ABERDEEN, Miss. (CBS/AP) Constance McMillen's request to bring her lesbian partner to the senior prom was just the straw that broke the school board's back, according to a Mississippi school district, which is now being sued by McMillen and the Civil Liberties Union to force them to declare the prom back on.
McMillen first approached the district with her request, and asked to (gasp) wear a tux, in December. There was an existing ban on same-sex dates at the school sponsored event, but McMillen hoped that officials would make an exception.
Instead, not only was McMillen told she couldn't bring her date but that she had to adhere to a gender-appropriate dress code as well.
Schools Superintendent Teresa McNeece testified in front of a federal judge Monday that officials had discussed not sponsoring the prom even before McMillen's rule-challenging request, and cited liability concerns over alcohol and drugs at a school sponsored event.
McNeece testified that the final decision to cancel the prom came as a result of the controversy surrounding McMillen's request.
"We were being hounded every day. Our students were being hounded," McNeece said. "We were having a tough time of any bell-to-bell instruction."
ACLU lawyers disputed the level of disruption at the school, but also said that the disruption was the result of the school board's decision to cancel the prom, not due to McMillen's request.
McMillen testified the district's decision led to hostility toward her on campus. She said she left school early the day after the district's decision and didn't go at all the next day.
"There were so many dirty looks," McMillen said. "A lot of people didn't like me very much."
Area parents are organizing a prom that they say is open to everyone but McMillen says she hasn't been told about it.
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