James Fallon High same-sex couple overturn ban on deb ball attendance with petition

Karlina Macartney and partner Sami Burgess admire Sami’s dress ahead of the school debutante ball. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Karlina Macartney and partner Sami Burgess admire Sami’s dress ahead of the school debutante ball. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

A SAME-sex couple are overjoyed after James Fallon High School overturned a ban on their attendance at the school’s debutante ball.

Year 11 student Sami Burgess, 17, had hoped to take her partner Karlina Macartney, 21, to the September 19 event.

Ms Burgess said she had sought permission from the principal, but was denied.

“She called me and said others will find it socially unacceptable,” she said.

“I told my mates and they were very unhappy with it and started the petition.”

More than 250 people have signed the petition and parents have contacted the school, resulting in the ban being overturned.

Ms Burgess said the story was not about her, but all gay people.

She said one other person had wanted to take a same-sex partner to the ball, but did not ask because they knew they would be refused.

“I want this to be for everyone in every school,” Ms Burgess said.

“Everyone should have the right in society to be able to go as a same-sex couple.”

She said James Fallon was a good school with staff helping her with problems in the past.

A NSW Department of Education and Communities spokesman said the decision was not made on gender.

“It was based on the practice of encouraging students to select partners from within year 11, or to avoid someone with a significant age difference or a current boyfriend or girlfriend.

“The principal finalised the decision after reconsidering the strength of the student’s commitment to the issue and discussion with the student’s parents.”

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