Constance McMillen’s Fake Prom

Constance McMillen‘s been through hell and back standing up for herself. All she wanted to do was attend her senior prom with her girlfriend.

But her Fulton, Mississippi high school canceled prom in response.

Money was donated (and rejected) so she could attend an alternative prom.

She didn’t need an alternative prom, though, because she was told there was already one in the works (run by the school, on private property), and she attended it.

But it didn’t go as planned.

The school district invited McMillen and five other students to a prom at a country club in Fulton on Friday night, while the parents for the other students held a “real” prom just miles away.

“They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen tell the Advocate. “The one that I went to had seven people there and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”

McMillen says the school principal and teachers served as chaperones for the seven students that were at the dance.
Prior to the prom night, McMillen asked one of the students organizing the event for details and was directed to the country club. “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

The most disturbing part of this story is that two of the students that were also sent to the “fake” prom apparently had learning difficulties.

“They had the time of their lives,” McMillen recalls.

“That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”

This is absolutely deplorable behavior.

All “adults” (and I use that word loosely) who work at Itawamba Agricultural High School ought to be ashamed of themselves. So should the parents who took part in all this. So should the students who find all this funny. What the hell do you think you’re doing?

Are there no people in that community with a heart?

So many other people have commented on this already. I want to echo their words.

From Jen:

Constance, get the fuck out of there and don’t come back. Use that scholarship to go to a good college, educate yourself, and rise above the muck that you happened to get stuck in. These people don’t fucking deserve you.

From Eric Zorn:

It’s sickening to imagine how many parents and students had to be involved to pull off this disgusting caper at a country club in Fulton, Miss.

Kids, sometimes they don’t know any better. I, for one, was not always as kind as I should have been to schoolmates who were different, and it’s a regret that I carry to this day.

And occasionally you’ll find some parents who don’t know any better. Bigots. Fools. Wicked people.

But virtually an entire community of parents and teens had to conspire to pull this off.

(Supposedly) from a senior at Constance’s high school:

The reason the senior class boycotted the actual prom was not because we hate gays. We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. We also wanted to do it without the main cause of the lousy. What people are failing to realize is that much of the fault of this whole stink lies with Constance, not her mistreatment by the school district, but her crazy-reckless need for attention. It sounds mean and horrible and like we planned it all specifically to embarrass Constance, but we didn’t. We let her have her prom with her girlfriend and her tuxedo and we went to party it up in the “boondocks” not because we wanted her rights violated, but so we could salvage what has turned into a total fiasco.

And PZ remarks about Constance’s classmates and the online trail they’re idiotically leaving with their comments:

I hope employers and college admissions committees find the hateful association between their names and what they say. Not that it’s much of a worry for these losers; Jiffy Lube probably doesn’t care much about their network trail, and Liberty University would probably consider bigotry an asset.

The summer can’t come soon enough.

I hope Constance takes the goodwill coming from so many of us and the positive press she’s getting from so many bloggers and columnists and channels it into something wonderful.

  • Greg

    Absolutely disgusting. I honestly am struggling to find the words to adequately express how pathetic I find the school and students.

  • Luther

    Foolton, Mythissippi

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Poor kid. She shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of bigotry. Her school teachers and officials should protect her from the worst of it, NOT contribute to it.

    I agree with Jen, escape as soon as possible.

  • Kevin

    This. This right here. This shows, with unwavering clarity, the fruits of building a morality on bronze-age mythology and bronze-age values, rather than empathy, compassion, understanding, and acceptance for one’s fellow man.

    My first question – there were 5 other students at the “real” prom. Were they all duped? Or, was there amongst the entire Christian-love-filled school, a single individual student with the moral fortitude and backbone to shun the secret prom and show up at the real prom to support Constance? If there was, and if they’ll accept it, might I recommend to a certain secular organization the idea of a “Tolerance Scholarship” award? I’d contribute.

    My second question – can we get the other high school students out of the spotlight (specifically addresssing PZ’s quote and the like)… These kids are still young enough and sufficiently steeped in peer pressure / community pressure / family pressure that expecting any individual amongst them to break from the crowd may be a bit much (the independence of college is typically accepted as the time and place for one’s moral worldview to fully mature). Instead, can we get some investigative journalism to cast a bright light on specific actions taken by specific parents, school faculty, and community leaders – if they’re proud of what they did, let’s let them tell the whole world about it.

  • Stan

    I can’t agree with Jen more. Constance, you deserve bigger and better things. Leave this shithole behind and head somewhere that can propel you forward.

  • Jen

    I can imagine high schoolers being cruel. High school is often a difficult time for people, even the popular people, and probably anyone who really thought about it would be embarrassed by stuff they did in high school. I can believe high schoolers are stupid enough to blame Constance when the administration is to blame for not just allowing her to go to prom, so we would not have ever heard of her or Fulton. I have a really, really hard time understanding how the parents justify this to themselves. The kids didn’t plan that prom on their own; parents had to help. So, Fulton adults: what the hell is wrong with you?

