Pageant canceled flyer sent to Indian Land Elementary parents - | WBTV Charlotte

Beauty pageant canceled after flyer sent home to elementary school parents

A controversial beauty pageant has been canceled after angry parents contacted a South Carolina elementary school to file their complaints.

The trouble broke out after a flyer was sent home with students at Indian Land Elementary School about a beauty pageant with the school's name.

The flyer stated that contestants would be judged on "facial beauty, personality, and overall appeal."

"We are looking for a beautiful child with a sparkling personality," the flyer stated.

Awards were planned to be given for "Most Beautiful", "Best Eyes", "Best Hair", and "Best Dressed."

"We try really hard to teach our children to look beyond the exterior and look at the inner beauty - a person's true self-worth is in their soul and in their heart, how they interact, and in their behavior," said parent David Dodson.

Dodson said he was appalled when he saw the flyer for the Indian Land Elementary Warrior School Pageant.

"Outward appeal is never something you want to judge people on. And the fact that the school would be condoning a competition designed to judge people and segregate people on their outward appearance just isn't right."

But Lancaster County School District says it never signed off on the October 20th pageant and had no ties to the event.

The pageant was to take place at a church in nearby Fort Mill.

"This is not "Honey Boo Boo Child". This is not "Toddlers and Tiaras". This is an opportunity for the children to come up, shine, and be themselves on stage," said pageant organizer Tracy Hyland.

Hyland helped organize the now canceled event.  She's been involved in pageants with her daughter for more than 20 years and is a national certified pageant judge.
"The intent of the pageant was to act as a fundraiser to buy a piece of playground equipment in honor of the late Blair Blacknell, son of the vice principal of the school," Hyland said. "It was going to be a surprise for her."

Parents say they were worried about children being judged at such a young age.

"As a parent - watching my child go across the stage - it's wonderful," Hyland argued. "Let's think about the other activities children do - football, dance, soccer, swimming, ice-skating - all of those things are judged."

The Lancaster County School District says it did not organize or sponsor the pageant. 

However, the event organizers say they received approval from the principal to use the school's name. 

A petition posted on had more than 135 signatures by Friday evening.

The pageant has since been canceled.

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