In Sullivan, Indiana (pop. 4,249), there may be two kinds of prom queen this year — and both of them are pretty much the opposite of progressive. The latest options, it now appears, are for local high-schoolers to attend prom with classmates who don't approve of kissing or "grinding" your date... or stay at home while a special-ed teacher comparing gay students to the mentally disabled continues to try and throw a parent-sponsored anti-gay prom.
News broke, and spread with viral outrage, over the past few days that a group of parents at Sullivan High School and one special special-education teacher at another school both want a "straights-only" prom. It's worth noting that the school isn't actually in favor of any this, and that the controversy centers on a group of rogue parents who are apparently uncomfortable with the idea of gay students attending the annual festivities. and this is a group of rogue parents who want to throw their own special anti-gay bash. But as the local NBC affiliate reports, there's not much the school can do legally — even when the special-ed teacher, one Diana Medley, is making comparisons like this:
Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason.
And when asked if gays have a purpose in life, Medley responded:
No I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it. A gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God
Medley doesn't even teach at Sullivan High. And in the time since her comments were aired, an online petition seeking disciplinary action against Medley has gained some 8,000 signatures. Conversely, a Facebook page Sullivan's gay students at prom now has over 17,000 likes. The "traditional prom" Facebook page has since been taken offline, though Dan Savage has some choice screen grabs if you want to take a look at some hate-group porn. All of which is certified viral considering how small — if bigoted — this Indiana town really is.
Savage published a note from a person who said they were a Sullivan High Senior, which paints this microcosmic picture pretty well:
Sullivan High School is ACCEPTING the same-sex couples and the staff at SHS is for the same-sex couples going and so are the majority of student and people in the community! I absolutely hate how my town is getting called Anti-Gay Bigots because a few "Christians" are planning a separate prom! Not all of Sullivan is like that I can damn well guarantee it.
Not all grinding is created equal, of course. "As long as they aren't sitting there and kissing on the dance floor and grinding on each other, stuff like that, I don't have a problem with that," another student at Sullivan told WTHR, an Indianapolis NBC affiliate. And that ... sounds about as unappealing as the straight-only prom.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.