Hispanic Prom Added at Toombs County High

Students at some schools still hold segregated proms for blacks and whites and now Hispanic students from one area school plan to hold their own prom. The prom picture has tripled at Toombs County High School in Lyons. WTOC spent the day on campus, talking to administrators and students. They say its not a big issue for them.

Members of each group say with a private party, they're able to make their own rules. But some say change could be coming.

Eleventh-grader Yuri Flores says the prom is as much a part of high school life as math and science. When she felt uncomfortable about attending either of the traditionally segregated parties for Toombs High students, she planned one of her own for Hispanic classmates. "We wanted a Hispanic prom cause it's a different taste in music and all that stuff," she told us. "That's why we wanted it more than anything else."

For years, black students and white students raised money to rent the local armory on separate nights for separate events. Since they're private, you don't see any mention of them on a school calendar. Administrators say other integrated events get complicated. "Latinos like one kind of music. Blacks like to listen to their music. Whites have their music," said Ralph Hardy, the school's principal.

Administrators say a dozen years ago, they gave students a vote to integrate the prom or keep them separate and private. They voted to keep them as they are now.

But some students are interested in change. "Black prom committee, white prom committee, Hispanic prom committee could just come together and, like, share a big petition to the board," said senior Robert Robinson.

"You hear it in conversation, like man we should just put everybody together at one prom," added classmate Micah Williams.

Yuri says she just wants to get past the politics and have a good time. The Hispanic students have rented a club in Lyons for their party. They'll hold it the first weekend in May.

Administrators say they probably will revisit the issue. But if you look at that, they don't have to deal with any details of them now because they're privately funded, and they may not want to add one more thing to what they already do now.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com