The principal at a high school in Kansas who refused to allow a student's U.S. Airman brother take her to prom is now apologizing after the incident received worldwide attention.
Liberal High School junior Courtney Widener was thrilled to have her brother, Senior Airman Casey Widener, back from Afghanistan. She had only seen him once since he returned, and wanted to bring him to prom with her.
But her dreams were dashed to the ground when Principal Keith Adams said she was not allowed to bring him, because at age 22, Casey was one year older than the age limit for prom guests.
Still, Casey escorted her to the prom, but stopped at the foot of the red carpet as Courtney and her friend entered the promenade to the prom. He saluted her and left.
Photos and video of him saluting her circulated around the web, and a video on YouTube went viral. The attention the incident received prompted the superintendent and principal to make an apology and change the rules for prom, enabling guests older than 21 to receive prior permission to attend the dance.
"There were hurt feelings on both sides, you know," Superintendent Paul Larkin said. "I think the best thing is when we came together. I don't think this family had any intention of shedding any negative light on the district whatsoever and by all means we had no intention of dishonoring their son."
During a meeting with the family, principal Adams said, "I am sorry that Casey Widener was offended or dishonored in any way. That was not our intent."
Courtney said she still had a great time at the prom.
"I feel proud of what I did, and I feel proud for standing up for myself and for what I thought was right," she said.
She said she received support from many people, and was surprised that it got national attention.
"Both the district and my family were amazed at how crazy it got," she said. "We never expected it to blow up like this. We definitely did not want that. We wanted a change, but we didn't want it to come about like this."