Constance McMillen, America’s Prom Queen who successfully sued her Itawamba High School after its snide campaign to bar her from attending prom with her girlfriend, was all set to attend another Mississippi school’s prom on Saturday — to protest the school’s lax attitude toward homophobic bullying taking place inside its hallways. Oh, and administrators’ alleged plan to block a gay student from bringing another boy to the event. Walnut Attendance Center is hosting its prom at Northeast Mississippi Community College’s Booneville campus, where, would you believe it, Constance now goes to college, making it an easy trip for the now-experienced student warrior. But the rampant homophobia in the northern Mississippi town of Walnut was also hard to ignore: Signs featuring anti-gay slurs have gone up in the area. But on Thursday, Constance & Co. called off their planned attendance.
The Clarion Ledger reports on the fracas:
McMillen and some residents of Walnut, a town of fewer than 800 in Tippah County, said there were signs bearing expletives and anti-gay slurs posted around town. School Principal Jay McCoy, however, denied that any of the signs were posted inside the school. McMillen said Thursday a female friend was mentioned in some of the signs that allegedly were posted in various locations in Walnut. “These kids are so scared of not just physical bullying, but (the fact that) people are posting signs around the town, and other people are allowing it,” McMillen said.
[…]When the group of teens first decided to attend the event, McMillen said she had heard the school still had a policy against bringing same-sex dates to the prom. “After everything I went through last year, I wanted to talk to the principal about it,” McMillen said. “Your kid doesn’t want to feel out of place or rejected just because they’re gay,” McMillen said. “You don’t want them to feel like they’re not a person.”
However, members of the community started objecting to her attendance, she said. “People (were) telling their kids they can’t go because I’m going to be there,” McMillen said, adding she was told by some involved they didn’t have a problem with same-sex dates, but with her.
But before Constance decided not to show up at the school’s prom (as the guest of a friend of a friend), she entered into all too familiar territory: Rather than let their kids to go the school’s official prom that would have actual homosexuals, parents organized a separate event. Just like Itawamba’s parents did.
Erica Rixie, a 16-year-old junior at the school, said a parent-sponsored prom was created after students learned McMillen planned to attend the school prom. Both proms were set for the same night. Rixie said the parent-sponsored prom was canceled later Thursday afternoon after McMillen and the other gay students decided not to attend the Walnut prom. Students at the school already were upset over earlier news that a gay student wanted to bring his boyfriend to the prom, Rixie said. Rixie said she had planned to attend the parent-sponsored prom, in part because of McMillen’s planned attendance at the school event.
It’s unclear why Constance — who insists she told only the principal and her friends about her planned attendance — and other gay teens decided not to go to Walnut’s prom. But perhaps it was the principal’s guarantee that gay students would be allowed to bring same-sex dates. That Constance was willing to be the date of a high school girl, however, shows this tough chick isn’t done fighting to keep gay kids safe just because she’s gone off to college.