December 6, 2013
When students at Jackson High School mark their homecoming queen ballots each fall, they are told to select two candidates, one white and one black.
The school still follows a rule dating back to the early days of integration when school officials mandated separate homecoming queens to ensure equal access to school's social positions.
But some people say the rule has outlived its usefulness.
Jackson High, like every school in the Clarke County system, elects two homecoming queens, two Mister Footballs, two Miss Footballs, two Mister High Schools and two Miss High Schools.
Lynda Malone, who is president of the school board and is black, says she does not think the board should change the policy unless county residents ask them to do so.
But, that might not be the view of the federal government. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights said some segregation orders in the 1960's included provisions for separate elections, but that civil rights laws now prohibit the practice.