TEMPE, Ariz. — When you think of a high school prom, you probably imagine girls in beautiful dresses and guys in their tuxes, but a teenager says his rights were violated when a Tempe school told him he could not run for prom queen.
“It’s just about a perfect fitting dress and everyone says it looks flattering on me,” said 17-year-old McClintock High School student River Flanary.He is far from a typical teenage boy.
“I jerry-rigged some rope to it so that it’s not strapless and so it’s compliant with the school dress code,” he said.
Flanary wants to be prom queen, and he’s a straight male, so when CBS 5 News asked him why he wanted to run he said, “I guess you could say that I am standing up for those who maybe weren’t bold enough to stand up before and maybe putting that courage in their hearts a little.”
He said he is talking about homosexuals, bi-sexuals or transgender students, but the Tempe School District is being very clear that a prom ballot is a write-in ballot that asks students to write in names of girls for queen and names of boys for king.
“If they want to challenge the way the ballots are written, that would need to be addressed, and it wasn’t,” said Linda Littell with the Tempe Union High School District.
Flanary said he got the most votes out of all the candidates, and while the school districts says he was disqualified, the students have their own opinions.
“No other person has done it so it seems like he should be able to do it,” said Abanoub Saad.
“He probably would have won if he wanted to be prom king. I just don’t see the point of him running for prom queen,” said Serena Kaplan.
Meanwhile, Flanary believes he’s right and he’s not giving up anytime soon.
The school district says is very careful about respecting students who have different sexual preferences, but district officials say that was not one of those cases.
River said he will wear his dress to prom this Saturday.
Watch the video report from KPHO-TV in Phoenix: