School officials changed the results of a homecoming queen election so a pregnant girl was denied the crown and then burned the ballots in a coverup, the superintendent said Thursday.
April Schuldt was a landslide winner of the Eau Claire Memorial High School homecoming election last week, said Lee Hansen, superintendent of schools in the city about 80 miles east of Minneapolis.
But Schuldt, 17, who is five months pregnant and wears drab clothes, black makeup and dangling jewelry, was denied the title by "a team responsible for the homecoming festivities," Hansen said.
"In trying to protect the traditional image of Memorial High School, these individuals trampled all over a far more precious tradition, that of the democratic process," Hansen said at a news conference.
Hansen said the incident was "sordid" and brought shame on the district.
He accused school administrators he refused to name of lying to parents and then burning ballots. He said his own investigation found Schuldt received more than 100 votes. The runner-up got fewer than 70.
He has called a School Board session Monday to discuss possible disciplinary action. The runner-up, Elizabeth Weld, served as queen during last weekend's festivities.
"It's real important that people finally know the truth," Schuldt said.