Court Rules School Violated Lesbian’s Constitutional Rights in Canceling Prom But Declines To Order Relief

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson has ruled that Itawamba Agricultural High School did violate the constitutional rights of Constance McMillen, 18, in canceling her class prom when she asked to attend with her girlfriend while wearing a tuxedo. However, the court declined to order that the school must hold the prom.

In the 12-page order below, Davidson ruled that “The court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.”

He declined the motion for an injunction to force the holding of the prom, noting “Defendants testified that a parent-sponsored prom, which is open to all IAHS students, has been planned and is scheduled for April 2, 2010. Though the details of the ‘private’ prom are unknown to the court, defendants have made representations, upon which this court relies, that all IAHS students, including the plaintiff, are welcome and encouraged to attend.”

What is astonishing to me is the lesson these teachers have given their students of intolerance and arbitrary uses of power — not to mention homophobia. It will be interesting if anyone is held responsible for such a breach of constitutional rights.

Here is the opinion: Prom opinion

For the full story, click here.

33 thoughts on “Court Rules School Violated Lesbian’s Constitutional Rights in Canceling Prom But Declines To Order Relief”

  1. Canadian Eh,

    I might have in my defense as well. But this just seemed so appropriate under the circumstances. I guess what lower case jim does not understand is between lesbian, its not about sex. It is the bond between the women. I as Charlie Harper, aka Charlie Sheen fka Carlos Irwin Sheen, would say, I like to see that.

  2. In AY’s defence, I am sure that he would have made the same comment had the girl been straight….he’s just a dirty elf :D.
    BTW, humour in the light of tragedy is good therapy, those who take every little comment this seriously find themselves eventually in need of serious help or BP medications.

  3. jim,

    since i don’t know you and at this point, don’t really care. You could have a load of crap and it makes no difference to me what you have in your WARES.

  4. Bryon,

    I suppose everyone, everything has its opposite. I try and find humor in such a lack luster world. I don’t suppose that it has something to do with age. As I am reading a book about T.R. Roosevelt and he spells out doom and gloom. Maybe it is just hypocrisy repeating itself or maybe history.

    When I am asked how many brothers and sisters I have I say three, one of each. Her partner, stopped, looked at me and then started laughing.

  5. Jim:

    how many carpet munching sisters on one blog? Isn’t it rather odd that both you and AY have one?

    What are the odds on that and such a diverse difference of opinion. Who would have thought

  6. lower case jim,

    Let me get this straight. It is ok for you to want me to shut up, and ok for you to tell me I must as you are offended. YES JUST AS IT IS OK FOR YOU TO DENIGRATE THE UNFORTUNATE, JUST DON’T EXPECT NOT TO GET CALLED ON IT.

    Hmm, guess you don’t know me or my toungue in cheek humor. Get a life and realize that I intend no offense.DO YOU THINK THE GIRL YOU WERE MAKING FUN OF WOULD FIND IT HUMOUROUS? And if you found this offensive you better check your underware. UNDER WHAT WOULD I FIND MY WARES?

    I have a carpet munching sister ok? I actually like her and don’t use her for political gain. You? YOU JUST USE OTHER PEOPLES SISTERS FOR CHEAP LAUGHS.
    I am not shouting with the caps.

  7. lower case jim,

    Let me get this straight. It is ok for you to want me to shut up, and ok for you to tell me I must as you are offended.

    Hmm, guess you don’t know me or my toungue in cheek humor. Get a life and realize that I intend no offense. And if you found this offensive you better check your underware.

    I have a carpet munching sister ok? I actually like her and don’t use her for political gain. You?

  8. i had no problem understanding what he was trying to do and i did not like it. children are not fodder for small minded homophobic misogynists.
    where does it say that all liberal have to be tolerant of ignorance?
    i chose not to ignore it. using someones sexuality and their plight of being discriminated against as the means for a joke is a personal attack and as i am not a liberal who turns the other cheek gave it back.
    thats the problem these days, people are too scared to actually call people to account for thier behavior. torture, war crimes, rascism, economic fraud and nobody cares as long as we don’t call each other names.

  9. Poor AY … at 9:00 am he’s Lenny Bruce and sure enough … “… liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.”

    I read his comment and decided to take it the other way, i.e. The girl was winning the fight … like all good art, I guess the beauty or offense of his comment is in the eye of the beholder.

    At any rate … kudos to the young girl who asked permission and didn’t just show up at the event and kudos to the group of parents who righted the wrong done by the the administrators of Itawamba Agricultural High School.

    I looked the school up and their football team is called the “Indians” … perhaps Native Americans would like to join in the melee.

  10. Jim,

    Why don’t you try to attack what AY said, instead of personally attacking him?

    I enjoy a bit of innuendo. I thought AY’s comment could have been taken as being a bit off color, but you had to “get it” before you could consider it to be so. If you didn’t like it, you could have ignored it (as most do when they don’t think something is funny), or you could have stated that you didn’t think it was approrpiate in light of the sensitivty of the subject matter. The latter would have been effective and would have earned you much more respect.

  11. jim, there are no subjects, individuals, ethnic or racial groups, sexual identities, ideologies, religious beliefs, political views, heroes, villians or matters of personal hygiene which are, or ought to be, immune from scorn, ridicule, humor, sarcasm or derision. And that, as you yourself have noted, includes one’s mom.

  12. What is astonishing to me is the lesson these teachers have given their students of intolerance and arbitrary uses of power…

    Finally, a valuable real-world learning for these students. The sooner they learn how government works, the better.

  13. i did not eliminate his comment thereby negating his freedom of expression. i only exercised my own freedom of expression stating that he is a douchebag, which knowing his mom the way i do know it to be true.
    making fun of others is too easy. making fun of someone who has been discrimanted against is just wrong.

  14. I wonder what damages the student could seek, and be awarded, if any. It would probably be difficult, if not impossible to establish actual damages, but is that relevant when the state violates your civil rights, as the judge has opined in his decision.

    I don’t know, I’m really just asking.

  15. Jimbo,

    I’ll staunchly defend AY’s right to be offensive for a couple of reasons.

    1) This is a forum dedicated to free speech. The corollary to free speech is the right to ignore. Learn to use it.

    2) He’s funny. And time and again he’s shown a totally unbiased willingness to make fun of any and everybody – equal treatment in action. Fair is fair and comedy is a rough game. It’s also a game that if you can’t laugh at yourself (also something AY has time and again demonstrated), then you should really investigate acquiring a sense of humor. “Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.” – Oscar Wilde

    3) I ran his comment by a lesbian friend of mine and she thought it was funny too. If the tangential target of a joke considers it funny, then your protestations are moot.

    And I bid you good day.

  16. Hey Jimmie,

    Did you learn to spell so well in alternative education? I am curious, are you gay?

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