    I have been following this story and I know that at least at one point Constance said she wanted to go to college in… Tennessee, I think, and then move back to Mississippi. And to be fair, demographically GLBT people tend to move to big cities, and therefore people in these small towns can hate because they do not know the people they hate. Constance may like small town Southern life, and only by retaining non-straight people will these small towns realize that lesbians are people too. She may find her love of small town Southern life outweighs her desire to flee (and at least when see gave that interview, she had no desire to flee) and we probably shouldn’t press that on her. Of course, had this been me I would flee, and she may have changed her mind- or maybe she wants to drag Mississippi kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    You know who I feel sorriest for? Constance is getting a scholarship, an internship, and has family who loves and supports her. Her girlfriend, apparently 15 and living with parents who hate all this, is stuck at this school for another 2-3 years.

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    Ugh, if that quote from the student is true, it makes me even sadder. How dare Constance want equal rights! Those gays just need to sit down and shut up because they’re ruining everyone else’s fun. Are all high schoolers this full of themselves?

    I guess I just don’t understand how not a single high schooler would stick up for Constance. On multiple occasions I stuck up for my lesbian friends, bitched out people for talking bad about them, corrected people on their stereotypes and use of “That’s gay.” And you know what? Everyone thought I was a lesbian – but I didn’t fucking care, because being a good person was more important.

  • dave

    “…that much of the fault of this whole stink lies with Constance… her crazy-reckless need for attention. It sounds mean and horrible and like we planned it all specifically to embarrass Constance, but we didn’t.”

    Yeah. It was her fault being different. They just decided to have their own prom, and give Constance and a few “slow” kids a separate prom. Bastards.

  • Kate

    If the school hadn’t acted in a bigoted manner in the first place, maybe there wouldn’t be any “attention” from the media. Lesson learned? Probably not.

  • Alex

    Why are all of the comments on this article one-sided? I am not saying what happened was right, but a lot of the comments seem to skim over the article and get up in an outrage over something that they know nothing about. Clearly there is more to this story than just gay rights. Is it not possible that the students didnt want Constance at the prom because of WHO she is, not because she is gay? The comment from the student alludes to the fact that an entire year of their highschool was ruined by Constance. Perhaps she did deserve to be excluded from the rest of the kids so they could actually enjoy themselves. Maybe not but I am just saying its a possibility, don’t jump to conclusions.
    But I am guessing my comment gets “screened out” as well, too bad.

  • http://www.skepticmoney.com Phil Ferguson

    It sounds like every person in this town needs to be bitch slapped into the modern world. From now on I will always refer to this town as Fulton Mississippi(Bigotville USA)

  • Angie

    What a rotten, homophobic thing to do. These bigoted parents have proven themselves to be just as catty as their teenagers.

    Constance, be strong! Be proud of who you are! There are a lot of people out in the world who support you.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    Constance, I’m so sorry all this mess had to happen to you and your girlfriend. I will agree with Jen also. That town doesn’t deserve you and likely cannot even begin to fathom the damage they have done.

    And I don’t understand where all the “drama” comes from! Why does a lesbian couple at a prom equal drama? A girl in a tuxedo dancing with another girl…just isn’t drama.

  • Rufus

    Kevin

    The short answer is that no, we can’t keep the other high school students out of the spotlight, nor should we. They were all old enough to know what they were doing, it’s the same principal that only being part of a lynch mob somehow excuses the individuals from any responsibility of a lynching.
    We might have been able to, were it not for the facebook group that they set up called “Constance quit your crying” here:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Constance-quit-yer-cryin/367776042862?v=wall&ref=sgm

    If you display your bigotry that obviously, where anyone can find it then you really can’t expect other people not to find it.

  • Thegoodman

    I find it hilariously despicable that they actually held a retard/lesbian prom and invited all of the other students to a real prom. The homophobia and lack of judgment leaves me in complete awe.

    Its amazing that people this stupid can actually run a school. God help those children.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    For many the purpose of religion is to separate people into opposing groups (which is tribalism).

    saved, damned
    straight, gay
    conservative, liberal
    believer, non-believer
    right religion, wrong religion
    right denomination, wrong denomination
    correct baptisms, incorrect baptisms

    Not exactly the American way…

  • http://www.takedeadaimontherichkids.blogspot.com Alice

    That quote from the student was real – someone on that forum googled her screen name and then they all started harassing her on facebook.

    She also has a twitter feed, by the way. It’s full of gems like this:

    “Buses are great. Gay friends are great. When gay friend goes to sleep on you on a bus? Not so great :)

  • http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php Hermes

    What struck me about this the most was that the students were so energized by the issue of homosexuality, that they didn’t even want to be in the same room as the couple.

    Don’t they have enough self-control to just ignore what they don’t want for themselves?

    One of the answers to that is that those students are just like the population at large, mostly heterosexual, yet a non-trivial number are homosexuals or bisexuals. Yet, they can’t be associated with that, so to personally avoid that stigma, they go out of their way to actively thwart anyone who is comfortable with themselves as they are.

    The full answer must be fear of being ostracized themselves. If it weren’t, then who cares what someone else does? As a primary taboo in Christianity is sex, not food or some other issue, any sexual expression is emphasized and they don’t want to be associated with it and the stigma it brings.

  • idioteque

    “Are there no people in that community with a heart?”

    Welcome to Redneckville, Mississippi (not much different from Redneckville, Lousyana, where I unfortunately lived years ago).

    I want to point out that ALL but seven of these students KNEW about the other prom and its location. NO ONE– not ONE of the students, parents or faculty said ONE word.

    And before anyone goes on about peer pressure in high school, how hard it is for students to make a stand, etc. I also want to point out that any ONE of these students could have easily passed along this information anonymously to her, no risk involved.

