Lesbian Teen Can Attend Offsite Prom

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba County Agricultural High School, reads her many messages from Facebook and Myspace concerning her desire to attend her senior prom with a same-sex date and in a tuxedo, March 11, 2010, at her father's house in Fulton, Miss.
AP Photo/Matthew Sharpe
An attorney says a lesbian student who sued a Mississippi school over its policy banning same-sex prom dates can bring her girlfriend to a privately sponsored dance.

Itawamba County school board attorney Michele Floyd said Tuesday that 18-year-old Constance McMillen can escort her girlfriend to the dance Friday at the Fulton Country Club.

The private prom replaces one the school district canceled rather than let McMillen wear a tuxedo and bring her girlfriend, who is also a student at Itawamba Agricultural High School.

A federal judge ruled last week that the district's actions violated McMillen's constitutional rights, but he didn't reinstate the school prom.

He said he would hold a trial on the matter later.

Earlier this week, students at a California school said that if McMillen could not attend her own prom, they would invite her to theirs.

Itawamba officials said they felt not hosting the prom was the best decision "after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students." Superintendent Teresa McNeece said it was "a no-win situation."


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McMillen first approached school officials about bringing her girlfriend in December, and again in February. Same-sex prom dates had been banned in the past, but she had hoped school officials would grant her request.

"I thought maybe the policy had been in place for a different reason," McMillen testified at a hearing on the ACLU lawsuit. "I wanted to let them know how it made me feel. I felt like I couldn't go to the prom."

She was told two girls couldn't attend together and she wouldn't be allowed to wear a tuxedo, court documents show. The ACLU issued a demand letter earlier this month and the district responded by canceling the event. McMillen, who lives with her grandmother and has a 3.8 grade point average, has kept her 16-year-old girlfriend out of the spotlight at the request of the girl's parents.