Miss. School Officials End Prom Over Lesbian Couple
A northern Mississippi high school has canceled its annual prom dance rather than allow a lesbian student attend with her girlfriend, the AP reported.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Itawamba County School District announced the cancellation of the Itawamba Agricultural High School (IAHS) prom dance for junior and senior students.
“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.
The board made its decision after the ACLU of Mississippi had demanded a lesbian student be allowed to bring her girlfriend.
Constance McMillen, 18, contacted the ACLU after school officials told her she could not attend the dance with her girlfriend, also a student at IAHS, and that if they arrived separately but slow-danced together they might be kicked out. Officials also told McMillen she could not wear a tuxedo to the event.
A February 5 memo addressed to junior and senior students stated a prom date “must be of the opposite sex.”
In a March 2 letter addressed to Teresa McNeece, superintendent of education for the district, and IAHS Principal Trae Wiygul, the ACLU demanded a remedy by Wednesday.
“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.
Instead, the district canceled the prom, saying it hoped “that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors.”