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Homecoming Queen ditched to create ‘safe’ space for students

In an effort that some see as politically correct and silly, a Michigan high school says it is doing away with one of the most cherished traditions of homecoming–the crowning of a queen.

Chelsea High School is bidding farewell to the Homecoming Queen contest in favor of the more “democratic” Excellence Award though it will still be based, in part, on “popularity.”

The Chelsea High School (CHS) student council says the crowning of queens across the nation leads to bullying issues, Michigan Radio reports.

“We don’t want one of the biggest awards at our school to be associated with “pretty” or “popular” stereotypes or to be limited to a specific category of students,” student council president Drew Vanderspool insisted.

“Student council’s job is to make CHS a safe place for everyone, and when this award is used for bullying purposes in some cases, that really isn’t making that safe place,” student council member Maddie Dunlap similarly agreed.

Dunlap says that the practice of selecting homecoming royalty has “led to bullying and hurt feelings in the past,” as some girls were being nominated without their knowledge as a “joke.”

Now, students in any grade are eligible to win the excellence award, regardless of gender.

The new award will consider students’ academic, social and emotional attributes, said Valerie Johnson, an English teacher and a Student Council adviser.

Adam Schlit, also an English teacher and Student Council adviser, said that the new prize “helps to shift what we value.”

Schlit said that the excellence award better aligns with the school’s ethos in the wake of its #WhyYouMatter campaign, launched two years ago by art faculty after the deaths of multiple students at the school.

The student council and their advisors did not address the main fact that students still vote and it would still be who is most “popular” or who gets the most votes. Observers say “social attributes” has traditionally been one of the main qualities students used in picking previous homecoming queens. Calling it something else does not distract from reality.

The inaugural excellence award will be bestowed at the high school’s homecoming football game on Sept. 21.

The CHS student council has not yet determined whether they will continue the tradition of crowning a Winter Carnival King as well as a prom king and queen, Michigan Radio reported.

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