    They all kept their mouths shut, these pathetic little redneck sorry sacks of shit. EVERY single one of them.

  • martin

    Reminds me of when I went to High School in Mississippi and they built the new High School and I found it odd how they always had 3 water fountains, 2 normal height 1 low together. They are still very much into segregation, and this is just a loophole they found to be able to practice it on another group of people since practicing segregation on African Americans would be bad PR.

    So blatently obvious when they sent all the learning disabled to the prom.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    I have no words to express how much this breaks my heart. I have a difficult time accepting that there are people so ignorant and bigoted that this could happen in America. Even when I was pious, judgmental Mormon, I would have had no issue with a lesbian couple coming to our high school Prom.
    This is not good enough for our children. I wonder how many tears her parents have cried over this. This is unforgivable and so very pathetic.

    I know Fulton, Mississippi doesn’t really depend much on outside money, but that is one place that I will NEVER visit, and NEVER spend my money in. It’s unfortunate that we can’t just have them secede from our nation. This whole story and the immature reaction from those Mississippi parents just frosts my cookie!!!

  • Gibbon

    There are two quotes in all of this that I just absolutely love:

    We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. … What people are failing to realize is that much of the fault of this whole stink lies with Constance, not her mistreatment by the school district, but her crazy-reckless need for attention.

    And from PZ’s blog:

    i just wish she would shut up and quit makeing the freakin county stupid you say well its there fault but since when did the public do anything to you just shut the freak up already.

    So these people aren’t bigoted against gays and lesbians, they just don’t want to create the drama that would invariably emerge from their reaction to a lesbian student just wanting to be her self. They could have avoided the drama by not reacting to Constance and her girlfriend in the first place; none of this would have occurred if no one had a problem with a lesbian taking her female date to the original prom.

    There is no doubt that these people believe it is better to lie to one self than to speak the truth to others. Their attitude towards themselves and other people is: self-denial.

    On the second comment: it’s not Constance who’s making the county look dumb, it’s those who ostracised her and then tried to justify their actions without admitting that they are little more than homophobic or bigoted.

    This case really exposes the fundamental flaw with the small-town phenomenon. There tends to be a level of familiarity that comes from being a small community of people, but most often it creates xenophobia. There may be a high degree of security when everyone knows everyone, but because the security of the community relies on familiarity then even small differences within the populace tend to be perceived as a disruption and thus a threat that needs to be resisted. In other words: differences are seen as the source of disorder.

    Jeff P

    For many the purpose of religion is to separate people into opposing groups (which is tribalism).

    Even though tribalism is written into human nature. It is not that the purpose of religion is to separate people into opposing groups, (it may be the case with fundamentalism, but not religion in general), rather it is that religion provides an efficient means for establishing a secure community of members who are typically united by a dominant commonality; it is that establishment of community which then allows for the tribalistic nature of humans to create the problem of xenophobia. They will then find whatever they can to justify that xenophobia. In the absence of religion people will still find the reasons and means for favouring social bonding with others like them selves, it even appears to be happening with atheists and secularists who have recently begun to organise themselves into communities.

  • jose

    “Are there no people in that community with a heart?”

    They have bibles instead.

  • Deiloh

    There wouldn’t have been any “drama” from Constance if the school hadn’t been full of bigots to begin with. The false justification is pathetic.

    The students should be ashamed. I hope that someday when they have children they look back and realize how horrible they were. To some extent I can forgive the teens because teens do really dumb things. The people that make me the most angry in this situation are the parents. Not a single one of them that knew what was going on can call themselves decent.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    The sheer level of conspiracy required to pull this off is incredible. The ostracism is so thick you could cut it with a knife. And here I thought Cordelia the Bitch (from Buffy) was only a caricature.

  • Pingback: Daily Common Sense News for April 6th « Humanist Association of Ottawa

  • Killer Bee

    “They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen tell the Advocate. “The one that I went to had seven people there and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”

    Yes, a privately funded one thrown by the parents who spent their own money to throw their kids a replacement prom. I don’t invite people I don’t like to my social functions. In any large group there are generally many people that I consider unworthy of association for a variety of reasons. Hating and excluding someone for being gay (or black or white or anything else) is just not that big a deal to me.

    But, at the same time, I wouldn’t engineer a stunt like this just so I can avoid 1 or 2 people. I think that’s borderline pathological. You can’t go through life avoiding people you don’t like.

    I think the school overreacted. I think the parents overreacted and I think her fellow students overreacted. Constance, obviously, didn’t do anything wrong by simply picking her own date.

    “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

    I have to wonder: was all this really a shock to Constance? She obviously was already “out.” Otherwise no one would have known about her intended prom date. So, she probably knew the attitudes of her fellow students. Did she really want to attend a prom with people who hate her? Is she feeling betrayed by all this? I doubt it. How can you be betrayed by people who are already against you.

    I’d get the fuck out of Dodge as soon as humanly possible if I were in her shoes.

  • Jenea

    This is so disgusting I hardly know what to say.

    Here is the web site for the high school: http://www.itawambaahs.com/

    Only a physical address for contact information, unfortunately.

    If you click the link for “administration” (frame so I can’t give a URL), the photo there says it all. Note the frame on the wall.

  • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

    From the Facebook group where the people are uprising against the students, looks like the school administration ran a trans student out of town too.

