by Pa Rock
By now you have probably heard about the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi that refused to allow 18-year-old senior Constance McMillen to bring her female date to the prom. When McMillen responded by bringing in the American Civil Liberties Union, the school board, representing a public entity that cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, cancelled the prom and arranged for a group of private citizens to hold one instead. Private citizens can discriminate.
Read about it here:
This story lit a fire under my daughter, Molly Macy Files, and today she emailed the following to Teresa McNeece, the superintendent of the backward Itawamba County School District:
To whom it may concern,
Growing up my father was my principal in a small town of 1500 people in southern Missouri. I can feel the scenario so strongly in my heart and I can say with grave confidence that there is no way he would have EVER stopped the entire school from having prom for such a reason. Prom is the yearly celebration where students get to come together & decorate the school, ask each other out, dress up like adults, pin ridiculous flowers on each other, get butterflies in their stomach when the last song of the night starts & do such as their parents did years & years before. It's the part of the year where the parents are forced to put a lot of trust into their kids & allow them to grow up a little. That should be the only thing worrying people right now, the decisions these kids will make on prom night, not someone attending prom in a tuxedo or bringing someone of the same sex as their date. A gay person attending sends the message that it is OKAY to be yourself. It sheds light on a reality that will be seen over & over again outside of the small town. A gay person attends prom & lo & behold the world goes on! The ridiculous tradition of prom may change a little, but the feeling is still exactly the same. The excitement & fun will never disappear. You have no right to strip your students of that. How on Earth could you & your staff have possibly presumed that the entire school was heterosexual? That's some very naive thinking. Just look at what you are teaching these kids. It's such an embarrassment, such a disgrace. Are you going to kick her out of school for being gay too? My parents were in the education field for years. My mother is currently the dean of a college here in town. Students DO look to you for guidance, advice, answers.. they look to you as an example to follow. I've seen it. I've done it. Don't mold their minds in this hateful manner. Please undo what you have done. Please fix it. People will forgive you & praise you for learning from your mistakes. After all, life is a process of learning. Take this moment to teach your students that. They will only respect you more. Those kids don't deserve this. Most importantly is the girl in this situation. She DOES NOT deserve this. You just gave the entire student body reason to hate someone because of WHO THEY ARE. There is no reason in the world that could justify doing such a thing.
Below is the contact information for Superintendent McNeece:
Teresa McNeece: firstname.lastname@example.org
phone (662)862-2159 Ext. 14
Molly also posted the following response to an article on Yahoo about this controversy:
Wow. How ridiculous. The comment from the teenager who "doesn't agree with homosexuality" makes me sick to my stomach. What a scary thought that the younger generation may turn out to be today's 70 year old white men full of sexist, homophobic, ignorant comments that we politely ignore because "that's just part of their generation, that's how they grew up". We can't let homophobia be a part of the young generation!! Shame on the school for canceling prom. What a horribly discriminating act. Shame on them for hurting this poor girl & allowing other teens to place blame on her for being who she is. What an utter disgrace.
Needless to say, I am very proud of my outspoken daughter - although I have no idea where she gets her brazenness! I am also proud to be a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and after reading Molly's manifesto, I am getting her a membership as well! The ACLU can only benefit from her fire and fury!
BTW Molly: When I am a 70-year-old white man, I still plan to be very cool!