Announcement banning same-sex couples from Port Arthur prom not ‘meant to be a joke’

Posted on 23 Feb 2012 at 4:34pm

Memorial High School

Confusion about an announcement made last week at a Port Arthur high school that stated gay students would not be welcome at the dance has been resolved, according to school district officials.

Deputy Superintendent Mark Porterie previously emailed Dallas Voice a statement that stated the school would “handle the situation with staff to ensure that no student is inappropriately prevented from participation in prom.”

In a phone interview Thursday, Porterie said the announcement heard over Memorial High School’s intercom “was just a conversation-type mix-up,” adding that he is uncertain of the specific situation that prompted the announcement.

“I’m not clear to this day how it happened. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “It’s not something we promote.”

The intention of the announcement, however, was anything but funny to the student body, administration and the announcer.

“It was not a joke,” he said. “ It wasn’t meant to be a joke.”

Porterie declined to clarify if the person who made the announcement was a student or faculty member, only saying that the school is abuzz with preparations for the May prom and mentions of the event are common during the months leading up to it.

While the situation was “handled the same day,” Porterie would not elaborate on the method or whether the announcer was told that the remark was inappropriate.

Various students at the schools throughout the Port Arthur ISD make announcements daily, Porterie said, and different methods of approval are used and occasional announcements not approved slip through the approval processes.

“Sometimes announcements come through that aren’t supposed to,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t catch them.”

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