A U.S. Airman on leave from Afghanistan was prohibited from escorting his sister to prom because he was too old, stirring controversy in the small town of Liberal, Kansas.
Upon learning her brother was coming home from a deployment in Afghanistan, Courtney Widener hoped he, 22-year-old Casey (an alumni of the high school), would be able to escort her down the “red carpet” event which is televised locally.
But her request was denied. Undaunted, Widener and her brother, dressed in his Air Force uniform, accompanied his sister to the edge of the red carpet. He bid Courtney ado with a crisp salute, and she entered the event.
The episode gained attention when Widener sent an essay to the local newspaper, voicing her distaste at the rule which excluded her brother.
“Not only did my brother fight for me in Afghanistan, but he fought for you in Afghanistan,” she wrote. “I never thought our school would be ashamed of their own alumni, much less someone who served our country…”
But according to Keith Adams, the principal of Liberal High School, “This was something [Casey Widener] chose to do — no one forced him, and no one prevented him … He was in no manner intentionally dishonored and kept from attending prom due to his military service.”
Nevertheless, Widener is calling for the school district to change its policy.