A small town in Indiana is at the heart of a controversy regarding intolerance over the High School Prom. It all started when the High School, located in a small community of 4200, decided to hold a “traditional prom” that bans gay students. A teacher at a neighboring school was quoted as saying that she believes, “people choose to be gay” and that “gay people have no purpose in life.” The comments were made by Diana Medley, a special education teacher and has gone viral sparking online campaigns to have her fired. A petition on Change.org calling for her dismissal generated more than 17,500 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom as of Thursday, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 27,000 likes. The principal of Sullivan High School, David Springer said talk of the “traditional” prom began in January, after a student began circulating a petition, demanding that gays be allowed to participate in the grand march at Sullivan’s April 27 prom. The “traditional” prom would not be sanctioned by the district and wouldn’t be held at the school. Organizers declined to comment and it’s unclear whether it will still take place. If Sullivan High School was a private institution or a religious institution, it would be within its rights to have a “traditional prom”. But since it is a public institution the school cannot sanction the prom which is why it was going to take place off school grounds. While there are still many parts of this country, particularly small towns, where people are closed-minded and small, you can’t force people to be nice or change their opinions based on petitions. That happens over time. Thirty years ago, no one in this country would have been able to envision gay marriage being legally recognized anywhere. Now there are a number of states and the District of Columbia that recognize that basic right. Beating small-minded, church going people from tiny towns is certainly not the answer and will not work in changing anyone’s mind. There will always be those who believe, for religious reasons, that homosexuality is a sin just as there will always be racists and anti-Semites . As Americans, they have their right to their opinion, even if they are on the wrong side of history. Only the passage of time will lead these small towns to see the errors of their ways. As young people grow and learn and experience the world from other perspectives then their own, attitudes will change. Until then, people shouldn’t be offended but instead understand where these small town folks are coming from. That’s what educated, open-minded, intelligent people do.