Kansas High Schoolers Petition for Disabled Inclusion at Homecoming


A group of high school students in Lawrence, Kan., decided that a somewhat vague and mysterious policy of keeping disabled kids off the ballot for Homecoming was not at all cool -- so they changed it.

At Free State High School, a crew of friends lobbied hard -- and, they thought, successfully -- for their friend Owen Phariss, who has Down syndrome, to be voted onto the royal court, with a shot at becoming Homecoming King. But when the ballot came out, Owen's name was nowhere to be found.

Neither were those of eight other kids with disabilities, according to the Lawrence Journal World and News.
It's a little murky as to who left the disabled kids' names off the ballot, or how Owen's friends determined that such a decision was actually standard operating procedure. Apparently, all the students vote, the nominees are asked if they want to run and then administrators sign off that prospective royalty have both good academic and disciplinary standing.

Owen's friends determined that since the school opened in 1997, disabled kids who got votes were routinely left off the ballot. They petitioned the principal, who immediately decided a new ballot would be released.

Seniors at Free State voted again on the expanded ballot Wednesday, and Owen is in the running for King at their Oct. 1 Homecoming.

Good luck, dude.

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