    Now, its personal. The game is on. :-D

  • http://sites.google.com/site/2dbride/ 2dBride

    Here is the direct link to the “Administration” page:

    http://www.itawambaahs.com/Administration.htm

  • muggle

    This is going to make me very unpopular but I lost respect for Constance with her own bigoted remarks. She seems to find something wrong with partying with the “learning disabled” students rather than the popular kids. Maybe she needs to come down off her own high horse and choose her friends more carefully too. She sounds like she’s complaining about being put on the short bus.

    Hateful as it was and dispicable as it indeed was Killer Bee’s right. Parents running a private affair are free to invite who they choose and the snots can exclude anyone they damn well feel like excluding. What should have happened is more kids should have preferred the short bus Constance is herself hating on.

    And Constance, regardless of how few were there, should have partied and had one hell of a time (just like the “learning disabled” did; why does she make such a point of labeling only two of the five that came to the real prom with her and her date; I think they proved themself smarter than her by not letting it ruin their night). Nothing would have been more in your face.

    I’m fast coming to the conclusion she would have tried to crash the private affair had she known about it and been told she was not welcome.

    But, overall, I’ll agree that the greatest guilt lies with the parents and the school officials. And, please, don’t overgeneralize all the school officials. Maybe some of those teachers who were at the real prom chose to be to show their support. Maybe they were the ones who made it possible for the kids who weren’t busy pouting to sincerely have a good time. Who were the other three anyway? Why are they not being counted? Because Constance doesn’t think they’re important.

    I really don’t like the snobbery sneaking out of her. I big time don’t like it.

    Jen, I have been wondering about her date too. Why aren’t we hearing her opinion on the matter? You’d think reporters would be getting as many sound bites from her as they are Constance. She must have agree to this but, man, is Constance letting her speak? Or is she just choosing not to?

  • Anonymous

    Let’s have a round of applause for the real comptroller!

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    PZ said:

    Not that it’s much of a worry for these losers; Jiffy Lube probably doesn’t care much about their network trail

    For someone so supposedly liberal and “tolerant”, PZ sure goes out of his way to denigrate people who work at Jiffy Lube.

    Is working at Jiffy Lube somehow not worthy of our respect? Is it considered below a “respectable” job? I think we see PZ’s true feelings concerning working class people.

    As for this charade: It’s all a big mess, all around. I don’t know what the solution is. I dont have a problem with gays, but let’s be honest: showing up with her lesbian girlfriend would have caused quite a stir and detracted from the rest of the evening. I can understand (though not necessarily condone) the school’s actions in not allowing her to attend with another girl.

    But then this whole garbage with the secret event. It just seemed mean. The whole thing was ruined once the story went public, so I’m not sure, at that point, whether there could have been a satisfactory ending.

    I feel most sorry for the lesbian GF. She didn’t ask for any of this and who knows if she’s comfortable with the pressure.

  • rbray18

    onestdv does a point on the whole jiffy lube thing.but i count that off as pz being a professor.granted i dropped out of high school
    and never went to college but every thing i have heard and read bout professors has me thinking pz is normal in his dismissal of medium pay jobs and low paying jobs.
    and i feel bad for constance but that’s high school.if i learned anything in school it was not to trust any one in authority.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com Joshua Zelinsky

    ONESTDV, you have a valid point about the Jiffy Lube comment. The rest is utterly wrong. If showing up with her girlfriend would have created a stir that’s not Constance’s fault, that’s the fault of any bigots who would have made a stir over it. Showing up isn’t disruptive. Making noise and being bigoted assholes would be,

    On a different note, I’m slightly disturbed by the apparent desire to connect students’ names to this for future employment. They are high school students. They are young and immature and most have likely never been outside their homestate at all. Having views that reflect those around them shouldn’t be held against them. If in 3 or 4 years they still have those views, that’s a very different situation.

  • Erp

    Few thoughts.

    1. From what she is quoted as saying, I think Constance knew about the second prom though probably not details. The same might be true for the others who went to the ‘official’ though small prom. Or some of the others may have been invited to the second prom and chose not to go.

    2. A third group of students may have chosen to go to neither prom either because they were invited only to the ‘official’ one and knew it for one most students weren’t going to or because they didn’t support the reason for the second prom but didn’t quite have the gumption (or family support) to go to the first. (A fourth group may have had no money for either.)

    3. Fulton is poor and has a 20% unemployment rate (http://www.city-data.com/city/Fulton-Mississippi.html) the county has nearly 12% unemployment http://www.city-data.com/county/Itawamba_County-MS.html It is a major achievement to actually get a High School diploma (over a third of the population over 25 does not have one) much less a Bachelor degree (just under 9% of those over 25 have one). Only .6% of the population as of 2000 were foreign born.

  • Min

    Is working at Jiffy Lube somehow not worthy of our respect? Is it considered below a “respectable” job?

    Yes, actually, most people with any sort of higher education don’t consider a job that doesn’t require any sort of formal training or a high school degree to be “respectable.”

    There are certainly plenty of necessary professions that fall into that category, but in the US it’s easy enough to get some sort of higher education (if not a university degree, at least training at a vocational school) that it is considered indicative of a personal failure if you don’t have a job that requires that sort of thing.

    Mind you, I’m not saying that that’s necessarily right, and it’s certainly not nice, but that’s the way it is.

  • ckitching

    Is it considered below a “respectable” job? I think we see PZ’s true feelings concerning working class people.

