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  the last dance

Constance McMillen’s School Violated Her Rights, But Can’t Be Forced to Hold a Prom

A federal judge just ruled the Itawamba County school district in Mississippi cannot be legally required to hold a prom for its students — though Judge Glen H. Davidson did say the school violated Constance McMillen’s constitutional rights.

Interestingly, both sides are celebrating.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson denied the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction. He said he’ll still hold a trial, but he did not set a date, meaning any ruling would likely come too late to have the prom when it was originally scheduled. Davidson did say in his order that the district had violated McMillen’s constitutional rights by denying her request to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

“We consider this a victory,” said ACLU Mississippi legal director Kristy Bennett.

But Davidson said a private prom parents are now planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom. He wrote in his ruling that “requiring defendants to step back into a sponsorship role at this late date would only confuse and confound the community on the issue.”

Ben Griffith, the school district’s attorney, said his clients were pleased with the ruling. “What we’re looking at now is the fact that the case is still on the docket for a trial on the merits,” Griffith said.

By:           editor editor
On:           Mar 23, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • 8 Comments
    • PopSnap
      PopSnap

      Constance is my hero. thank you, Constance, on behalf of all gay teens in America.

      Mar 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnPoke
      JohnPoke

      http://www.macon.com/2010/03/23/1069261/bleckley-school-officials-allowing.html

      ^^Above article is about a gay 18 year old male high school student in Georgia… and they’re letting him take his boyfriend to the prom.

      Mississippi is just a sad state.

      Mar 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      In No 2, JohnPoke wrote, “Above article is about a gay 18 year old male high school student in Georgia… and they’re letting him take his boyfriend to the prom.”

      My guess is that the ridicule heaped on those morons in Mississippi had an effect – the principal in the Georgia case knew just what to expect and probably didn’t want to end up being ridiculed on national TV. Plus, there was a good excuse if any yokels complain: “I had no choice because there was no policy I could use to justify not allowing it.”

      Mar 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      I’m not sure I understand this. How are her civil rights violated if the school district didn’t have to go ahead with the prom? Doesn’t make sense to me.

      I personally would be more concerned about how these adults knew they would (a) make sure this girl was ostracized for sticking up for herself by CANCELLING the prom and (b) ostensibly were making sure no Gay kid would ever challenge authority again. It seems the judge would have addressed these issues – after all the school board should be accountable for how their decisions effect the youth they supposedly serve.

      Mar 24, 2010 at 8:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      I just read the Macon story – Hurray! I’m a lot older than the guy in the story but I’m wondering how he found a boyfriend in such a tiny town! Then again nobody had computers at home when I was his age!

      It was really nice to read this happy news following this article.

      Mar 24, 2010 at 8:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 4 · Jaroslaw
      I’m not sure I understand this. How are her civil rights violated if the school district didn’t have to go ahead with the prom? Doesn’t make sense to me.
      ____________

      Because they singled out her being a lesbian with a date as the reason the school sponsored prom was cancelled. Imagine if an even in a public school was cancelled because they didn’t want a mixed race couple to attend. Same line of reasoning from the judge.

      Mar 24, 2010 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      It’s also interesting regarding the story in Macon…that at first he was told no, and then as soon as that decision in Mississippi came out he was told yes. LOL nice!

      Mar 24, 2010 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      o. 4 · Jaroslaw “I’m not sure I understand this. How are her civil rights violated if the school district didn’t have to go ahead with the prom? Doesn’t make sense to me.”

      It makes sense if you read the Yahoo article that QUEERTY linked to: “U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson refused the American Civil Liberties Union’s demand to force the Itawamba County school district to put on the April 2 prom. However, he said canceling it did violate 18-year-old Constance McMillen’s rights and that he would hold a trial on the issue.” I.e., the judge wants to go into the matter in more detail than he could if he made an immediate decision.

      Originally ( http://www.queerty.com/why-cant-this-mississippi-teen-bring-a-date-to-prom-because-she-wants-to-bring-her-girlfriend-and-wear-a-tux-20100303/ ), the school district told McMillen that she could not wear a tuxedo or bring her girlfriend as a date, and the ACLU sued for a civil rights violation, so there are multiple civil rights violations to consider.

      Mar 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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