Wyoming school changes antigay dance policy
December 05 2003 12:00 AM ET
Students in Big Piney, Wyo., can now attend high school dances with a person of the same sex thanks to the efforts of a heterosexual honors student concerned about the treatment of gays and lesbians. The "administrative procedure" that prohibited senior Amanda Blair and her female date from attending the Big Piney High School homecoming dance in September has been revoked, Sublette County School District 9 superintendent Weldon Shelley said. But Blair's mother said Tuesday that the district has not apologized and should adopt a written policy allowing students to bring a date of either gender.
When Blair showed up at the dance with her date, both young women were refused admission to the dance she had helped organize, and they were escorted from school property by deputies from the Sublette County Sheriff's Office. Blair enlisted help from the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.
Blair has said she took the action to support gays and lesbians. "We've had people in our school that have been gay and lesbian," she said. "I think it would be a lot harder if I were a lesbian to do this for myself. I'm helping those who are."
The ACLU sent a letter in November demanding that the policy be lifted, citing a 1980 federal case in Rhode Island that said people who bring same-sex dates to school dances are protected under the free expression provisions of the First Amendment.