    <sarcasm> You’re absolutely right. It’s clear from that quote that PZ considers anyone who doesn’t have an advanced degree a worthless “eater”. Why, next you’ll see him suggest that we should revoke voting rights for anyone incapable of getting advanced degrees. He might even start suggesting forced sterilization! </sarcasm>

  • JD

    When I saw the story from another site’s feed, I thought it was some kind of sick joke. Well, it is, but it looks like it was also real too. I wondered how they could pull off this separation.

    It’s crazy how people would take a change in status quo and assume that anyone that’s not in the status quo must be in it for the attention. In a way, I can understand the desire for a drama-free event, but there probably wouldn’t have been any drama if the school didn’t try canceling the prom or pressuring certain students to not go, without realizing that they’ll get a lot of national attention for doing it. Kind of like kicking a rock pile and complaining that there’s a rock slide.

  • Carlie

    This is going to make me very unpopular but I lost respect for Constance with her own bigoted remarks. She seems to find something wrong with partying with the “learning disabled” students rather than the popular kids.

    What??? She mentioned it as a way of explaining that it was the ostracized students who were all shunted over to the fake prom. I thought she showed real kindness by saying that the one good thing about the fake prom was that those students got to have a good time away from the kids who would have made fun of them, instead of complaining more about how unfairly she was treated. Where do you think she showed any bigotry or thoughts that there was something wrong with being with them?

    I have to wonder: was all this really a shock to Constance? [...]Did she really want to attend a prom with people who hate her? Is she feeling betrayed by all this? I doubt it. How can you be betrayed by people who are already against you.

    She’s 17. It was her whole high school. It was all of the people she’s spent her entire life growing up with. And she’s 17. Yeah, it would hurt. Even if you expect the worst of someone, it still stings when they prove you right.

  • Thegoodman

    @OneSTDV
    Being tolerant and liberal doesn’t mean you are always walking on eggshells.

    Would you be proud of your child if he aspired to work at Jiffy Lube? Do you aspire to someday do oil changes for $19.95? These are rhetorical questions with obvious answers of a resounding NO.

    It may be rude, but not inaccurate, to state that most Jiffy Lube employees have failed on several major levels of their life planning. They certainly deserve respect, but that doesn’t mean they need to be commended.

    Jiffy Lube employees are not a part of the working class. They are akin to grocery store and gas station employees. They have a low paying job that requires no experience and does not challenge them. It is a cop out job and a lazy option. My father is a mechanic and earns a good living, to lump him into the same group as Jiffy Lube employees is disrespectful to all hard working men and women.

  • Killer Bee

    TGM,

    It may be rude, but not inaccurate, to state that most Jiffy Lube employees have failed on several major levels of their life planning.

    You assume that they could’ve planned for something better.

    Is every child college-material? Or even high-school material? Is algebra coded in our DNA like red-blood cells? Is reading? Experience tells me NO.

    I’d wager that they ended up at Jiffy Lube because that’s about what their capabilities are; assuming it’s not just a temporary transition job.

    You think you’re complimenting them for being better than what they are. But, what always happens is that they wind up being judged for limitations they can’t help.

    Incidentally, this is what I mean when I say treating people better than what they are does them no favors.

  • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

    @Joshua Zelinsky
    People have to be aware that there are consequences to their actions. These kids who just graduated from high school are old enough to know this. Just because you are a teen does not give you a blanket exception from the rules. If you kill someone as 16-18 year old, you face adult consequences. If you go on record as being a hateful bigot, you need to be held to those comments. Until you prove otherwise, you are what your comments say.

    How do you think these same people are going to behave in the real world where they have to deal with non-white individuals all the time? Are they going to be the type that calls the cops just because someone with turban walks into their store? Ignorance breeds stupidity (and vice versa).

  • noah

    except that she was invited to the other prom; she just decided not to go because she thought she would be unwelcome.

    While I think her treatment in this situation was quite shabby, it’s just not true that she couldn’t have gone to the other prom.

  • Sackbut

    noah wrote:

    except that she was invited to the other prom; she just decided not to go because she thought she would be unwelcome.

    How do you get this? It seems pretty clear that she was not informed of the existence of the second prom until later, and all her statements clearly say she was not invited to the second prom.

    Constance goes to prom, but most of her classmates go to another one

  • Judith Bandsma

    I wonder if the school could also be sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act? Evidently the ‘slow’, learning disabled students steered to the ‘alternate’ prom…denied an invitation to the ‘real’ one…were also discriminated against.

  • Judith Bandsma

    @noah
    “While I think her treatment in this situation was quite shabby, it’s just not true that she couldn’t have gone to the other prom.”

    Yes, it is true she couldn’t have gone to the other prom. The prom(s) was by INVITATION only even before the controversy. Students also had to list who they were bringing.

  • JB Tait

    I went to the school site and their Mission Statement scrolled so slowly I couldn’t really read it–I had to parse it in fragments and reassemble. Do they really read that badly there?
    It was full of buzz words, so I guess it doesn’t matter. This, however, was disturbing: ” . . . productive citizens of an ever changing world . . . .” I guess they teach them how to resist change and still manage to be productive somehow. I am surprised they haven’t found a way to stay segregated.

    If, as manager of a Jiffy Lube, I found myself in the position of hiring new staff (with a high school diploma or without), I would certainly rule out anyone who has demonstrated, as these teens did, that they are bigoted. I would not want to risk having them insult my customers or treat any of them with disrespect.

