Prom cancellation prompts ACLU to file federal suit against MS school board

Legal News for Mississippi Civil Rights Attorneys. ACLU seeks court order for Mississippi school to hold prom and allow lesbian student to bring girlfriend, wear tux.

Civil rights attorney alerts- A Mississippi school board was sued by the ACLU of Mississippi after a high school prom was seemingly canceled to prevent same-sex dates from attending.

Jackson, MS– The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi school board after a decision was made to cancel the high school prom. The Itawamba County School District’s refusal to change their policy on allowing same-sex dates to be admitted to the dance prompted their decision to cancel the prom altogether. The suit, filed in federal court on Thursday, March 11, 2010, contended the school board violated a student’s First Amendment right to free expression, according to information provided by USA Today.

Itawamba Agricultural High School senior Constance McMillen, 18, apparently contacted the ACLU after receiving notice that she would not be permitted to bring her girlfriend to the prom, let alone where a tuxedo, as she initially planned on doing. Though McMillen was allegedly blamed by some students for the prom’s cancellation, she has the support of her friends as well as over 38,000 fans on a ACLU Facebook group. The owner of a New Orleans hotel, Sean Cummings, has even offered to accommodate the students by having buses transport students to the city for an alternative prom, free of charge.

Although the school district would not comment on pending litigation, they reportedly noted that the disputes concerning the situation caused “distractions to the educational process”. According to a lawyer with the ACLU, “”It’s shameful and cowardly of the school district to have canceled the prom and to try to blame Constance, who’s only standing up for herself… We will fight tooth and nail for the prom to be reinstated for all students.” On the other hand, Texas resident 60-year-old Marillyn Miears believed otherwise, stating, “It is a sin in God’s eyes to begin with… If they can’t bring the opposite sex to the prom, then they don’t need to be there.” The lawsuit seeks the reversal of the school district’s decision to cancel the dance, initially set for April 2, 2010.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Mississippi Civil Rights Lawyers.