Stories about bullying in schools have taken over headlines these past few weeks. From cases of students bullying studentsas was the case with Phoebe Prince and Alexis Pilkingtonor even school administrators bullying teachers, there has been a lot of discussion about what a hostile environment school can be.
But what happens when the taunting and mistreatment move past the level of peer-to-peer? This was the situation that faced Constance McMillen when her Jackson, Miss. High school told her she could not bring a date of the same sex to her senior prom.
The incident jumped into the national spotlight when “the ACLU sent a demand letter to Superintendent Teresa McNeece in February, saying the rules against same-sex prom dates and girls wearing tuxedos violated McMillen’s constitutional rights. The district responded by withdrawing its sponsorship and canceling the April 2 event,” theWashington Post reported. They later scheduled a private event with school chaperones, which McMillen was free to attend with whomever she chose.
What they didn’t tell her is they also rescheduled the regular prom, and she wasn’t invited. As if cancelling the prom to avoid the sight of two girls dancing together wasn’t outrageous enough, the school and a group of parents conspired to add insult to injury by scheduling an alternative event that McMillen was never formally told about.