for hosting an "integrated prom." The Board and Superintendent not only applauded the idea, but passed a resolution requesting that all activities involving WCS students be inclusive and non-discriminatory.
We support the efforts of these ladies, and we praise their efforts to bring our students together.
I am pleased to report that WCHS Principal Chad Davis has stated that his Leadership Team will place the 2014 Prom on its agenda for its next meeting.
Instead of attacking our school system, its employees, and our community, we ask for your support and prayers as we seek to right the wrongs of the past and be the adults our children look up to.
Find out more on their Facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/IntegratedProm2013.