The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 7, 2013

Another school says no

JOHNSTOWN — For the second time in a little more than a week, a school has ruled against transgender student Kasey Caron’s homecoming bid.

Caron, a 17-year-old senior at Richland High School, was informed on Aug. 30 that he could not appear on the homecoming court as a male because he is a biological female. Despite being told earlier that he could appear on the ballot as a male, he was switched to the ballot for homecoming queen and earned a spot on the court. But Kasey, who has been dressing as a boy for years and is undergoing the counseling necessary to begin the transition to a male, does not want to take part in the Oct. 4-5 events as a girl. He plans to speak to the school board about the situation on Monday night.

In the meantime, two Westmont Hilltop High School students reached out to the student from the rival school and offered him a spot in the Hilltoppers’ homecoming celebration. Josh Livingston, Westmont’s student council president, and Abby Panek, another student council member, came up with the idea to offer Caron an honorary spot on Westmont’s homecoming court.

“To avoid the alleged legal issues that Richland faced, he would not be running for King or Queen at Westmont (mainly because he does not go here); rather, he would simply be a member of the Court,” Livingston said in an email to The Tribune-Democrat.

Caron said he would accept the invitation if he did not get to serve as a boy at Richland.

Livingston said that Westmont’s administrators needed to approve of the invite.

He seemed optimistic after an initial meeting with the school’s principal, Tom Mitchell, but later said the idea had been curtailed.

“It has been decided to not let someone outside the student body be on our Homecoming Court, whether in official or honorary capacity,” Livingston said in an email.

Mitchell did not return phone messages left by The Tribune-Democrat on Friday.

Livingston said that no school or school-related officials were involved in the invitation to Caron.

When informed of Westmont’s decision, Caron did not seem too upset.

“I was super honored that they asked me that,” he said. “I told them I’m going to wait and see how it goes (with Richland).”

Eric Knopsnyder is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/eric_knopsnyder.

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