Staff Editorial: Park’s Prom timing error inexcusable


How can we call ourselves a “caring, diverse community” — as the district does in its mission statement — if we are an exclusive one?

By originally scheduling Prom on Ramadan, the administration isolated Muslim students and failed to act in the best interest of the entire community. Although this was a mistake and has since been corrected, it is inexcusable that it was allowed to happen in the first place.

According to Principal Scott Meyers, the dance was originally planned for May 11 at the Swedish Institute — a week into the month of Ramadan. After several students raised concerns, the administration announced last week Prom will be moved to May 4.

Although it has been rescheduled, the initial mistake is a symptom of a much larger problem within Park. This issue is not a one-time occurrence and highlights the ignorance we hold as a community toward Islam and other less common religions and cultures.

In the past, important school events have coincided with major religious holidays such as when finals fell on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot; but precedent does not have to dictate how we act today. It is ridiculous that the administration hides behind excuses, such as time constraints, in response to their mistakes. They must always make a legitimate effort to prevent, discuss and resolve problems.

Before scheduling any significant school events, administration must check if it coincides with any cultural events or holidays. If holding an event on a holiday is unavoidable, the school must seek the advice and support of external religious leaders, rather than coming up with half-baked solutions on its own.

In addition, the Editorial Board applauds those students who took the time to meet with the administration in order to raise awareness for the issue. They had to persevere through inconvenience to fight for their rights as students. Their success proves that youth voices do matter and do make a difference, and so we encourage all students to stand up for what they believe is right.

As a progressive, diverse community, we need to accommodate for that diversity. We cannot allow this to happen again. We must ensure that no group is left behind in the future.