A flyer detailing the rules of the prom was distributed to students by the dance’s organisers, who are made up of parents. One parent involved in the committee also works as a teacher in the school.
The flyer reads:
“Guests must be of the opposite sex and ages 10th Grade to 21 years-old.”
The prom’s organisers initially defended the rule, claiming that it was put in place in an effort to maintain crowd control.
The group later apologised for any upset the flyer may have caused.
A statement from the Itawamba School District has been released, in which the district outlines that the prom is organised independently:
“If a prom is being held, it is a private affair hosted by parents. Since this matter allegedly concerns a parent, who is also a teacher, any activity that person may have done during school hours concerning a prom was outside the scope of employment and is being investigated.”
The exclusionary rule was brought to the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, who released the following statement in relation to the prom:
“We would like to remind the school district that such a rule violates the right to free expression guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In addition a policy prohibiting same-sex couples from attending prom or school dances has equal protection implications.”
The ACLU then referred to a similar incident in 2010 in which the very same district was sued after it cancelled prom rather than allowing a student to bring a same-sex partner:
“It is disappointing to find that the same school district is again implementing the same discriminatory policy.
“We urge the school district to comply with the law and rescind the aforementioned rule immediately.”
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