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ACLU Tackles McMillen Decoy Prom

ACLU Tackles McMillen Decoy Prom


The American Civil Liberties Union filed papers Wednesday in federal court on behalf of Constance McMillen, the lesbian high-school student who was sent to a decoy prom while her classmates were at a private prom 30 miles away.

The suit claims the Itawamba County School District violated McMillen's free speech rights and that canceling the prom rather than letting her attend with her girlfriend has subjected the student to humiliation and harassment.

"I really hoped that prom night would make all that I've been through worth it, then April 2 came and those hopes went out the window," McMillen said. "All I ever wanted was to go to my school prom with my classmates and my date, like anyone else, and instead I was the target of a mean, nasty joke."

Read more on the suit from the National Center for Lesbian Rights blog:

"On March 23, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi issued a preliminary ruling in McMillen's case that school officials violated McMillen's First Amendment rights when it canceled the high school prom rather than let McMillen attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo. The court stopped short of ordering Itawamba Agricultural High School (IAHS) to put the school prom back on the calendar relying on assurances that an alternative 'private' prom being planned by parents would be open to all students, including McMillen.

"However, according to legal papers, at a meeting with school officials, parents then decided to cancel that private prom without notifying McMillen because they did not want to allow McMillen to attend, instead organizing a 'decoy' prom for McMillen and her date and still another prom for the rest of the class. McMillen and her date then attended the event the school had told her was 'the prom for juniors and seniors' on April 2, where they found only seven other students attending. Principal Trae Wiygul and several school staff members were supervising that event while most of McMillen's classmates were at the other prom in Evergreen, Mississippi."

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