  • James H

    That classmate of hers ticks me off.

    Let’s say, hypothetically, that Ms. McMillen really was doing this all just for the attention. You don’t respond to that by holding a whole separate prom. You just walk up to her at prom, say, “Hello Connie, it’s great to meet you and your girlfriend!” and then go back to doing whatever it is you’re doing.

    That way, if she’s just doing it for the attention, you deprive her of the satisfaction of your outraged reaction. And if she’s not doing it for the attention, you just treat her politely.

  • Trans Sami

    So according to Alex, oneSTDV and all the bigots in Fulton this is Constance’s fault because she made the incredible, far reaching demand of… Taking her date to the prom like every single other student does with absolutely no trouble.

    BUT SHE WAS ON TV! SHE JUST WANTS ATTENTION!

    Yeah her and her girlfriend are just showing off for attention, her date has a funny strategy of going about it as I don’t think even her name has appeared in any reporting on this story.

    BUT SHE WORE A SUIT! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT EXCEPT TO BE WEIRD!

    Well ignoring the fact that ‘Girls should wear dresses’ sounds disturbingly 1950ish it might have something to do with the fact that a boy was literally run out of town earlier for dressing like a girl. But I’m sure these bigots will also claim the trans kid who’s family had to relocate to another state just to find a school he could attend also ‘just wants attention’.

    PS: Anyone else notice at that link where the bigots where trying to defend themselves they claimed they don’t hate gay people but absolutely refused to answer the questions about whether a single other openly gay student had been invited to their party?

  • Alex

    What else can these poor Mississippians do? They can’t keep out the blacks, interracial couples, and now gays. Only thing left are those mean atheists!

  • idioteque

    Well, it turns out that the rednecks pulled this shit with a precedent from next-door Alabama, back in the 60s, to a black couple:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XSAfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=qacEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6862,5131613

    Yeehaw.

  • Neon Genesis

    Baptist churches send letters to the high school thanking them for banning homosexuality: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/04/07/21688

    ” Dear editor,

    The purpose of this letter is to commend the Itawamba County School Board and Superintendent of Education Teresa McNeece for the stand they have taken in the midst of the controversy surrounding this year’s IAHS prom. The policy of the school district was in place long before Constance McMillen decided to “assert her rights.” The majority of the headlines and news casts regarding this subject have blamed the school board and superintendent for trying to deny this girl her rights. However, that simply is not true. She has the same rights as every other student in our school district. They also blame the school board and superintendent for canceling the prom, but that blame lies completely with the homosexual activists and the ACLU.

    Since this controversy began, there has been an outcry of support for the homosexual cause. Let us say that there are those of us who support the cause of Christ. Since Ms. McMillen chose to reference the Bible in support of her lifestyle choice, we felt compelled to set the record straight. Please be clear. This lifestyle is a choice. No one is “born that way.” As Ms. McMillen sat and held her Bible in one of her televised interviews, we wonder if she has read Leviticus 18:22 which reads, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination” and Romans 1:26-27 which reads, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” Other scriptures for reference include: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Genesis 19, Judges 19 & 20. We encourage Ms. McMillen and others to read the Bible for themselves. We believe that homosexuality is wrong, a perversion, and detrimental to society in general. Several years ago, this behavior was virtually unheard of and not all accepted by the vast majority. Now it is heralded as an alternate lifestyle. Sexual immorality of any kind should not be on public display in any arena and especially not in the school system.

    We are all sinners, Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” but God’s abundant grace is free to all, Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When we come to Christ in repentance and faith, we come as we are, but we do not leave unchanged. God calls us to a higher standard of living. The “my way” and “I’ll live any way I choose” attitudes are replaced by “not my will but thine be done.” Clearly from the scriptures listed above, homosexuality is NOT God’s will.

    It is not our intention to give the impression that we hate the homosexual community. We do not. We have a Christian love and concern for their souls. However, we could not sit in silence as if we agree with this behavior. Saying you are a homosexual and proud of it is one thing, but to imply that the Bible endorses it is foolish. We felt we had a responsibility to this and future generations to take a stand for the right. Ephesians 6:13 “… and having done all, to stand.”

    If there are others in this county and elsewhere who are in agreement with our position on the matter, we invite you to stand with us. Write letters of your own, call senators and representatives and most of all, pray.

    Concerned about our children,

    Membership of Bethany Baptist Church
    Oakland Community
    Fulton ”

    But they don’t hate lesbians, really! They just love the sin and hate the sinner but want to show their love by discrimination! Is the whole town full of bigots?

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Alex:

    Is it not possible that the students didnt want Constance at the prom because of WHO she is, not because she is gay?

    You seem to forget that it was the DISTRICT that canceled the original prom. These people just flat-out lied to her and said there was not going to be a prom, rather than telling her she was not welcome.

    The comment from the student alludes to the fact that an entire year of their highschool was ruined by Constance.

    No, what it alludes to is that they were sick and tired of her being such an uppity dyke and demanding that she get special treatment (i.e., being treated equally).

    NOTHING justifies treating a teenager like this.

  • Tom

    I don’t know what else may have occurred on this alleged “lousy year”, but if all this person wanted to do was be herself at a group event (and one that’s supposed to be an expression of social cohesion, for crying out loud!) without being harassed or made uncomfortable, I certainly wouldn’t call that “reckless attention-seeking” – in fact, I’d call it precisely the opposite.

