Parents in a rural Ohio town have hit out at a high school after the students voted a lesbian couple as their senior prom king and queen.
Annie Wise was named Prom Queen, and her girlfriend Riley Loudermilk was named Prom King in a student vote at Kings High School in Kings Mills, a deeply conservative area of Ohio, on April 17.
But some of the parents were less than impressed with the students’ choice, and voiced their complaints at a heated school meeting as well as on social media.
The meeting was held a week after the prom was held at the school district 26 miles northeast of Cincinnati.
‘Sorry but, I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female,’ one parent said at the heated meeting, WLWT reported.
She continued: ‘I think tradition stands for a queen that has a vagina, a king that has a penis and testicles. Period. That’s the way it should stand. that is the way God has intended it to be.’
But not all of the parental reaction was negative. Another parent who spoke at the meeting was supportive, saying she admired their generation ‘for their thirst of knowledge and understanding, their strength to stand up for what they believe in’.
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Riley Loudermilk, left, was named queen and Annie Wise, right, king of their senior prom at High School in Kings Mills, Ohio
An unnamed parent attended a Kings High School meeting the week after the prom to complain about the school naming the two teens king and queen
When the Kings School District posted a photo of the couple to its Facebook page, it was soon swamped with negative comments.
The district wrote: ‘Congratulations to Kings High School 2021 Prom King and Queen,’ along with a photo of Wise and Loudermilk wearing crowns and sashes.
But one of the commenters said the girls needed to get ‘Jesus’ into their life.
Prom Queen Loudermilk, 18, told NBC that the school’s social media administrators struggled to keep up and delete negative comments as they swamped the page.
Another parent hit out at the school in general, complaining: ‘It’s been brought to my attention that at least one teacher who flies not only the BLM flag, but also a gay pride flag, refuses to fly the American flag.’
Another hit out at the school’s decision to put New York Times’ best-selling book ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You’ on an English class reading list, calling the book racist, WLWT reports.
The couple, who have been dating for six months, received many negative comments on social media, and one parent complained at a heated school meeting that ‘there are still two genders, a male and a female’
Traci Loudermilk, above, mother of Riley, said she was ‘mad’ about other adults commenting on her daughter
But there were also thousands of message of support for the couple, with many commenters praising the school and encouraging the teens to ‘be their authentic selves’.
Dawn Goulding, a community relations coordinator for the school district, said they stood by the decision – which had been made by the couples’ classmates.
‘This is solely a Kings High School senior class nominated and voted-on initiative,’ she told local affiliate WLWT.
Traci Loudermilk, mother of Riley, told CNN affiliate WLWT.com she was upset that adults were commenting on her daughter, who had been dating Wise for six months.
‘It made me mad that adults were commenting on a high school dance.’
Riley Loudermilk told CNN she would never forget the moment she was told.
‘Usually prom king and queen is like a popularity contest, and neither of us are really on that popularity spectrum.’
A photo posted on the Kings Local School District Facebook page received 2100 comments – despite the school struggling to keep up with deleting the negative ones
But the they said they had been pleasantly surprised by the largely positive reaction to their prom night in a deeply conservative part of Ohio
Wise added it was ‘super overwhelming’. It was the best feeling in the world, definitely something I’ll never forget.’
The teens said overall the experience had been a positive one, and their school was supportive of them being a lesbian couple.
‘Some people are saying that they’re proud that their kids go to such an accepting school,’ Wise told CNN.
‘There are some students that have told me that they’re comfortable being gay at Kings and they’re more comfortable with themselves now that they feel they have an accepting and supportive student body behind them.’
Kings Local School District describes itself as a high performing District in Ohio.