- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Students staged a sit-in Monday at their New Jersey high school to protest administrators’ involvement in the election of the homecoming king and queen.

Passaic County Technical Institute students originally had elected two girls to be homecoming king and queen, but school officials added two kings to the ballot. This led to students electing two boys as kings, giving the homecoming court a total of one queen and three kings.

Seniors Zoe Nelson and Jyckell Perez initially won the election for homecoming king and queen, according to NorthJersey.com. But officials included two more kings during Friday’s homecoming election.

Jyckell accepted the crown, but Zoe protested the last-minute change and did not show up to accept her crown as king.

“When I asked, ‘Why am I the only queen,’ they told me, ‘Oh, you’re special,’” Jyckell told NorthJersey.com.

Zoe told ABC 7 New York that she had endured online bullying in the past.

“So it was really hard for me,” she said. “But when I won, I kind of felt like it all went away, it was all worth it.”

Principal Antonio Garcia apologized to students at the protest who felt “slighted” and particularly to Zoe. He explained to the station that the school’s intention was not meant to exclude anyone.

“That was not the intention of our decision,” Mr. Garcia said. “We wanted to include more students that were on the ballot for homecoming court. For that I’m sorry, and I apologize.”

He promised Zoe an opportunity to address the next school board meeting.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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