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Hearing set in lesbian teen's suit to force prom + video

Mar 17, 2010 10:29:00 AM - thestate.com
School officials in a rural Mississippi county told a lesbian student to get "guys" to take her and her girlfriend to a high school prom and warned the girls against slow dancing with each other because that could "push people's buttons," according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Itawamba County School District and some officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School on behalf of Constance McMillen, 18, who wanted to escort her girlfriend to the prom and wear a tuxedo. A hearing is scheduled for Monday to hear an ACLU motion that seeks to force the district to hold the April 2 prom it canceled after McMillen made her requests.

In the court documents, McMillen said Rick Mitchell, the assistant principal at the school, told her she could not attend the prom with her girlfriend but they could go with "guys." Superintendent Teresa McNeece told the teen that the girls should attend the prom separately, had to wear dresses and couldn't slow dance with each other because that could "push people's buttons," according to court documents.

The school district last week said it wouldn't host the prom "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events." District officials said they hoped private citizens would sponsor a dance. The decision came on the same day the ACLU asked the district to act on McMillen's prom requests.

McMillen said she approached school officials weeks ago about wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom.

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