When the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi canceled its entire prom rather than let a female student wear a tuxedo and attend the prom with her girlfriend, the district suggested to parents that they organize a private prom off school grounds.
They did – at a nearby furniture mart, reports The Clarion-Ledger. And Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old student whose clothing and date were the reasons that the school prom was canceled in the first place, is still not invited to attend.
It appears that McMillen might miss her senior prom no matter what – simply because she does not conform to the rigid gender stereotypes that the school district has set forth and refuses to budge on. In fact, McMillen has said that one of the reasons that she was denied the right to wear a tuxedo to the prom was because of concerns that a boy might show up in a dress.
However, there is some consolation for McMillen. Her story has gotten international attention, and she has appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, Ellen, where she was presented with a $30,000 college scholarship check, courtesy of Tonic.com.
Tonic also offered her an internship at the site’s New York office, and, along with the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (MSSC), is helping to raise money for a Second Chance Prom, where McMillen and all students will be welcome.
McMillen’s courage has impressed a lot of people. Unfortunately, many of her classmates still blame her for the cancellation of the school prom. Hopefully, the Second Chance Prom will provide her with the opportunity to attend prom.
And, hopefully, her fellow students will take advantage of the opportunity as well – because all students should have the chance to experience prom if they choose. All students – including girls in tuxes and boys in dresses.