Mississippi's Itawamba County Agricultural High School has canceled its upcoming senior prom. The issue wasn't financial concerns or lack of interest, but a lesbian couple that wouldn't stay quiet.
After senior Constance McMillen chose to challenge the school's policy prohibiting her from bringing a female date to the prom, the Itawamba County school board voted to cancel the prom entirely rather than let the lesbian couple attend.
The decision drew immediate, impassioned responses from incensed gay-rights activists in the blogosphere. Amid the raw anger, bloggers managed to make substantive responses to the decision and praise McMillen for challenging the system.
- County Sucks, McMillen Rocks Shakesville's Melissa McEwan was one of many bloggers who mixed rage with reasoned writing. "The school district is clearly staffed by a bunch of useless bigots who whiff of a pungent bouquet of fear, desperation, and ideological extinction, as pitiable for their small-mindedness as they are contemptible for their cruelty," she snarls, voicing the shared vitriol of the masses. But McEwan moves away from her anger to praise McMillen for her courage.
McMillen, on the other hand, is enormously courageous and wields on hell of an impressive teaspoon. She's probably right that a bunch of kids will hate her for this... but she'll soon find out that there are places in this world where she will be loved and admired and embraced for being exactly who she is.
- 'Educational' Argument is Groundless u235 takes on the county board's argument that "the distractions to the educational process" merited canceling the prom. "There's no logical correlation between the 'educational process' and a prom. The prom doesn't educate, it's a reward and a rite of passage."
- Not in Any Students' Interest At Change.org, Michael Jones argues the decision reaches far beyond McMillen and her date--it sets a reprehensible precedent for every student in the school. "Eliminating the prom does not create a learning environment that is safe for all students, and certainly not empowering," he fumes. "Instead, it sends a message of intolerance, and a message that the school is much more interested in playing politics, rather than prioritizing the interests of their student body."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.