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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on February 24, 2007 6:28 PM.

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Why does it take so long?

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Equal Treatment screams the headline in the Saturday, February 24 edition of the Daily Comet. Equal treatment in this case is allowing a male student from H.L Bourgeois to bring his boyfriend to the junior prom using a couples ticket.

In the end, Terrebonne Parish School Board officials reversed the decision of Bourgeois principal Nason Authement’s initial decision not to allow the two young men to attend on a couple's ticket. All's well that end's well, but why did it take a student-led petition and public inquiry to make the right decision? Even more important, why was this even an issue to begin with?

As young children enter their teenage years, they start to develop more meaningful relationships with their peers, both of the same sex and opposite. As they progress through these years, they also begin to experiment with the concept of being committed to one person in a loving relationship. In most cases, there are going to be numerous match-ups and break-ups through the years and, in very rare cases, you can find the "love at first sight" that lasts forever.

Most schools, I think, recognize this, and in the early years all tickets to dances are for single people. This isn't to discourage dating, going-out, or whatever you want to call it, but to simply face the reality that not every child is going to have a date for these early get togethers. in fact, I think you will find, more often than note, groups that hang out together during the school day will often decide to just all meet up at the dance.

In the later high school years, the juniors and seniors will have their formal dances, or proms. Since this is a much more formal dance than what is usually held throughout the year, and because the students are older, their is an expectation that the attendees will be there as couples.

Why Bourgois High School even had separate couples and singles tickets is simply beyond my comprehension that charged a different per person rate is simply beyond my comprehension. Did it really cost the school $2.50 more for a single student to attend the prom than for a couple?

The two other high schools within Terrebonne parish have policies that simply keep this from ever being an issue. One school issues prom tickets as part of the years activities package and the other simply sells tickets for purchaser and guest.

"We sell couple’s tickets to couples in the traditional sense of the word, that has been a long-standing practice prior to my administration, far before my administration," Authement said Thursday. At no time, he said, did he intend to deprive anyone of their rights.

Authement is simply taking a cop out in his quote above. His long-standing practice was long-standing most likely because H.L. Bourgeois probably never had a gay student want to bring their boyfriend to the prom before. It has only been the last few years that gay students have felt comfortable and safe enough to be openly gay, especially in this socially conservative region.

H.L. Bourgeois High School, hopefully, has learned an important lesson this past week. Even more importantly and hopefully, the residents of Lafourche and Terrebonne parish have learned a lesson as well.


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