Varsity Club changes homecoming theme after Batman theater massacre

Varsity club changed the homecoming theme from Gotham City to the Windy City. Out of respect for the Aurora, Colorado shooting, many people felt insensitive presenting the Batman-based theme.

When parents heard about the Gotham City theme, they found it potentially offensive to some in the timing after the Colorado shooting. Faculty members reported these complaints to the administration. The administration did not require the theme change, but highly suggested it.

“They didn’t say we had to change it, but they thought it would be better on the safe side. And, it probably is the better decision rather than keeping it and moving forward, and then having a bunch of people offended by it or angry about it later on,” said Stephanie Hiffman, English teacher one of the club’s sponsors.

“It was a very sensitive subject and we did not want to offend or make anyone feel uncomfortable,” said senior Gretta Richter,  Varsity Club president.

Facilitated by Hiffman and Mrs. Sally Phillip, Educational Services teacher, Varsity Club typically accumulates a list of homecoming theme ideas that they develop and then take to the student council to vote on together. But, with the administration’s recommendation, they decided to change the theme.

Implications often follow major changes like this. Because they had already started ordering decorations before the theme change, bat decorations now fill Phillip’s office.

“We got really lucky because usually we order shirts, and we have a t-shirt design contest,” said Hiffman. Since they decided against t-shirts this year, they didn’t have to worry about having almost 3000 t-shirts already printed for the Gotham City theme.

“We also lucked out in that what we ordered for the favor was sunglasses, and it doesn’t say the theme on them. It just says ‘Homecoming 2012.’ So, that ended up working out as well,” Hiffman said.

The Gotham City-scape decorations helped determine the theme switch to the Windy City. This way, the city-scape can still be used, saving money and resources.

In addition to the convenience of keeping the city-scape decorations, Richter said that “[Windy City] seemed like a theme that everyone could relate to and have fun with.”