Parents irate after NC high school cancels prom over COVID concerns, yet football is OK

Parents irate after NC high school cancels prom over COVID concerns, yet football is OK
(Source: WLBT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Parents lambasted Mooresville High School on social media after administrators on Friday cited COVID-19 spread concerns for canceling the 2021 prom, while the football team could play.

School officials said they called off the prom “after careful thought and consideration.”

“Many options were discussed, but given the social distancing requirements and capacity limitations, a viable option is not attainable at this time,” administrators posted.

Parents and others quickly criticized the move. Nearly 150 weighed in with comments on Facebook by Saturday morning, most all of them criticizing the decision.

“Shameful,” parent Aimee DuBois Downing posted.

“So dumb!” wrote Joel Rose.

“Never been so disappointed in MHS!” Niki Bautista said.

“Unbelievable ... next will be that these kids can’t have a graduation,” Jamie Giordanengo Taylor said.

Student Lauren Wilson said she, too, was displeased.

“As a Senior who has missed her senior and junior prom now and also has a $300+ prom dress sitting in her closet I am very upset with the decision made,” she posted.

Only a few on social media appeared to agree with the decision, including Ohio resident Afshan Agha.

“Nowhere are schools required to make prom happen,” Agha posted. “If you really want to put your kids at risk at getting sick have a party in your backyard.”

He said he was struck by how most of those posting on Facebook were adults and not students.

“Look at Instagram to see what the students say,” Savanna Jennings replied.

“Kids are very upset about this ... tears every day!!” Ann Childers Wilson wrote.


Mooresville Graded School District “has been very careful that we’re following North Carolina Safe Schools Guidelines,” spokeswoman Tanae McLean told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday. “We’re supposed to stay 6 feet apart, whether indoors or outdoors.”

Staff chaperoning a prom would find it difficult keeping promgoers separated by 6 feet, she said. “That’s asking a lot of our staff,” she said.

Still, McLean said, “I understand the parents’ frustration, I do,” especially when state health officials and the state high school athletic association are letting football and other sports play on.

“That’s the frustration we’ve dealt with all year,” McLean said. “We’re all puzzled about it. ... But everybody’s doing their best, from the DHHS down, with what we have.”


Some have suggested moving the events outdoors.

“I’m sure someone on (Lake Norman) has property,” parent Tommy Hobbs of Mooresville said. “Make it just for seniors and their dates. Parent chaperones. These kids have had to put up with too much bs the last year.”

Jennifer Hager Hillman said her daughter, a sophomore, “has already missed out on so much. All of the things your Seniors have missed breaks my heart.”

She later said she’d heard from a photographer who would take the teenagers’ prom photos if parents organized one.

Hillman cited West Rowan High School, which scheduled an outdoor prom at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville.

Parents and students could sign waivers and get vaccinated, Leah Pribish Rand suggested. “It’s time to rise to the challenge!” she said.

“Senior moms let’s go,” Hillman said “Time to plan a prom!!! I’m in and ready to do it!!!”

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