Lesbian Fear Cancels Prom in Mississippi High School [UPDATED]
UPDATE: Constance McMillen was awarded $35,000 from the Itawamba County School District for violation of her civil rights (July 21, 2010).
A high school in a Mississippi school district canceled its spring prom because a student, Constance McMillen, asked to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo to the yearly gala.
Rather than owning up to the real reasons why the prom was cancelled, school officials are instead citing that it is “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” “Recent events” being a request by openly gay McMillen to invite her girlfriend to the prom.
McMillen told CBS News, “I just want to go to the prom and bring my date, just like everyone else gets to.”
Eighteen-year-old McMillen soon contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is now seeking a court order to force the Mississippi high school to follow through with its plans for holding prom. The school district is contending that McMillen and her date, a sophomore, are violating the district’s policy against same-sex couples at the dance.
The ACLU said that district officials told McMillen that she and her girlfriend wouldn’t be allowed to arrive together and that she and her girlfriend might be requested to leave if their presence made any of the other students “uncomfortable.” The ACLU also went out to say that McMillien was told she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo.
But the battle is just being fought in the courts. It’s being waged within the hallways of Itawamba County Agricultural High School where McMillen is being targeted by other students as the person who ruined their senior year.
The tough allegations and hurtful words aren’t detering McMillen, who is fighting hard alongside her ACLU lawyer to have the prom reinstated and more importantly, to send a strong message to students and youth everywhere that it’s OK to be gay.