Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to wreck prom night if you’re gay: just ask to attend

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Constance McMillen
Constance McMillen, lesbian prom-wrecker
(Yeah, that was sarcastic)

These sorts of stories are just both saddening and infuriating, when schools refuse to grant students elementary rights and rather choose to push ridiculous and discriminatory policies – and irrational punishments.

JACKSON, Miss. — A northern Mississippi school district will not be hosting a high school prom this spring after a lesbian student asked 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 Civili Liberties Union.

The student, 18-year-old high school senior Constance McMillen, said it 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."


"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."

You know, school officials really need to learn to come up with some less transparently dishonest nonsense when they try to cover their asses. It’s quite obvious that McMillen is correct when she says that this is little more than retaliation against her. What’s especially unfair and cruel about the school board’s move is that not only have the students been cheated out of an event that most will have looked forward to for their entire senior year, which will be bad enough in itself, but in addition, it’s McMillen (and possibly her girlfriend as well) who will take the blame and the brunt of the student body’s anger.

It’s almost clever, really, how the school board managed to both screw everyone over over their own intolerance, and subsequently avoid the blame for it, passing it on to that lesbian who had the gall to stand for her student rights and try and bring her girlfriend to what might have been the best night of their lives so far.

This sort of blatant discrimination is practically par for the course in the Bible Belt, of course, but it’s still stunning that this particular school board showed both such a lack of sensibility, and above all, a lack of legal common sense. All they’ve done here, other than piss a lot of students off and make McMillen’s life miserable for a while, is open up a giant can of worms, especially now that the ACLU is involved. From what I’ve heard, they aren’t known to let such a challenge go down so easily. All that the Itawamba County school district has done is jump headfirst into a shitload of legal trouble.

And they deserve it.

(via Blag Hag)