    People who just want to be themselves may attract attention in doing so but, with few exceptions, that’s not their intent, and it’s not their fault; it’s the fault of the tribalistic gawpers who become insecure and fearful at the sight of anyone that might be construed to be an outsider, and pay excessive attention to them in an effort to intimidate them. I’m not so sure she was “attention-seeking” so much as they were “attention-inflicting.” Excessive, uninvited attention can be a most unpleasant thing.

    I find it quite ironic that what she has effectively done, via the mass media, is turn the tables and invite the attention of a much, much bigger in-group upon the small-town tribalistic bigots, turning them into the outsiders.

  • Vas

    It’s kind of funny that, from what I’ve read,(on other sources) the good people of Fulton think this is all over, they fought the battle and have won. Well guess what it is NOT all over as someone will now have to answer for this little stunt. They seem to think they have all their ducks in a row and have succeeded in their deception, done is done and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I don’t believe that for a second… “There’s a storm gathering, the clouds are dark and the winds are strong” and this bunch of backwards buffoons decided it is a good idea to stand in an open field holding a lightning rod.
    BTW I hope a radical gay rights group gathers every single name of the students who went along with this little stunt, every single student who attended the fake prom, and makes sure their past deeds walks with them into every college and or job interview they have for the next 20 years. Publish their names every one of them. Lift the veil of secrecy that they and others count on to shield their acts of unapologetic discrimination from public scrutiny. if you were any part of this conspiracy don’t expect to get off scott free, even if you only played a “small” part in it, you picked your side when you went along with the crowd and decided your secret prom was far more important than your classmates civil rights. I don’t buy the “oh they are just kids” excuse, claiming that as a free pass encourages others to follow their example and change will never come using that system of convenient excuses. Citizens of Fulton Mississippi you are not in the clear just yet, mark my words, this is far from over.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    By the way, on the subject of the kids with learning disabilities: I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe these kids and their parents, realizing the horrible injustice being perpetrated upon Constance because of blind hatred of ‘the other’, decided that they would show her their support and go to her prom rather than the bigots’ prom.

    Has anyone said whether or not they were actually forced to go to her prom, or if it was their choice?

  • Vas

    Here is a link to the other prom and publicly posted comments of some students.

    http://lafiga.firedoglake.com/2010/04/05/wheres-constance-photos-from-a-private-proms/

  • Aj

    If you have to say you don’t hate homosexuals, you fucking do, you’re just too fucking cowardly to admit it. I find it quite amusing how these fucktards say it’s not because they’re lesbians, but it is because a girl wanted to take her girlfriend to the prom. Trying to pass tradition and protocol off as neutral to the subject. It’s not understandable that lesbians at a prom would “cause a stir” or “detract” from the event. Basically these bigoted morons are saying they have no problem with homosexuals, as long as they’re not alerted to the existence of them, and they don’t expect to be treated the same as heterosexual partnerships. If homosexuals demand to be treated equally and with respect they get called attention whores and drama queens. Fuck those dumb hicks.

  • Vas

    Check this sweet little number out at http://itawambabigots.tumblr.com/
    It seems like wishes do come true

    itawamba agricultural high school students: bullies

    This list is provided for the benefit of universities or employers who might Google the name of future prospective students or employees. (Where a middle name is included, I have written the name without the middle name to aid any Google searches for that name alone.)

    The following people, who attended Itawamba Agricultural High School in 2010, were definitely involved in the internationally-discussed homophobic bullying of Constance McMillen, as well as the bullying of disabled students (Google Constance’s name with “fake prom” if you need details).

    James Colin Chatham (James Chatham)

    Jordan Lea Byrd (Jordan Byrd)

    Bubba Mendoza

    Rebecca Cleveland

    Laura Taylor

    Lindsey Bowen

    Keely Carol

    Jade Garrett

    Dalton McMillen

    Pam Baldwin

    Victoria Danielle Sheffield (Victoria Sheffield)

    Emily White

    Lindsey Begley

    Holly Sherrer

    Candice Brittany Garcia (Candice Garcia)

    Candace Nicole George (Candace George)

    Alli Mitchell

    Ben Bryan

    Amy Owen

    Cassandra Lee Maier (Cassandra Maier)

    Allison Osbirn

    Alexandria Marie Miller (Alexandria Miller)

    Angel Russell

    Alison Renae Gaddy (Alison Gaddy)

    Danthon Huddleston

    Jasna Miandria Clay (Jasna Clay)

    Morgan Taylor

    Stephanie Leigh Robinson (Stephanie Robinson)

    Megan Johnson

    Andrea Davis

    Katelyn Senter

    Madison Stewart

    Alleigh Taylor

    Austin Wilburn

    Candace Leigh

    Ina Spencer

    Kellie Cook

    Phillip Rhyne

    Alex Davis (graduated 2009)

    Danielle Christine (unclear whether this is actually her surname; Alex Davis’s girlfriend)

    ————

    The following students almost certainly attended the prom but perhaps didn’t; in any case they were involved in homophobic bullying on Facebook:

    Mckenzie Mina King (Mckenzie King)

    Chase Gholston

    Josh Brown

    Lee or Courtney McMullen (Lee McMullen)

    Dominique Jeavon Clemons (Dominique Clemons)

    Chanda Davis

    Carli Madison

    Anna Watson

    Forrest Wilburn

    Carol-Leigh Harvey (Carol Harvey)

    Jayson Nichols

    Photographic/screenshot evidence for the vast majority of the names provided above is currently available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/49081507@N02/.

