As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, a Mississippi school district has canceled this year’s prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School following the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) request that the school allow a lesbian couple to attend. The school cited “distractions to the educational process caused by recent events” as reason for canceling the event, but 18-year-old Constance McMillen, a lesbian who wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom, said the decision was based on “retaliation” for speaking out. Now, the ACLU will sue the high school, calling upon it to reinstate its prom for April 2:
The American Civil Liberties Union will sue a Mississippi high school after it canceled its prom this year rather than let a lesbian student bring her girlfriend as a date. The suit in the U.S. district court for northern Mississippi calls for Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton to reinstate the prom on April 2.
“All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student,” Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old senior, said in a statement on Thursday. “But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly. This isn’t just about me and my rights anymore — now I’m fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom.” [...]
“Itawamba school officials are trying to turn Constance into the villain who called the whole thing off, and that just isn’t what happened,” said Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi. “She’s fighting for everyone to be able to enjoy the prom. The government, and that includes public schools, can’t censor someone’s free expression just because some other person might not like it.”
If the school refuses to reinstate its prom, the students have another option. After hearing about the students’ predicament, a New Orleans hotel owner has offered to pay for the students to come to New Orleans and use one of his hotel facilities for their prom.