Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' language on 1776-themed prom tickets

Lawrence Kim
May 21, 2018

"We thought it would be fun to do a play on the Prince song "Party Like It's 1776" because of the Constitution Center", said Madison Vogel, Cherry Hill High School East student body Vice President.

The prom tickets read "party like it's 1776" which offended a large number of Black and minority students because slavery wasn't abolished in New Jersey until 1846.

According to Newsweek, Cherry Hill High School East principal Dennis Perry sent a letter to parents and local community members apologizing for the "insensitive" and "irresponsible" wording on the invitations. "I especially apologize to our African American students".

A civil rights advocate praised the principal's actions, but called for increased awareness of cultural diversity.

Danny Elmore, vice president for the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association, said he accepted Perry's apology and told NBC that he doesn't think any offense was intended.

But Elmore also called for increased awareness of cultural diversity, noting an uproar previous year when the school staged "Ragtime", a musical that included a racial slur.

A Cherry Hill, New Jersey, high school principal is apologizing for what many apparently considered to be offensive language on tickets for the school's upcoming prom. "However, I do take some solace in the fact that Mr. Perry immediately recognized and acknowledged the insensitivity of the comment".

The latest New Jersey School Report Card indicates that black youths represented 6.2 percent of East's student body, compared to 62.2 percent for whites, 22.4 percent for Asians and 5.9 percent share for Hispanics.

A little over six percent of Cherry Hill East's students are African-American.

"Today, I learned that members of our school community were offended by a statement written on our Senior Prom ticket", Perry wrote in the letter posted on Friday.

In his letter, Perry promised that the school will make sure a "diverse group of people view all information before it is distributed from the school".

The Courier Post notes Google searches reveal "party like it's 1776" has been used numerous times for events in Philadelphia, including the city's own 2017 Independence Day celebration.

Perry wrote that students won't have to bring their tickets to get into prom since they already have a record of those who has purchased tickets. "A name will be sufficient upon arrival'".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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