To the editor:
While I am sure that the Frozen Fantasy Royalty Prom was started with good intentions, I have mixed thoughts regarding the message it portrays to the public, the rest of the students, and the participants themselves. You quoted Janae Kennedy as saying "I'm leery about using the term 'special needs.' I don't want people to think we are singling them out." However, that is what the event does. Even though compassion is what is driving the event, these students must know that they are participating in this event because they are different from the rest of their class. In addition, it is another reminder to the rest of the students to view their "special needs" classmates as different from themselves. The perks of this event (free hair, nails and photography) are great, but again, creates another gap between them and their classmates.
I agree with inclusion 100 percent, and it is sad that it was said that many of the students had never been to a high school dance before. Instead of singling them out, why not offer them opportunities to be on committees (with any and all of their fellow students) to plan a prom for the whole class, or another school dance. Encourage opportunities for everyone to interact and work together, instead of being separated by their differences. Most teenagers just want to fit in. They don't want their classmates to view them as "special."
Instead just be their equal. Be their friend.