OXFORD, Miss. (CN) – An 18-year-old lesbian in Itawamba County claims her high school violated her free-speech rights by canceling the prom after she asked to take her girlfriend and to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress.
Constance McMillen, a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School, filed suit in Federal Court, challenging the Itawamba County School District’s policy banning same-sex dates and its dress code requiring female students to wear dresses to prom.
Through her attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, McMillen argued that these policies violate her right to “peacefully express” that she’s a lesbian and that it’s appropriate for girls to wear tuxedos to prom.
She says she tried to “informally resolve these issues” by meeting with school officials, but administrators decided to cancel the event instead, “for the purpose of suppressing the viewpoint of Constance’s constitutionally protected speech.”
McMillen wants the federal court to declare the school’s policies unconstitutional and to block the school from cancelling the prom. She also demands a court order allowing her to wear a tuxedo and to take her sophomore girlfriend to the prom, plus $1 in nominal damages and legal costs.
Her attorney is Kristy Bennett with the ACLU of Mississippi.