It’s not that Constance McMillen’s classmates hate the girl, you see. The reason they had their own prom and purposefully sent Constance to the “official” (ruse) event was because they were tired of all her drama. But it’s difficult for us to explain, so let’s let classmate Lindsey Begley speak in her own words.
Writing in one comments thread, Begley tried this one out:
**Open Minded Readers Only**
I am a senior at IAHS, and I’ve known Constance for the last 6 years. Please hear our side of the story before you decide on our fate.
The party we had in Evergreen (the county neighborhood I live in) is 30 mins away from the school. we rented out the community center, hired vendors, decorated, and our parents ran the security/chaperone staff- but it wasn’t prom. Prom was at the country club where constance and 7 other students were. The reason the senior class boycotted the actual prom was not because we hate gays. We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. We also wanted to do it without the main cause of the lousy. What people are failing to realize is that much of the fault of this whole stink lies with Constance, not her mistreatment by the school district, but her crazy-reckless need for attention. It sounds mean and horrible and like we planned it all specifically to embarrass Constance, but we didn’t. We let her have her prom with her girlfriend and her tuxedo and we went to party it up in the “boondocks” not because we wanted her rights violated, but so we could salvage what has turned into a total fiasco. As a whole we didn’t support her decision to throw the district under the bus, or her insinuations that we’re all just a bunch ‘a hicks driving around in beater pick up trucks spitting tobacco and burning crosses. IAHS is one of the top schools in the state and I’m proud of that, and I’m proud that we took a stand and just said you know what? forget it, we have just as much right as you do to have a party for ourselves. So we did, and now we’re getting flack because poor Connie’s ego got a bit of bruising. She’s playing the lesbian card to prove she ALWAYS gets what she wants. This time, we didn’t just let her.
Take it as you will, because I’m sure it sounds like we faked her out, but understand this- the decision NOT to attend prom had nothing to do with the school or with Constance’s sexual preferences; it had everything to do with proving we weren’t going to let her and the ACLU steamroll us into doing what Constance wanted. We flexed the muscle of the majority and we’ll suffer the consequences.
See, it’s Constance’s fault. Here she was, demanding to be treated like every other student, and it just got in the way of the kids having a good time!
Shortly thereafter, Begley wrote this, clearing up any confusion over her previous remarks:
Thanks to everyone who has responded to my post from earlier this evening. First want to apologize for the misrepresentation of the motives behind our decision. Secondly, I want to apologize for any discomfort I must have caused all you revolutionaries who are working so hard to bring change to such a small minded place as Itawamba- but do me one favor. Please, do not assume that every graduate from IAHS is stupid, incompetent as I seem to all of you. I ask that you forgive my very emotional attempt at defending my home. I personally believe that the whole thing has turned into a tempest in a teacup, so to speak, and I wish now that things could have been changed. Again, I ask you though please do not sterotype my school, county, state, or region based on what I have said.
And she wasn’t the only one proud of excluding a classmate. Other students took to Facebook to gossip about their stunt.
If anything is clear, it’s that Itawamba Agricultural High School suffers from an educational deficit, because the entire civil rights era seems to have been lost on these students. Absent from their remarks is any notion that there was a time, in very recent history, that these excuses were used to keep white and black students from attending the same schools (and dances).
There will come a day when some of these students, whether they’re mid-way through college or breastfeeding their second son, look back on this outcasting exercise and come to regret what they did to a fellow human being. Many others, however, will not. And they, not Constance, are who we truly feel bad for.