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
“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
A February 5 memo addressed to junior
and senior students stated a prom date “must be of the opposite
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.”