- 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:
Itawamba Agricultural High School11900 Highway 25 South
Fulton, MS 38843
PHONE: (662) 862-3104
i wonder how thrilled the local businesses are to hear that the prom was canceled. all those prom dresses that won't be bought, and all those tuxes not rented. then again, maybe the kids already bought their duds for the evening. then the parents won't be too thrilled that they spent all that money for nothing. of course, given that it's mississippi, maybe the parents are all supporting the school's decision. i wonder if the kids are as intolerant as their parents or if access to the internets has opened up their eyes and their minds.
I do hope it does not get uglier in Mississippi.
Hell, I live in a Blue State college town. I swear if that happened here the students would rally together & rent a space, require only same sex couples who must all wear Tuxedos! Or boycott the school doing a walkout.
Even better- have superstar celebs throw a GAYla bash-- Ellen DeGeneres, & Elton John, maybe Lady Gaga & the Idol guy who came out....
Welcome to the 21st Century Mississippi!
Discrimination Sucks party.
I always hated prom, too. At the time I hated it because I knew I wouldn't be going, man-date, woman-date or group-date. Now I see it as just another form of discrimination, similar to my gym experience nightmares. All these "exclusive" events remind that elitism is alive and well in our supposed classless society.
Yea, the whole prom thing is a lot of pressure for a kid. A friend of my son;s had a girlfriend, but also 3 other friends who wanted to go, but could not handle the date pressure-- so he went w 4 girls as his date. They really need to take it down several notches. I remember there was an official memo at the middle school level... we're talking 8th grade graduation, with guidelines saying no limos, racy low cut clothes, etc.
8th frigging grade!
When did proms morph from a grad party in the school gym, to some lavish, spendy, Hollywood style, over the top event?
Too bad this kid can't just go have fun, with whomever she wants to date & wear??
This is shameful - it figures it's in Mississippi. Is there some kind of requirement that people be bigots to live there? (No offense to those who, I'm sure, disagree with this decision and happen to live there...there must be some liberals in MS somewhere...)
I wasn't invited to my proms (neither Jr. nor Sr.) so I totally agree with DK (also about the gym experience - I was not athletic and hated gym, especially the part where they pick the good athletes as the team captains and let them pick the rest of their teams! I was always one of the last ones picked...it was horrendous).
That said, it seems as if nowadays in our area proms are not as pressure-filled - I know quite a few teens that just go as a group with friends.
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