- A Mississippi high school faces a lawsuit over its decision to cancel its prom rather than allow a lesbian high school student to attend with her girlfriend.
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleges that officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, are violating the student's First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
The ACLU asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to reinstate the prom.
"All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student. But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly," said the student, 18-year-old Constance McMillen, in an ACLU news release. "This isn't just about me and my rights anymore -- now I'm fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom."
At the center of the lawsuit is a memorandum from the school to students, dated February 5, which states that prom dates must be of the opposite sex.
Also, when McMillen expressed a desire to wear a tuxedo to the prom, the superintendent told her only male students were allowed to wear tuxes, according to court documents.
Superintendent Teresa McNeece also told McMillen that she and her girlfriend could be ejected from the prom if any of the other students complained about their presence there, according to the documents.
The prom was canceled after McMillen and the ACLU tried informally to get the school to change its stance."
A few thoughts come to mind here.
• Yay ACLU for stepping in!
• I hope they press the High School to reinstate the prom....
• Even better- maybe some Civil Rights activists will put together something better.
A "come as you are" event. The bottom line is the prom is an event to celebrate the culmination of 4 years of high school.
I always hated the pressure to have a date, the fashion, etc. Why not be able to attend by yourself, with a friend, with a same sex date, and even attend as a group w friends?
As an aside, don't public schools get Federal funding?
Are they not required to adhere to anti discrimination laws?
If they discriminate, they should lose Federal funding.
Whatever academics they are teaching students, they are inadvertently teaching discrimination.
Constance M~ You are wise beyond your years.
By the way-- this IS a public high school & it appears they have taken their web site down. That's OK, they can be reached by mail or phone: