New gender-neutral Homecoming Court

New gender-neutral nominations process implemented for Homecoming Court


Emily Kruse

At the Ballot — Casting a ballot, art teacher Wendy Vertacnik participates the nomination process for Homecoming Court. Among the changes this year, teachers could make nominations.

By Anahita Hurt and Izzy Hedges

This year, Lawrence High is dropping the gender-specific homecoming titles of king and queen, instead referring to “homecoming royalty.”

Previously, nominations were defined by the male and female specific titles, leaving out non-binary students.

“I think it’s really good,” student body vice president Vera Petrovic said. “I think it’s fairly progressive and moving in the kind of direction that a lot of schools are going and that we want our school to go. I think it’s important because it promotes an inclusive environment at LHS and makes it a safe space for everybody.”

The change was discussed by assistant principal Mark Preut and Student Council sponsor Keri Lauxman last year. It was further considered this summer and announced by administrators at the first StuCo meeting in August.

“I think that it’s definitely a good change, because it makes everyone in the student body feel more included,” student body president Graham Edmonds said. “Before, by putting gender labels on it, not everyone felt like they were included.”
Capes and crowns will all be identical, and teachers were allowed to make nominations.

“There was conversation over the last couple of years in working with students that there was an expression that those gender-specific titles felt exclusionary,” Preut said. “With conversation with students, with conversations with StuCo, we started looking at that all of last year and took those gender-specific roles out.”

The change is happening in an attempt to be inclusive of all students, as Preut was approached by many who said they felt that the gender specific titles were exclusionary.

“There was conversation about it at the advisory board, not about Lawrence High specifically, but about how do we take specific gender roles out of activities and school events,” Preut said. “I know that I’ve had conversations with administration about how we’re doing it and about the process. I know they’re reviewing it. They’re looking at it.”
Within the next few years, this change and many like it could become district-wide policy.

“Basically what’s going to happen is it’s just going to be royalty,” Edmonds said. “We’re not going to have kings and queens. The crowns and the capes are all going to be the same. It’s all going to be identical.”

Although the change has garnered support from many in the student body, not all agree. Some students said the change was unnecessary.

“When I first heard about it, it kind of shocked me that they would actually do something like that,” senior Kristian Russell said. “I mean I personally don’t agree with it, but it’s going to happen either way. I believe in our Lawrence High tradition, and I think that it was just fine the way it was before.”