Kokomo students organize ‘alternative prom’ in response to school rule

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KOKOMO, Ind. – A teenager in Kokomo is hoping an “alternative prom” will help those seen as outsiders feel more welcome.

Braxton Nickels is a student at Kokomo’s Twilight School, which offers an alternative route to a high school diploma. Nickels attends the Twilight school because she only has a few credits to earn before she graduates. Until a few weeks ago, Nickels thought she’d be able to attend Kokomo High School’s prom. But says she was let down when she was told she couldn’t.

“My mom called the school and they told her that all they could say was that I couldn’t go to prom.” She said.

Nickels launched a petition in the hopes of convincing the school corporation to let Twilight students attend the prom. As of Thursday, the petition garnered more than 800 signatures.

“We thought that if we got enough signs that we would be able to attend the prom. But all that happened was they told us we could now go as guests,” Nickels said.

The Kokomo School Corporation issued a statement regarding the issue which read in part:

“Twilight School requires many changes … including an understanding that traditional activities, such as sports and co-curricular activities might be limited, or unavailable, because of IHSAA guidelines or the times during which Twilight classes are conducted. Concerning requests to participate in other traditional high school activities, Twilight students are informed that these activities are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

Because she said she and her friends felt like “second class students” Braxton and crew decided to start their own “alternative prom.”

“We all just wanted to be included, we all wanted to go to the same prom and feel welcome at it.  So that’s what we did is start our own prom, so everyone could feel included and welcome at it,” she said.

Nickels says the prom will be an “open invitation” to anyone wanting to come so long as they’re a student and under 20 years old. She says that includes students of other high schools and home schooled students.

“We just want everyone to feel equal, we want everyone to have the same opportunities, everyone to be able to enjoy the same night,” she said.

Local businesses are helping to sponsor the prom and will even help attendees by covering costs of items like dresses and makeup.

“It’s going to be a great event for the students of this community,” Ty Gray, co-founder of food delivery service foodprecinct.com said.

The Kokomo School Corporation issued this statement regarding the alternative prom.

“Concerning an alternative prom, Kokomo School Corporation officials wish to remind parents and community business partners that such an activity is neither sponsored, nor endorsed, by Kokomo High School or Kokomo School Corporation. The organization of such an event is not permitted on school grounds since Kokomo School Corporation does not sponsor, nor accept responsibility, for such informal gatherings of students without school oversight. As such, Kokomo School Corporation has no official details and/or information related to this private event.”

The alternative prom is scheduled to take place on November 18. For more information, you can contact: Ty.gray@foodprecinct.com.

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