We’d Rather Cancel the Prom Than Let a Girl Bring a Female Date

This is the sentiment evoked by one Mississippi school that, this week, decided to cancel its annual prom rather than let a young female student, who self-identifies as lesbian, bring her partner to the prom.

On Top Magazine reports:

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 senior students.

“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.


The student in question, Constance McMillen, 18, was informed by a February 5 memo to all students that dates must be “of the opposite sex.” McMillen was also told that if she arrived separately but then slow-danced with her girlfriend, she and her partner could be asked to leave the dance. Officials also told McMillen she would not be able to wear a tuxedo to the event. After appealing to the school, McMillen sort the help of the ACLU, at which point the ACLU contacted the school, calling this a matter of fundamental rights:

“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.”

The school board decided not to grant this request and has instead said that it is the board’s hope that students will hold a private dance.

Meanwhile, Constance McMillen has responded to the school board’s actions by saying that she fears that this decision will impact her school life negatively:


“Oh, my God. That’s really messed up because the message they are sending is that if they have to let gay people go to prom that they are not going to have one,” she said. “A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this.

McMillen is accurate in her assessment. The school board has chosen to subject McMillen to the hostility of her fellow classmates by canceling the prom rather than allowing her to attend with her girlfriend who also goes to the school. Either she now backs down, or she faces potential bullying and a negative school experience. What the board has done shows a casual disregard for their responsibility toward McMillen as a pupil at the school, and their requirement to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

Essentially, they have failed her in this regard. And by brushing this off as “distractions to the educational process” they have overlooked what it is that they are teaching here: that discriminating against gay and lesbian people is acceptable. 

The ACLU has now sent a further letter asking the board to reconsider its decision. As yet, the school board has not responded.

UPDATE 1: THE ACLU has filed a complaint in federal court stating that the board’s actions are a direct violation of Constance McMillen’s rights. You can read more about the complaint by clicking here.

UPDATE 2: Sean Cummings, a New Orleans hotel owner, has offered to host the prom for Ms. McMillen and her peers. You can read more here.

UPDATE 3 – New Blog Post!  A Thank You from Constance McMillen.

UPDATE 4 – New Blog Post! Parents Organize a Private Prom but Exclude Lesbian Teenager.

UPDATE (24 March, 2010) – New Blog Post!  A Tale of Two Proms: Court Rules in Favor of McMillen, Georgia Teen Kicked Out of Home Over Gay Prom Date

Take Action!
Care2 member Cheryl Noffsinger has created a petition addressed to the school board that demands that they reverse their decision. Click here to sign it.

You can also contact the school directly and let them know you support Constance McMillen’s right to bring her date to the prom. Click here for more information. A big thank you to reader Melissa Elaine Gacuzana for pointing to this action. 

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to misocrazy.


Anders Jonsson
Anders Jonsson4 years ago

In some places Homophobia thrives. Very sad! And Ridiculous!

Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago


Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Rhianna T.
Rhianna T7 years ago

if you discriminate you should than get the same handed back
what are we doing to our kids this judge wants kkk and beatings for girls these kids will get their revenge this is hate teach hate and you will be hated, show a kid evil and they will show you just how effectively evil they can be
will these morons find their satisfaction at the wrong end of the weapon they used against their kids
12:18 pm PDT, Apr 10, Zimmery Harvey, Pennsylvania Delete Signature Delete
I have personal knowledge and evidence of the very collusion and corruption you speak of in this small untested community of Washburn County, Wisconsin. I would like to hear of others' trips through the looking glass of harrington's "wonderland. Alice's fantasy cannot even hold a candle to his. There were numerous times when I simply could not believe he made the statements he did. Some so bizarre and far from what the evidence proclaimed, I thought he was joking. I quickly realized however, that he is not a jokester, but a racist, and makes no secret of it, on or off the record. I assure you, the stories would make for a three part mini-series on Hard Evidence, 48 Hours, or 60 minutes. I wish anyone having to seek justice or the truth in this arena, have God's grace and help throughout your ordeal. Remember always, God is great, and the truth will never take a back seat to a lie. Keep your faith. Respectfully signed. ZOH

Roger R.
Past Member 7 years ago

Mississippi is #49 on best educated out of the US 50 states.
(www.statemaster.com) and crime.....well, let's just say it plays along with the brains there.....just low class ignorant and uneducated school boards and their narrow minority views.
Move out.....it's normal in other places!

DORIS L7 years ago

Is ignorance bliss?

Nancy Bolerjack
nancy Bolerjack7 years ago

WOW, EVERYONE SEEMS QUITE RADICAL ON HERE.. SHAME ON THOSE WHO JUDGE. iT ISN'T YOUR POSITION IN LIFE TO TAKE ON THAT RIGHT. it was a dance people, it wasn't meant to be anything else.. calm down and mind your own lifestyle.....

mary k.
mary k7 years ago

Thank you George I had a very nice Easte. I hope you did as well. People who rant and rave aren't really all there, so you are right we should pray for them, and each other. Have a great day:)

George M.
George M M7 years ago

mark k. said: "George you really are attacking Tim. we are supposed to show compassion towards one another. All of us, not just you."
Mary K., Thank you for your kind considerations regarding Tim, aka several different aliases. Out of the roughly 990 posts, this person has attacked everyone on this board incessantly, by not only being rude, but extremely unintelligent and arrogant. While I certainly agree we should try to treat each other with due respect, said Oklahoma poster has gone quite over the edge to make everyone except himself look like a complete idiot. This was not of our doing... Mr. Tim, Timm, Timmm, John S/W/U, Unqueer/Harry Hook, et al, receives all the credit in this instance.
On the surface, I agree with you... respect is in due order. If you take the time to read the rants of the above aliases, I think you would agree that this guygal is two sandwiches short of a picnic!
Regarding your advice, I will do my best but I'm not betting the rent that things will change on Mr. XXX's part. Pray for him.
I hope your Easter was happy!
Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

Pama L.
Pama L7 years ago

I being a Lesbian and proud of it, believe that if the girl would have just gone to the prom with her date and not ask permission to the adults, none of this would have happened. This would never have gotten in the news. You don't ask permission on something like this if you are not doing anything wrong. The girl must have felt like it was wrong or other wise she would not have asked permission. None of the other students had to ask permission did they?