More than 800 people have signed an online petition opposing proposed changes to how students at a high school in northeastern Oklahoma select their homecoming court.
Claremore High School football players now make up the male half of the court. They nominate, then elect female court members and the queen.
“The high school would like to build on an already great tradition of homecoming in Claremore by increasing the level of student involvement by including all students in the selection and voting process of homecoming king and queen,” said Principal Kerri Garroutte.
The proposed change would allow all student organizations to nominate students for homecoming royalty, and then the student body at large would elect a king and queen from those nominated.
“This idea has been presented and/or discussed by students and stakeholders for at least the last nine years,” Garroutte said. “Students wanted to get more of their peers involved in the homecoming process to increase overall student involvement at CHS and increase school spirit.”
Garroutte said student involvement is an indicator of high academic achievement.
Homecoming traditions like the parade, alumni luncheon; high school pep assembly; elementary school tours with the football team, band, cheerleaders, dance team, and homecoming court, coronation ceremony, and many reunion festivities will remain unchanged.
The petition suggests homecoming is already inclusive because students outside of football have an opportunity to build floats, decorate doors and participate in the parade.
One of the 862 people to sign the petition left a comment with their signature that read, “It is the football homecoming. Every other organization has their own selection traditions. As an alum, leave it alone.”
Garroutte agreed that building a float and participating in the parade was a valuable contribution to the overall homecoming experience. However, “getting elected to homecoming court recognizes and honors a student as a leader.”
The consideration to change the homecoming court decision process has so far included the board of education, community members, teachers and students. After making a determination of what is best for students, the CHS administration will make a recommendation to the board of education, which will make the final decision.
“Opening homecoming to include all students will provide a stronger, more genuine connection for more students, and connected students are more likely to attend homecoming events in the future,” Garroutte said. “It is very important for all our students to know they have a voice and are a part of our zebra family.”