Jocelyn Connell, CBS Atlanta, April 26, 2013
It may be 2013, but students at a Georgia high school made national headlines Saturday night by holding their first-ever integrated prom. However, a CBS Atlanta News investigation revealed segregation is still very much alive in the school system, despite the new developments.
Wilcox County High School is located three hours south of Atlanta. For decades, parents have funded and organized prom, not the school system. They’ve hosted a “white” prom and a prom for everybody else. Because it’s a private event, no laws are broken.
However, this year, a group of students, two white girls and two black girls, became frustrated with the tradition and worked together to organize an integrated prom.
Despite the students holding a prom designed to include everybody, CBS Atlanta News discovered the “white” prom still took place. It was held in Fitzgerald, Georgia, on April 20. No one confirmed it was a “white-only” event, but dozens of Caucasian kids, dressed in prom gowns and tuxes, attended. CBS Atlanta News never saw anyone of color the entire night.
CBS Atlanta News asked Deal about the segregated proms, he said, “I believe anything associated with a school should not have the distinction based on race or gender or any other separation. However, when pressed, he said, “Some of these are just local issues and private issues and not something state government needs to have its finger involved in.”
Wilcox County school administrators said they plan to discuss the possibility of hosting a school-sponsored prom in 2014, which would be integrated.