Students at Brainerd High School in Minnesota were disappointed to hear that their homecoming wouldn’t feature a king and queen in the name of gender inclusivity — so they’re hosting their own dance, and it’s rumored that the mayor will be in attendance.
The Brainerd principal defended the removal of her school’s homecoming court at a recent school board meeting. In that meeting, she said that eliminating the gendered positions of king and queen will create a more inclusive environment and help “challenge students to think outside the box.” Her students aren’t buying it, so they’ve organized their own event instead.
So far, the effort has raised over $4,000, a historic local venue usually used for weddings has opened their doors to the students, two car dealerships have made vehicles available for the coronation ceremony and it’s rumored that Brainard Mayor Dave Badeaux will crown the King and Queen. Also, the DJ who was originally slated to play the official event will now perform at the alternate event instead.
The finances to support the unofficial homecoming have been raised in part by a crowdfunding effort, but a private donor also kicked in $2,000, Alpha News was told.
“These kids have been through so much, why take this [a traditional homecoming] away? Let them be normal,” Adam Fjeld said to Alpha News, referencing the last year of so-called distance learning kids were subjected to during the coronavirus pandemic. Fjeld has two students at Brainerd High School, a junior and a freshman.
He said that although he and the man who owns the venue, Mike Higgins, helped kickstart the new homecoming, event planning and execution is now up to the students. “The students are dictating how the money is spent,” he reports. “It’s been amazing.”
This is not the only instance of Minnesota students taking celebratory traditions into their own hands in the face of a prohibitive school. After most schools canceled prom during the coronavirus pandemic, students and local businesses in Rochester threw their own prom. Similar proms were also held in Lakeville, Roseville and International Falls.