News (USA)

School district cancels prom to prevent lesbian student from bring girlfriend

School district cancels prom to prevent lesbian student from bring girlfriend
(Family photo via ACLU Mississippi)

A Mississippi high school has called off the annual senior prom after a lesbian student demanded she be allowed to bring her girlfriend.

The Itawamba County school board announced Wednesday it would cancel the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom, after the ACLU demanded the district change its policy requiring only opposite-sex prom dates.

“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 in a statement released through the district’s attorney. “It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone,” the message concluded.

School officials told Constance McMillen, 18, last month that she could not bring her sophomore girlfriend to the prom and also told her she could not wear a tuxedo.

McMillen contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, which earlier this month issued a letter (PDF) demanding the school change its policy.

The letter gave the district until today to decide on a course of action.

The ACLU said it receives up to 10 complaints a year from gay and lesbian students who feel they’ve been discriminated against.

The issue is now a topic on Capitol Hill. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., has introduced federal legislation making discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation illegal.

More at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

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