Policy on elections changes

Published 10:15am Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Just like that, with a few letters exchanged, an out-dated practice will be part of the past.
For years, Escambia County High School and W.S. Neal High School had used race to help determine their homecoming courts. ECHS elected both a black and a white homecoming queen each year, while W.S. Neal chose a black and white maid from each class for the court.
But after a news story last year in The Atmore Advance, the U.S. Justice Department quietly contacted the school board to remind them that such practices are not only out-of-date but against the law.
The school board readily adopted a new policy that spells out for everyone involved in the schools that race will not be used as a determining factor for any extracurricular activities.
It is a credit to our school board and to our community that the practice —which was born of a different time and simply continued because it had become a tradition — has been quickly dismissed, without a word of dissent.
We don’t even think a Justice Department inquiry would have been necessary, but it did make everything official.
In fact, when The Atmore Advance pointed out the practice last fall and asked readers what they thought, most agreed that choosing two queens was unnecessary — and downright backwards. We don’t think the practices at either school were meant as any sort of racist gesture — maybe just a misguided attempted at fairness — but they certainly made each school look stuck in the past.
It’s just a small victory in the larger battle toward not only racial equality but racial harmony, but we’re glad to see that it’s one that was achieved without any protest, without any fanfare.
Now let’s move on.

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