Homecoming season is in full swing, and that means it’s time for students everywhere to show off their school spirit. At many schools, that includes participating in spirit week, during which each day follows some kind of theme. But one middle school in Iowa, Louisiana has stirred some controversy with its theme selection. Monday was named “stoplight day,” and students were encouraged to wear green, yellow, or red to represent their relationship status, according to Yahoo Lifestyle.
M.J. Mouton, whose daughter attends the school in question, took to Twitter to share the alleged instructions: “Wear Red if you are taken. Wear Green if you are single. Wear Yellow if it is complicated,” he wrote. “Totally inappropriate.” He added in a second tweet that the theme is a “carry over” from the high school — which, according to KPLC, a local NBC affiliate, shares a campus with the middle school — and that “the high schoolers do it to find who is available for Homecoming!”
M.J. told KPLC that he doesn’t believe the school should “play matchmaker” and expressed concerns that the theme could lead to bullying. “Middle school kids are in an extremely vulnerable state — dealing with peer pressure, making friends, typical school stresses. I would encourage the school to have fun days, free dress days, but most importantly, think ahead about how these things they implement affect the emotional state of kids.”
In speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, he noted that his daughter “sees that there’s going to be some kids who potentially are going to feel bad [about not dating], or kids who are going to participate because they want to feel a part of something.”
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, M.J. also emailed his concerns to the school, asking if they are “promoting relationships” for middle school students. “Are you setting up boys and especially girls to be targets?” he said, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “Do you understand that if a single kid speaks up about this being wrong, which many do [feel], they fear repercussions from students as well as teachers?”
He did reportedly receive a response, and took to Twitter again to share what appeared to be a letter from the school. “Our intentions were not to cause undue stress on students or their families,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, we did not hear about them until so late in the week that we were unable to change our days.” The letter also stressed that they “have plans in the works for next year to avoid a repeat of these circumstances” and that “we will never target students for any reason at any time.”
But while M.J. received that response, Calcasieu Parish School Board reportedly told KPLC that it didn’t have a comment on the matter because “it had been handled at the school level.”
Teen Vogue has reached out to M.J. Mouton and the Calcasieu Parish School Board for comment.
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