Friday, April 9, 2010

Fake Prom, Real Discrimination

Sadly, the Constance McMillen saga continues. Constance was recently thrust into the national spotlight when she succesfully challenged the Itawamba County School District’s decision to cancel the senior prom because she planned to attend with her girlfriend.

The judge did not force the school district to reinstate the event because a private prom was being organized by parents. All seemed to be well, until last week, when Constance asked another student for the details about the alternate prom. She was told it was being held at a country club.

When Constance and her date showed up at the country club Friday evening, only five other students were in attendance. Meanwhile, another prom for the other students was under way at a secret location.

As ACLU staff, I have the inside scoop on civil liberties violations – atrocities from illegal body cavity searches by police on the streets of Detroit to the eviction of a woman terminally ill with brain cancer from her apartment for using a legally prescribed medicine. One could reasonably assume that I’ve developed a thick skin; that I can’t be shocked by human behavior.

Well, I can. I am stunned by the actions of these parents in Mississippi and can’t decide which is worse – that a group of adults would organize a secret prom or that they would encourage their own children to lie. Most everyone I’ve told about this simply shakes their head and says, ‘Mississippi.’

I remind them that this could have happened right here in Michigan, and they agree.

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