CHIPLEY - Changes are coming to the homecoming ceremony at one local high school.
Chipley High School Principal Kyle Newsom said the ceremony will go back to how it was traditionally - when there was no homecoming king and the competition for queen was open to the general senior student body.
"Football players are the only ones allowed to be king and the only ones allowed to choose who can take part in the court," Newsom said. But "I don't think it should be in the hands of a few football players."
"It's not fair to the girls that would like to take part, if they're not the most popular that the football players chose," he said.
Amanda Kay Cloud has some concerns that it may turn out to be reverse sexist. Her son Gaberiel Cloud, a junior on varsity at CHS, relayed the changes to her after Newsom revealed them to the team.
"I spoke to a few players who said that being able to walk the ladies at homecoming is like an honor to them," Cloud said. "The team works hard and plays hard and it is an event held on their field. So they feel it is wrong to exclude them."
She said she and another parent talked with Principal Newsom and agreed that "all girls in the school should be able to be chosen for the court, however taking away all male students out of the event seems sexist."
Newsom said the change came in response to another parent who was disappointed her daughter was not chosen for the court - essentially, because a football player had not selected her.
"I heard her complaint," he said. "I told her I don't think I need to have football players to be the judge and the jury on who is chosen for the court."
The upcoming ceremony, to be held during the home game against Walton on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., will include the court already chosen by the football players, as well as, two at-large queens chosen by the senior class.
It's a compromise for this ceremony only, he said. Next year, there will be a new plan that will also include eliminating the king. He noted for more than 75 years the traditional homecoming court had not included a king and it has only been a handful of years when it has.
In addition to the lack of uniformity with some escorts wearing football uniforms and others not, Newsom also mentioned the football coach had stated that the players should be focused on the game - not the ceremony.
"Unfortunately, when you make changes, you don't make everyone happy," Newsom said. "We've got 120 seniors in this class, that's 240 parents, I only heard from a few. Most are siding with me that it's not fair."
"I'm trying to do what's best for the majority," he added.