As a Catholic alumnus of Hickman High School, I am disappointed with the unfortunate decision to hold this year's Hickman Prom on Good Friday.
The stated reasons — the lack of adequate facilities in Columbia, the lack of open dates and the increased costs associated with other dates — do not supersede the fact that prom, as it stands now, will be held on one of the most holy and solemn days of the Christian year. This will force many families to make a difficult decision whether to attend this festive event or to recognize the solemnity of Good Friday, the day that Christians throughout the world recall the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the decision to hold prom on Good Friday makes it truly impossible for some Hickman students to attend. It is inappropriate to plan an event as important as prom on a date where a large group of students and families are made to subvert their conscience and religious beliefs and others are prevented outright from attending.
Of course, I understand very well that Hickman is a public school and it is certainly possible to make scheduling decisions without regard for the holy days of the religion of the majority of its students. I would suggest, though, that this type of administrative decision-making is irresponsible and negligent. I also understand that there are other educational options for families who hold these values and beliefs, which certainly represent a viable alternative. Private, religious schools, however, are not an option for all students. It is simply not advantageous to the Columbia Public School system, Hickman High School or families with students attending Columbia schools for administrators to make decisions or pursue policies that ignore Christian religious beliefs, values and holy days.
On behalf of the many other Christian alumni, students, parents and members of the Hickman community that do not yet know about this decision, I would respectfully like to express how inappropriate and slighting this decision is and to request that it should be changed.
Jeffrey J. Pauls lives in Belleville, Ill. He is a 1994 graduate of Hickman High School.