Main | Thursday, March 11, 2010

ACLU Sues Mississippi School Board For Canceling Prom Over Lesbian Attendance

The ACLU has filed suit in federal court demanding that a Mississippi school board rescind their decision to cancel a high school prom rather than allow a lesbian student to attend with her female date.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today against a Mississippi High School that has canceled prom rather than let a lesbian high school student attend the prom with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo to the event. In papers filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, the ACLU asks the court to reinstate the prom for all students at the school and charges Itawamba County School District officials are violating Constance McMillen’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

“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 McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. “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.” Today’s filing comes after Itawamba County School District issued a statement yesterday saying they were canceling prom, following a letter from the ACLU and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition demanding that they reverse their decision. McMillen said that before that happened, school officials had told her that she could not arrive at the prom with her girlfriend, also a student at IAHS, and that they might be thrown out if any other students complained about their presence at the April 2 event.
The ACLU is asking for a temporary injunction ordering the school to reinstate the prom, allow the girls to attend, and allow Constance McMillen to wear a tuxedo. Join the Constance McMillen Facebook support group.

UPDATE: You can make a tax-deductible donation to support Constance's ACLU LGBT Project team.

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