A year 12 boy at an elite Brisbane private school has been advised not to bring his preferred date to his year 12 formal this year – all because it is another boy.
The student from Anglican Church Grammar School – known as Churchie – has been told to “keep with school tradition” and bring a female to his Year 12 formal.
The Courier Mail reports that the headmaster, Dr Alan Campbell has said the formal which is to be held in June was a “social and educational opportunity” for boys to learn how to “mix and mingle” with “ladies”.
Not same-sex dates.
“One student has sought advice on the matter and he was advised that, in keeping with the school’s tradition and guidelines around the formal that it was the school’s recommendation and strong preference that they bring a young lady,” he said.
“Following further consideration by the school’s governing body, the school won’t oppose a student’s choice of guest … but in the end the school’s recommendation and broader guidelines, remain the same.”
It’s nothing new for this school. In 2008 there was a similar controversy when eight students were told they could not bring same-sex partners to the formal. Heterosexual students pledged to boycott the event if the gay students were not allowed to invite who they wanted, but the then headmaster kept his resolution saying “the senior dinner dance is an opportunity for our young men to escort a young woman in a formal school environment. We don’t intend to change our practice. It’s about protocols and decorum.”
In a reflection of the school’s continued outdated values Dr Campbell showed signs of his predecessor’s antiquated values saying “We want young men to learn from and interact with young ladies so these opportunities are very important in providing a well-rounded education,” but stopped short of banning the student from bringing a male date altogether.
“I think in the end, it really is a decision that a young man would make with his parents and his family.”
Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cocks told The Courier Mail that there could be a discrimination case.
“It’s an important ritual … where students often like to celebrate with their friends and their loved ones if they are in a relationship,” he said.
“Obviously there could always be a counter-argument or exception to the rule.
“But in general, I would encourage schools to be inclusive and be supportive of students at this very difficult time of their life.”
We stand firm with this student in his choice and hope that the school are gracious in allowing this young man the decision to take whoever he wishes to this important event.
What do you think of the school’s “recommendation?”