Kansas School Refuses to Allow Airman on Leave from Afghanistan to Escort Sister to Prom (Video)
A Kansas school refused to allow Airman Casey Widener to escort his sister Courtney Widener to prom this year. He was home for the weekend from Afghanistan. The school said it was against the rules.
So Casey escorted his sister to the red carpet, stood at attention, and gave his little sister a salute as she entered the school.
FOX News Radio reported:
The incident has stirred controversy in the city of Liberal after teenager Courtney Widener wrote an essay to the local newspaper voicing her extreme displeasure at the rule that kept her 22-year-old brother from escorting her to last weekend’s prom.
Courtney Widener had been getting ready for prom she learned that her brother was coming home for the weekend from a deployment to Afghanistan.
She knew that Casey was too old to attend the prom, but she was hoping he would be able to escort her down the “red carpet” – a popular local prom tradition that is broadcast on a local television station.
Both the school’s principal and the district superintendent turned down her request – fearing it would “open the door for others” to bend the rules.
So on prom night, Courtney’s brother, dressed in his Air Force uniform, escorted his sister to the edge of the red carpet. Video of the moment showed him standing at attention as she walked through a crowd of people. He gave her a crisp salute when she entered the school.
UPDATE: The school may be changing its rules.
The Leader and Times reported:
A policy that prevented a member of the military from escorting his younger sister to prom at Liberal High School April 20 may be changing soon.
A Youtube video showing Courtney Widener’s brother Casey standing at the end of the red carpet while his sister made her way to the entrance without him, and a letter to the editor from Courtney sharing her disappointment sat off a national firestorm that involved Fox News, CNN, Wichita television stations and a barrage of comments on social media web sites.
Both sides came together Monday afternoon to try to bring an end to the spectacle, and it included an apology to Airman Casey Widener from LHS principal Keith Adams.
“I am sorry that Casey Widener was offended or dishonored in any way,” Adams said. “That was not our intent.”
Both sides received criticism from around the nation. “There’s one from New York,” Adams said as he checked his email on his iPhone while meeting with Widener, her parents, Superintendent Lance Stout and Deputy Superintendent Paul Larkin. The meeting was requested by Courtney and was facilitated by board member Tammy Sutherland Abbott.
Neither side was attempting to discredit the other, and Courtney wanted to meet with her principal to bring an end to the criticism of him, the district and of her disappointment.
Adams agreed, and the discussion became a two-hour meeting that involved other parties including a television crew and other members of the media.
“We are willing to work and find a remedy to this,” Stout said. “It is impossible to go back, but what we can do is make it better for the future.”