A group of high school students in Wilcox County High School, GA., are taking a stand against their school's practice of holding racially-segregated proms by organizing the first-ever integrated prom in the school's history.
Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace, and Keela Bloodworth are lifelong friends, who say they do everything together. Stephanie and Keela are white; Mareshia and Quanesha are black, which means that they would not have been able to attend prom together, they told WSAV
"We are all friends," Stephanie told WSAV. "That's just kind of not right that we can't go to prom together."
The school holds separate proms for white and non-white students. Homecoming is also normally segregated, with separate courts for each race.
If a student attempted to cross the segregation divide "They would probably have the police come out there and escort them off the premises," said Keela.
Mail Online reports that the school has not broken any civil rights laws because it doesn't actually sponsor the segregated prom dances - or any prom dance, for that matter. Instead, parents and students are responsible for organizing and funding the private events.
The Wilcox County schools website does not list a prom in its calendar of events, nor is the controversy referenced in their "School News" section.
In the video above, the students report that there has been opposition to their plans. Keela says "I put up posters for the "Integrated Prom" and we've had people ripping them down at the school."
Quanesha describes the reactions that she has met with in response to the integrated prom: "We need to stick with the tradition. This is a traditional thing we don't need to change and stuff like that, but why? No one can answer my question."
Rochelle City Councilman Wayne McGuinty told Fox 24 that the Wilcox County High School's segregated prom is not an accurate representation of his community.
"I think it's more of the personal opinions of those involved," said McGuinty. "I don't think there is an effort made to keep black kids out of the white prom and to keep white kids out of the black prom."
WSAV reports that there will still be two proms this year. The students said that when they pushed for one prom, the school offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom that would allow all students to attend but not stop segregated proms.