Prom cancelled because of lesbian couple

Esther - posted on 03/11/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

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JACKSON, Miss. – A northern Mississippi school district will not be hosting a high school prom this spring after a lesbian student sought to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district's board decided Wednesday to drop the prom because of what it called recent distractions but without specifically mentioning the girl's request, which was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The student, 18-year-old high school senior Constance McMillen, said the cancellation was retaliation for her efforts to bring her girlfriend, also a student, to the April 2 dance.

"A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this, so in a way it's really retaliation," McMillen told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. Calls to McMillen by The Associated Press late Wednesday went unanswered.

School policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The ACLU of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy, arguing that banning same-sex prom dates violated McMillen's constitutional rights.

Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it wouldn't host the event at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events."

The statement didn't mention McMillen or the ACLU. When asked by The Associated Press if McMillen's demand led to the cancellation, school board attorney Michele Floyd said she could only reference the statement.

"It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors," district officials said in the statement. "However, at this time, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students."

Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, said the district was trying to avoid the issue.

"But that doesn't take away their legal obligations to treat all the students fairly," Bennett said. "On Constance's behalf, this is unfair to her. All she's trying to do is assert her rights."

Itawamba County is a rural area of about 23,000 people in north Mississippi near the Alabama state line. It's near Pontotoc County, Miss., where more than a decade ago school officials were sued in federal court over their practice of student-led intercom prayer and Bible classes.

Anna Watson, a 17-year-old junior at the high school, was looking forward to the prom, especially since the town's only hotspot is the bowling alley, she said.

"I am a little bummed out about it. I guess it's a decision that had to be made. Either way someone was going to get disappointed — either Constance was or we were," Watson said. "I don't agree with homosexuality, but I can't change what another person thinks or does."

Other students are on McMillen's side.

McKenzie Chaney, 16, said she wasn't planning to attend the prom, but "it's kind of ridiculous that they can't let her wear the tuxedo and it all be over with."

A Feb. 5 memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, and one requirement was that the person must be of the opposite sex.

The ACLU said McMillen approached school officials shortly before the memo went out because she knew same-sex dates had been banned in the past. The ACLU said district officials told McMillen she and her girlfriend wouldn't be allowed to arrive together, that she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo, and that she and her girlfriend might be asked to leave if their presence made any other students "uncomfortable."

McMillen said she feared she would be thrown out of the prom because "we do live in the Bible Belt."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_lesbian_pr...

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I know, I know, another gay thread. But I found this latest example of homophobia so ridiculous that I just felt a need to alert you all to it.

"[ ] we feel that it is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students."

Seriously - how does this decision in any way promote the education, safety or well being of the students and how would it have harmed any of this if they had just let this girl be who she is?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Lisamarie - posted on 03/11/2010

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This is really pathetic and can I just I live in England and we kind of "stole" the prom from you guys! Anyways, we had our prom at the end of high school and we weren't allowed to drink or anything illegal but we could dress as we wanted (one of my girl friends even wore a gorgeous white trouser suit! Not gay, BTW!) and went with who we wanted, I went with my best girl friend, although I did get to dance with my high school crush! Swoon!!

One girl got into a fight about the prom and she was banned from it but no cancellation! The truth is all this poor girl has done is ask for something well within her rights and stood up for what she believes, she should be applauded and supported not blamed!!

Patricia - posted on 03/11/2010

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Hello Ester.... I agree with you! I know that most schools(including high schools) have what they call a "NO BULLYING POLICY." Which at some schools require students to sign. Basically stating that all students will abide by these rules and there will be consequences for all that don't. I think that this is a form of bullying..."WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A PROM, BECAUSE TWO GIRLS WANT TO COME TOGETHER AS A COUPLE." Pretty much setting these two girls up to be bullied by their fellow students....because there will not be a prom because of them. Basically saying that the policy doesn't apply to teachers and staff. Very sad....It's one thing to have your beliefs, it's another to have them affect an entire class of young students. Who by the way are taught in our schools about fairness and friendships and being bullied.

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Lucy - posted on 04/11/2010

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Is this story an april fool? Seriously!?

