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Chandler Unified School District cancels prom, parents plan their own

Autistic student's prom date denied entry
Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 01:51:29-04

CHANDLER, AZ — Chandler Unified School District says prom has been canceled at all of its high schools. Some parents have decided to take things into their own hands, planning one themselves for Perry High School seniors.

A flyer is circulating on social media stating: Perry High School prom, April 17 at the barn at Superstition Farm.

One parent behind the event says the mental health of students is a priority since the pandemic has caused them to miss out on so much. Others don’t think the event is the best way to address the issue.

“I think it's reckless; I really do. I feel like we're not in a safe place still in Arizona,” says Elizabeth Cohen, parent.

Cohen says her daughter goes to Chandler High but Perry is within the same district - Chandler Unified.

“Any negative things aren't just going to affect them, it's going to affect everybody - Perry, Hamilton, or wherever these problems start happening,” says Cohen.

Although prom is canceled district-wide, administrators say it cannot keep anyone from holding this type of event.

"The reason that I believe that the board made the decision was to be protective and so, to circumvent that protection is really a huge mistake that you don't want to take on that liability for,” says Deidre Bales, parent.

Bales is a parent but also a pediatric nurse practitioner. "We're really concerned about the long-term effects, even in children. So, we really need to be careful about what we're doing,” says Bales.

Tickets for Perry’s prom are currently on sale. The page states: “Let’s have the prom night you all deserve.”

All student IDs will be checked at the door. Security will be at the indoor/outdoor venue, along with a zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs.

Although masks are required, some parents believe it won’t be enough

"I feel that they're at risk of really doing what I feel is most important, which is giving a kids the ending to their whole high school, which is a graduation,” says Cohen.

Parents at some other Chandler Unified schools, such as Hamilton High, have a Facebook page talking about holding their own proms as well.