ACLU Investigating Fake Prom

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com April 05 2010 2:00 PM ET

To prevent Constance McMillen from bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

"They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to."

Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. "It hurts my feelings," McMillen says.

Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. "They had the time of their lives," McMillen says. "That's the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn't have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom]."

In March, after the Itawamba County School District refused to allow McMillen to bring a female date to the prom, the district canceled the event altogether. McMillen and her lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union challenged that decision in court, and a judge ruled the district could not bar McMillen and her date.

The judge declined to force the school district to hold the prom because a parent-sponsored, private prom was being organized — and the understanding was that McMillen and her date were invited to that event. But Hampton says McMillen was never invited and organizers made it very difficult for her to find information on the time and location. That prom was later mysteriously canceled, with the Friday night event at the country club officially replacing it.