Miss. High School Cancels Prom After Lesbian Student Wanted to Attend

March 11, 2010

(ChattahBox)—A female student at a northern Mississippi high school was excited about the upcoming prom, like any other student. But Constance McMillen, 18, is gay and she wanted to attend the end of the year dance with her girlfriend, while dressed in a tuxedo. Itawamba Agricultural High School officials told McMillen she could not attend the prom with her same-sex date. When the ACLU notified the school district that they were violating the First Amendment, by refusing to allow gay couples to participate in the prom, the school responded by promptly canceling the event.

The Itawamba County School District issued a statement on Monday announcing its decision to cancel the school prom:

“Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year,” school board members said.

After McMillen was told she couldn’t bring her same-sex date to the prom, school officials issued a memo to students, saying that prom dates “must be of the opposite sex.” School officials also told McMillen that she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo, and if she and her girlfriend arrived separately and were seen slow-dancing; they risked becoming ejected.

McMillen contacted the ACLU of Mississippi for help. And the organization sent a letter to the school demanding that the student be allowed to bring her same-sex date to the dance:

“Ms. McMillen has informed us that IAHS’s prom policy prohibits her from exercising her constitutional rights to bring a same-sex date,” the human rights group said in the letter. “As you know, students have the right under the First Amendment to bring a same-sex date to the prom.”’ “We request that the District provide immediate permission for Constance to bring her same-sex date and to wear a tuxedo to the prom,” the letter said.

The school district, said after canceling the prom, that they anticipated that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors.” But only for heterosexual students, of course.

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