• Mercy High students say the ban is "archaic" and "discriminatory". (Facebook)Source: Facebook
The school's president says girls may only bring a male date to their end of year prom to preserve the "safe and enjoyable experience" and to adhere to the teachings of the church.
Michaela Morgan

15 Mar 2017 - 10:13 AM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2017 - 10:13 AM

Students at an all-girls high school in Middletown, Connecticut are demanding their school publicly apologise for banning girls from bringing a same-sex date to their end of year prom.

Mercy High School students have started a Change.org petition, calling the ban “shameful”.

“Although it is apparently legal for the administration of Mercy to enforce this archaic and highly discriminatory rule, in 2017 it’s beyond shameful for an educational institution to be so aggressively discriminatory,” the petition reads.

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Students against the ban have quoted the school’s mission statement that preaches a message of respect, understanding and compassion.

“Nothing about Mercy’s prom policy comes anywhere close to understanding, compassion, or providing a safe and nurturing environment,” the petition continues.

“In fact, the school’s anti-LGBTQ+ attitude and behavior perpetuates discrimination even though, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Negative attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people put these youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students.”

The school’s president, Sister Mary McCarthy has released a statement this week, reaffirming the original decision.

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“As LBGT issues continue to be the subject of discussion and debate within the Catholic church and society at large, so too are they matters of consideration for Mercy High School… the expectation has been that a Mercy student’s date be male.

“These limitations are premised both in preserving the spirit of the prom as a safe and enjoyable experience for the students of Mercy, as well as recognising and adhering to the teachings of the Church.”

The petition currently has over 1400 supporters, just shy of its goal of 1500 signatures.