Friday, March 12, 2010

All Dressed Up And No Prom To Go To

From the files of "What in the world is wrong with you?" and sub-filed under "Are you kidding me?" we go to the Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. It is there that we learn of a student, a one 18-year-old Constance McMillen, who wanted to go to the prom dressed in a tuxedo and escorting her girlfriend (who also attends the school). Now, granted, a woman wearing a tux isn't exactly typical prom wear for most of the girls, but I can't imagine that it would matter that much to someone. Who cares? At least she'll be wearing pants. (That's more than I can say for some of those at my prom.) And also granted, same sex dates to the prom aren't exactly the most mainstream thing that you're going to see, even in the year 2010. But I don't think that means that people are going to have a huge problem with it.

Turns out I was wrong on all counts. The wearing of the tux? Apparently, a very big deal to the school. The same-sex prom date? Apparently, a very big deal to the school as well. But, fortunately, the school realized that there really wasn't any way that they could ban or bar the student and her girlfriend from attending the prom together and wearing the attire that she desired. Because that would just be silly and cause a huge uproar if they did that. Yeah. That's why they just cancelled the entire prom. Wait. They did what now?

Correct. They cancelled the entire prom. Rather than allow this female student and her female date attend together and rather than allow one of the female students to wear a tux, the school decided that it would be the sensible thing to do to cancel the prom altogether. In a statement released by the boneheaded county board of education, it was explained that "Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year." Uh-huh.

Well, that's about a lame ass excuse if I've ever heard of one. The statement also said that "The school hoped that private citizens in the community would organize an event to replace the prom." I see. Leave the tux-wearing, teenage lesbian and her date for the community to deal with. OK, then. You know, I'm not thinking that the "educational process" in this school district is doing anybody any justice here. What is wrong with people?

According to those half-assing it over there at CNN (Have you watched CNN lately? You can't disagree with that lead-in if you're being honest.) the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the school claim that they are "...violating the student's First Amendment right to freedom of expression." While I agree that if they were holding the prom they would be doing that, they're not holding the prom, so they're not doing that. No, instead they're just being incredibly asinine and, unfortunately, you can't sue for stupidity.

Ms. McMillen issued the following statement: "All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student. But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly. This isn't just about me and my rights anymore -- now I'm fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom." I just want to point out that this girl never wanted this to turn into a big issue. According to CBS News "McMillen almost didn't return to school Thursday for fear of retribution by her classmates who had just lost their prom because of her. "My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am," McMillen said. "The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me to go on." That's brave. But you know what? I think not only is this going to help people later on, I think it's going to make for one hell of a prom.

Let me tell you something. If you think that word of this ridiculous incident has not spread like wildfire across this country and the Innerwebs, you are wrong. It has. And the majority of comments that I read (which isn't a lot because, let's face, most people who leave comments on blogs which are not this one, are mouth breathers, paste eaters and the like) all seem to have the same sentiment. Who cares? The other prominent reaction that I read is how asinine it was of the school to just cancel the prom. I don't think that it will be the private citizens in the community that are going to take over this prom. I think that it is going to be the prominent gay people in this country who are going to take over this prom.

If this goes the way that I predict it will, this is going to end up like Footloose, only way cooler. I can't imagine Ellen DeGeneres not stepping up and footing the bill for one hell of a prom for those kids from...where was it? BFE? Fulton, Mississippi, close enough. I'm hoping this will be big and I'm hoping that this will turn out positively. I don't see where the lawsuit has merit when there isn't even a prom any more. But I do see where I think we're at point where this is going to turn out OK. At least I hope so. I'd really like to be able to write a post in a couple of months reporting that those guys had one hell of a prom. What I'd like even more than that would be to write that someone from the school actually freaking apologized and said that they were wrong. Hey! I said it's what I'd like. I don't think it's happening. (You know, I went to click on the high school's website so that I could get a copy of their logo, and it appears that the school's website is no longer online at this time. They took the website for the entire school down?! Yeah, they're not apologizing any time soon. There must have been quite the flood of incoming email I'm guessing in order for them to have taken the website down. Amateurs.) But I have the feeling that one hell of a prom will be happening.

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