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Principal Says Girls Can’t Wear Tuxedos To Prom

May 2, 1987

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) _ Four teen-age girls who spent nearly $100 each on outfits for next month’s senior prom may have to sit at home unless they exchange the tuxedos for more conventional wear, their principal says.

The girls, who are two sets of twins in the senior class at Stephen Decatur High School, planned to wear black tuxedo jackets, white shirts, red bow ties and red pumps, said Denise Holt, 17.

But after a newspaper printed pictures of their costumes, school principal Jack Kenny vetoed the wardrobe.

″If a guy comes dressed in a gown, it would not be appropriate. The same goes for guys or girls if they come to the prom wearing shorts,″ Kenny said.

″This is discrimination. This is our senior prom. We should be able to wear what we want,″ said Shelly Fisher, one of the students.

Kenny issued a memo to the girls, Shelly and Sheila Fisher, 18, and Denise and Darcie Holt, 17, saying that only ″those properly attired″ would be admitted to the dance May 23.

Denise Holt said the teens planned to circulate a petition among students, protesting the dress code.

She said the four had each spent $53 to rent the tuxedos, plus $25 for the pumps and $15 for matching leotards and tights.

″We planned everything,″ Shelly Fisher said. ″We’ve spent a lot of money on this. And now they have to go and destroy it all.″

The manager of Seno Formalwear in Decatur, Dan Keil, said it was not unusual for girls to rent tuxedos for proms.

″I’ve never seen a problem like this pop up before,″ Keil said. ″The only thing I can see from the school’s viewpoint is maybe the leotards and black hose. But they’re in good taste to me.″

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