CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WTXF) - Designing prom tickets should have been an easy task in the scope of planning the prom, but not the case for one local school.
The principal of Cherry Hill High School East is apologizing, after some students were offended by language on the tickets.
FOX 29 spoke with the student body vice president. She said the ticket slogan was produced and approved by a diverse committee of students. She said the theme was American Independence and the prom committee meant no harm.
"We thought it would be fun to do a play on the Prince song "Party Like It's 1776" because of the Constitution Center," said Madison Vogel, Cherry Hill High School East student body Vice President.
That's where Cherry Hill High School East's senior prom will be held next week.
The catchy line - "Party Like It's 1776" - has prompted Principal Dennis Perry to apologize.
Perry tweeted out a letter which reads in part:
"It was insensitive and irresponsible not to appreciate that not all communities can celebrate what life was like in 1776. I especially apologize to our African American students."
Vogel said students got the letter on Friday, the last day prom tickets went on sale.
"We want everyone to be included. It's our senior prom. We don't want anyone to be offended," Vogel stated.
"We've been together for 4 years and we're close and we do have intense conversations where people don't agree," Madison said.
But, offense was taken. Civil rights advocates told a local newspaper while the intent may not have been to upset minority students, but celebrate American independence, the slogan brings to mind a painful part of United States history for many community members. A pain that is still raw for many members of the community.
As for Madison, she said the class has designed a new ticket, one she hopes is inclusive of all and the student body is looking to learn and move forward from the controversy.
"We're just really trying to bring our senior class together one more time before we graduate," Vogel said.