Yesterday, Constance McMillen appeared in federal court and asked a judge to reinstate her school’s prom after administrators called it off when she challenged the ban on same-sex couples at the dance. “I feel like I had the right to go to the prom just like someone straight,” McMillen said. School officials have repeatedly said that they canceled the prom because of “distractions to the educational process” caused by McMillen’s request, although upon cross-examination at the trial, officials “conceded no classes were canceled before or after the school board decision.” School administrators had suggested that a private organization could instead host an alternative prom, but the Clarion-Ledger reports that McMillen has even been excluded from that event:
The school board’s response states parents have organized a private prom at a furniture mart in nearby Tupleo. [...]
“Constance has not been invited, so it is clear to me that what is happening is that the school has encouraged a private prom that is not open to all the students,” she [ACLU attorney Christine Sun] said. “That’s what Constance is fighting for — a prom where everyone can go.”
McMillen said that when she returned to school after administrators had canceled the prom, she received some “some unfriendly looks from classmates,” and one student told her, “Thanks for ruining my senior year.” U.S. District Court Judge Glen Davidson “did not say when he would rule on the request for an injunction, but he acknowledged ‘time is of the essence.’”
The website Tonic.com raised $30,000 for McMillen to attend college — the check was presented to her by tv host Ellen DeGeneres — and has offered the Mississippi student a summer internship.
,A high school in Georgia announced it would allow a gay student to bring his date to his high school prom. Although it had “never happened in this small Middle Georgia town,” Bleckley County High School Principal Michelle Masters said she had no right to say no. “As a principal, I don’t judge him. I’m taught not to judge. I have to push my own beliefs to the background,” she said. The student, 18-year-old Derrick Martin, said, “It’s standing up for the rights thing, especially after the Mississippi canceled prom.”
,Davidson has ruled that the school violated McMillen’s rights, but does not have to reinstate the prom.