If this happened in the UK heads would roll! At the last school I taught at quite a few girls came in trouser suits/tuxedos and there were 3 gay couples that I know of. Part of the entertainment was a bunch of the male students in drag singing diva classics- great fun, for students and teachers alike.

Remind me never to take up a teaching job in Mississippi :)

Rachel - posted on 04/10/2010

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Lmao at Krista Elliott's post it made my day lol.

I dont understand how watching 2 girls dancing together can turn anyone gay, seriously woman have been dancing together for generations and dancing provocatively to get the attention of our MALE species, so working on the theory of watching 2 girls dancing is going to turn all the young girls gay, then y is it that woman are still reproducing and are with the opposite sex???? I think it's stupid to cancel the prom because one girl wanted to bring her gf to the prom and wear a tux, what ever happened to freedom of choice in this world? I'm sooo glad that i live in Australia where we dont really care what a persons sex life intails as long as their happy and not interfering in our lives. I think ppl tend to get a little narrow minded when it comes to same sex relationships and that gives me the shits, i have asked it before and i'll continue to ask it until someone can give me an answer, how would all the straight ppl feel if they were told that they are wrong and discusting and going against the word of god because they love someone of the opposite sex?, how would they feel if they were told that they could'nt go to the prom because it might upset the other students?, and how they feel if they had to fight for their rights just to marry the person that they love?

Jess - posted on 04/06/2010

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Thats really sad, but I don't think she really has a legal leg to stand on. The school re-instated their prom and the other parents had already arranged this private funtion in the meantime. This girl was not the only one not invited, some special needs children were excluded too. But since is was a private function, I don't think they are legally requried to invite everyone.



So sadly I don't think this girl is going to get any closer on this one !

?? - posted on 04/06/2010

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Well, call me an vendictive bitch if you want but I'd be hiring Private Detectives, special journalists and I'd be ruining some lives myself if anyone ever tried to hurt / harm / humiliate my son like that. But seriously, there'd be lots of people wishing they had kept their mouths shut, because I'd be digging up dirt around anyone who disagree'd and I'd be making damn sure all the right people (or wrong people - depending on how ya wanna look at it) knew about their skeletons.

Jenny - posted on 04/06/2010

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Ok not feel bad for them, more like want to punch their parents in the face. I'm not normally a violent person but stunts like this make me lose my shit.

Jenny - posted on 04/06/2010

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I feel bad for the little bigots who have been brought up to not know any better and actually think they are on the side of good in this case. Way to stop the cycle of hate parents! Hellfire and brimstone to any group that tries to discriminate against my kid like that.

Sharon - posted on 04/06/2010

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See...THIS crap is why I hope none of my kids turn out to be gay. I have NOTHING against gays. But it is NOT an easy life. There are so many ways life can suck and this is one more, but it can be soooo devastating.



I feel so bad for her. I feel so bad for her mother. It must be breaking her heart that her daughter is hurting.



and i get sooo angry at those other parents and students who are sitting around smugly patting themselves on the backs - proud they managed to ruin one of lifes more cherished moments for this young girl... assholes.

Amie - posted on 04/06/2010

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OMG! That's horrible! I can't believe so many parents allowed that to happen! I'd be furious if anyone even suggested to me that one of my kids attended a function that excluded people for their sexual orientation. It's discrimination and it's wrong.

Sharon - posted on 04/06/2010

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That is friggen nasty. I hope she sues the pants off the school district.

Esther - posted on 04/06/2010

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UPDATE:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/...

"Last month, we covered the decision of a Mississippi public school to cancel its senior prom rather than let Constance McMillen, a lesbian student, bring a female date. At the time, the school urged parents to organize a "private event" in lieu of a prom.

According to several news sources, the parents heeded that advice, organizing a private prom for most of the school and tricking McMillen and her date into attending a separate, sparsely attended "fake prom" on the same evening. McMillen went public, telling her story to the Advocate:

A parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

"They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to."

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Could these people be any more disgusting, intolerant and bigotted?

