The senior prom tickets for Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey were intended to fit the party's historically themed venue - the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia - and to pay homage to a Prince song.
So they read: "Party like it's 1776."
Then people began pointing out that some folks weren't partying in 1776.
"Because, you know, 1776 really wasn’t nearly a party for everyone, what with slavery and other systemic injustices being the accepted law of the land," wrote The Root.
Dennis Perry, principal of the high school where, according to the most recent state data, 62.2 percent of the students are white and 6.2 percent are black, apologized on Friday for the wording on the tickets and said students won't have to show them on prom night.
"I am writing to apologize for the hurt feelings this reference created for members of our school family," he wrote in a statement on Twitter. "It was insensitive and irresponsible not to appreciate that not all communities can celebrate what life was like in 1776.
"I especially apologize to our African American students, whom I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording."
Danny Elmore, a vice president for the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association, applauded the principal's action but told The Courier-Post in Cherry Hill that the incident happened because minority students weren't involved in the process.
“The intent was a good intent. However, for some Americans, 1776 itself was not a good time," he said.
Madison Vogel, vice president of the school's student body, said the ticket slogan of "We The People Will Party Like It's 1776" was created and approved by a diverse group of students to fit the theme of American independence.
“We thought it would be fun to do a play on the Prince song ('1999') because of the Constitution Center,” she told Fox 29 in Philadelphia. “We want everyone to be included. It’s our senior prom. We don’t want anyone to be offended."
Objections to the language on the tickets are not meant to downplay "the fact that America celebrates its independence," Elmore told the Courier-Post.
But, "we really have to focus on finally bringing to light a history that’s been hidden. Part of our history was very raw and very wrong.
“We lose out when we do not know who our neighbor is. Talk about it with people before you take an action and we won’t have this happen."
New Jersey's state legislature passed "An Act to Abolish Slavery" in 1846 but it didn't fully emancipate slaves, according to Princeton University. It wasn't until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment - which New Jersey reluctantly ratified in 1866 — that the state's slaves in the state were freed, according to Princeton.
"Inviting any person of color to party like it’s any time before the 1980s (I’m being super generous here) is less of an invitation and more of a threat," wrote Breanna Edwards for The Root. "It’s not really even safe to party as a person of color in 2018."
But reaction to Perry's apology has been mixed. Some people think the school was being overly politically correct by apologizing. The school fielded backlash last year, too, when it staged the musical, "Ragtime," that uses the n-word and other racially charged language.
In his letter, Perry said East will make changes “to ensure that a diverse group of people view all information before it is distributed from the school.”
He also thanked “members of our school community for their caring and thoughtful conversation while discussing this sensitive issue.”
He wrote that "in an effort to right this wrong and to do better for our students," students will not be required to bring their prom tickets to gain entrance since the school has a record of who bought tickets.
And, they will receive a commemorative prom ticket at that dance that will have a new a new design.