A US Air Force officer was barred from escorting his younger sister to prom after school officials ruled he was too old to attend.
Twenty-two-year-old Casey Widener, brother to Courtney Widener, was also banned from walking his sibling down a red carpet at Liberal High School in Kansas. His response — which you can see in the video below — was to escort his sister to the edge of the carpet before giving a salute.
The incident triggered an unhappy response from Courtney, who wrote to her local paper, The Leader Times, to complain about the decision to ban her brother. The teenager wrote:
“Not only is my brother my hero, but he ‘is’ a hero. Not only did my brother fight for me in Afghanistan, but he fought for you in Afghanistan. So now, the young man who was too old was forced to stand alone and watch me walk into my first prom instead of escorting me there himself. The young man who has sacrificed so much for our country was unwelcome at his own alma mater.”
Courtney, whose request for her brother to escort her was turned down by both the school’s principal and the district superintendent because they feared it would “open the door for others” to bend the rules, added:
“Not only was a member of the United States military rejected by our school, but if there was a parent who wanted to escort their son or daughter, they would not be allowed in. I never thought our school would be ashamed of their own alumni, much less someone who served our country in Afghanistan.”
In a 16-paragraph response to Fox News, Liberal High School principal Keith Adams insisted that the school did not intend to dishonor anyone but were restricted by rules that must apply to all students. “Rules are not meant to ‘dishonor’ anyone,” wrote Adams. “They are in place to give order to a process.”
Referring to Casey Widener’s decision to stand alone by the red carpet, he added:
“This was something he chose to do – no one forced him, and no one prevented him. Casey Widener is an American Airman to be honored, and our school and community are proud of his service to our country. He was in no manner intentionally dishonored and kept from attending prom due to his military service. It was simply the matter of his age being too old to meet current policy.”
What do you think, readers? Should an exception have been made in this case, or should rules like this apply to everybody?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]