[deleted account]

This was a topic of discussion yesterday with my 8th graders. THEY brought it up, not me! They just can't see the big deal about being gay or lesbian, and they also feel bad for the girl. They also agree that the girl is now the "biggest hated person" in the school because SHE cancelled the prom. Uh-no, the bigoted school board/administration cancelled the prom! Like the entire student body will instantly turn gay by watching this lesbian couple dance at the prom! Guess we all have equal right, but some people's rights are more equal than others. @@

Isobel - posted on 03/12/2010

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Yay Hotel guy! Boooo School system! That's a really sad story. I find it so hard to believe (especially living in Toronto...gay pride central) that this situation can still happen. :(

[deleted account]

A hotel owner in New Orleans is hosting a free prom for the students. I think he is providing transportation.

Patricia - posted on 03/12/2010

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What happened to the BULLYING POLICY the schools have their students sign...do the teachers and staff not have to sign them as well?

Iris - posted on 03/11/2010

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The reasons they give are ridiculous and can be argued very easily. The sad thing is that the poor girls are put out their as targets by the school staff and that I think is disgusting.

Krista - posted on 03/11/2010

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Exactly. "Now students, you must CONCENTRATE on your prom! There shall be no distractions from the covert groping, tearful breakups, drinking of rum in the parking lot, and female group dances to Beyonce's 'Single Ladies'! FOCUS, people!"

[deleted account]

Well, and also Krista, it annoys me that they're saying this could be a "distraction." It's a fucking dance-it's not like they're making out in math class.

[deleted account]

lol...Thanks, Dana. I spend a lot of time defending my state when we're all thought of as wrong-headed, redneck, conservatives, but then something like this happens to prove me otherwise. It's all backwards.

Dana - posted on 03/11/2010

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Completely ridiculous and how painful for these two girls. It makes me sick.

Krista - posted on 03/11/2010

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I just think it's crap when schools try to stamp out any and all individuality from their students because of that old scapegoat, "distraction". Of course students are going to be distracted by any sort of novelty, for a little while. Then they get over it, and it just becomes part of the scenery. In my sister's graduating class, there was this one girl with a 10-inch tall mohawk. It was awesome. Sure, it caused a sensation...for oh, about two days. After that, it was old news and nobody gave a damn. So yeah, if you've got two lesbians going to the prom, there might be a little bit of excitement when some of the more immature guys gawking at them, hoping to see some woman-on-woman kissing action. But after the first half-hour, those two would have been just another couple at the prom, slow dancing to Taylor Swift.

[deleted account]

*face palm* Sometimes-a lot of times-I'm embarassed to be from Mississippi. This is so damned ridiculous.

Tawny - posted on 03/11/2010

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I dont see what the big deal is I know girls who didn't get dates so they went together as dates. And yes they were not together as lesbians. But what is the difference there is no difference. So what if one of the girls dont want to wear a dress and wear a tux. I think people stress and get stupid around situations like this that isn't a big deal...

Krista - posted on 03/11/2010

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That's regoddamndiculous.



Education, safety and well-being? First of all, last time I checked, the prom isn't exactly an educational activity. Safety? Oooo...those oh-so-dangerous lesbians! They're a threat to our safety! Their rejection of the almighty penis will cause a rip in the space-time continuum, sucking all of Itawamba County into a black hole. And well-being? ZOMG, lesbianism is contagious!!! Having to see two girls dancing together will cause all of the female students to turn lesbian, resulting in all of the male students plummeting into a depression.



Asshats.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/11/2010

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So after all those petitions the students had they actually canceled it?!
*hangs head*
disgusting.

Sara - posted on 03/11/2010

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For the love of...

This just astounds me. Like it's not hard enough being gay, but now everyone is going to blame you for cancelling prom. If I were a parent in that school district, I'd be f-ing pissed.

Jessica - posted on 03/11/2010

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That is so sad. This will sound odd but the story actually made me think of Footloose, cept in that they just weren't aloud to dance and there held there own prom. Good for the girl sticking up for herself and her gf. I hope they end up getting a prom of some sort. I used to host parties for my theatre friends all the time, if I were there, I would throw them a prom.

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