Illinois high school promposal goes viral, some classmates call it racist 

Two students at the school, which is only 2% Black, referenced "picking cotton" in a sign made to solicit a date to the prom.

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A promposal at Central High School in Illinois has gone viral because of what many have described as its racist overtones. 

According to ABC7 Chicago, the video shows two teenagers holding a sign that reads, “If I was Black, I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white, so I’m picking you. Prom?” 

Some students at the school, which is located in Kane County, about 50 miles east of Chicago, have called the promposal racist, while others said it was just a joke. 

“The derogatory, racist remarks in the post do not reflect Central 301’s values or our standards of appropriate and acceptable student conduct,” Superintendent Todd E. Stirn said in a statement. (Adobe Stock Image)

The school is only 2% Black. The local report spoke to a Black student, senior Kayla Haynes, who said, “I think the student should face some type of repercussion, whether it is suspending or expelling them, for sure not letting them go to prom.” 

She added, “I was not surprised but I was disappointed more of just seeing the kids I grew up with, seeing a different side of them.” 

The head of School District 301, which includes Central High, addressed the incident in a news release. “The derogatory, racist remarks in the post do not reflect Central 301’s values or our standards of appropriate and acceptable student conduct,” Superintendent Todd E. Stirn said in a statement. “Actions that go against our values of inclusion and respect have no place in our schools or our school-sponsored activities.”

Another student, sophomore Ashli Bonds, said that racism is an ongoing issue at the school. 

The prom at Central High School is set for this Friday. It is unclear whether the two students who held the sign will be allowed to attend. School officials would not comment on any possible disciplinary action. 

Students at a high school in Minnesota held a sign with the same wording for a promposal in 2021. That incident occurred in the Big Lake School District according to KARE 11.

In 2019, students in Southern California faced “severe consequences,” according to school officials, for a promposal where one held a sign that said, “you are racist but I would give anything for you to go with me to prom.” An NBC report about the incident noted that certain letters in the name of one of the students and in the sentence were capitalized and boldfaced to spell out the N-word. 

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