    Other evidence is currently available at http://lafiga.firedoglake.com/2010/04/05/the-meanest-town-in-america-fake-prom-for-lesbian-student/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Constance-quit-yer-cryin/367776042862 and on prom-themed profile pictures at http://www.facebook.com/srch.php?hs=33573994&hr=2010

    NICE!

  • Casimir

    What’s really important is that we show compassion to the victims of this situation: the five other kids at the same prom as Constance, and employees of Jiffy Lube®.

    Oh, and any student that’ll have their publicly posted intolerant comments held against them. And all the students that kept their prom a secret (to keep it from being “ruined” by “teh gays”).

    Basically, everyone except Constance and her date.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    To all those Americans who are saying that the actions of parents, teachers and the school board of Itawamba County are painting the county in a negative light I have to say that as an outsider it is painting the USA in a bad light. This bigoted little town is a stereotype for America.

    America hates “The Gay” because America is closed minded, homophobic, overly religious, ignorant and just plain mean. I’m sorry because I know that it a stereotype is typically the result of unfair expectations being confirmed by a minority but from the outside looking in your nation is not looking good.

    In all fairness I cannot express how happy I am that people are angry about the treatment of Constance McMillen. It means that a moral principle has been violated and that this has been recognised. Itawamba haven’t yet recognised this fact but it remains true.

    Another issue is the categorisation and dismissal of the thoughts and feelings of the students with learning difficulties as unimportant. As a father of a son who has severe dyslexia (a common learning difficulty) I would be very angry if he were discarded as someone unworthy of attending a school and coming of age celebration simply because he cannot write and has trouble reading because he has no memory for written words. My projected anger must be similar to that felt by Constance’ parents that she has been discarded because of her sexuality. a sexuality that is as much an accident of birth as my son’s dyslexia or another child’s skin colour.

    I hope that this cruel incident will change the opinions of Americans and indeed those who observe from across the oceans. There is nothing wrong with being different. We should embrace our differences, live them and engage in the diversity of individuality. That a nation like America that seemingly loves the concept of the moral worth of the individual it is disheartening to see it so poorly applied.

  • Richard Wade

    I put up a picture on the Constance Quit Yer Cryin’ site. People seem to like it.
    fulton sign

  • plutosdad

    To Alex and anyone else who believes that crap: The thing these kids don’t get is, even if they are right that Constance wanted to wear a tux “for attention” and that she does many outlandish things (like one girl on that thread said “wear weird clothes” as if that’s so horrible) so what? that does not excuse their horrible behavior. Lots of kids at that age do things for attention. Heck I wore “wierd” clothes and spikey hair, and the same kind of kids probably hated me too. The way you deal with it is by ignoring it.

    Really, even if they didn’t like her “for WHO she is” you think holding a seperate secret prom is appropriate? Shouldn’t the parents have said “in life you have to live with and deal with people you won’t like, you are 17-18 now you better have learned how by now”. And did they not like the retarded kids for “who” they were? or “what” they were? One girl wrote “they could have come no one hates them, no one talks to them” which proves the point – they were outcasts and left out not because of “who” they were – no one even knew “who” they were.

    One girl at her school wrote “what if she wanted to wear a bullhorn on her head?” she didn’t, she wanted to wear a tux. And probably would have not worn one and quietly gone to the prom if the school said “you have to wear a dress but you can go with your date” but the school didn’t say that, they told her she had to go seperately and would be asked to leave if another student was “uncomfortable” (and what is the chance of that? 100%)

    The sad thing is , i often find myself defending the South – there is a lot of bigotry up here. But lately more and more stories like this, like the Texas school board, etc, keep coming out, and I just have to start rolling my eyes and wonder what the hell is going on down there.

  • Hybrid

    I grew up 70 miles from Fulton, in another less-than-progressive city. Places like Fulton tend to have little to offer if you’re ambitious or have academic leanings. Nashville TN, Huntsville or Birmingham AL, or Atlanta GA are all fairly progressive cities that present opportunities for a much higher quality of life.

  • noah

    according to Salon.com, she didn’t go because she didn’t feel wanted:

    “McMillen says that she knew about the other event, but, ‘If I wasn’t wanted there, I wasn’t going to go.’”

    Not that I can blame her. I’m just saying that she wasn’t technically excluded. It’s certainly a relevant point.

  • Robert

    I grew up in Houston and I thought Texas was the intolerance and hate capital of America. Man was I WRONG. Fundie Xitians in Texas couldn’t hold the jock of these school officials. I was bullied often and socially rejected myself while in high school. While I am not gay, I do understand peer rejection but I could never imagine school officials actively assisting in bullying and harassment of this student. At least when I was bullied, the school officials just squeezed their eyes shut real hard and hoped it would go away.

    Staging a bogus prom?!?! I cannot think of a four letter word to describe these school officials and students.

    I hope Ms. McMillian becomes a very rich woman as a result of this. I think this is what lawyers call a “slam dunk”.

  • Sackbut

    Looks like there will be a THIRD prom (this one is multi-school).

    American Humanist Association Joins Green Day and Lance Bass as a Co-Sponsor of Second Chance Prom in Mississippi

    The American Humanist Association (AHA) announced today that it, along with the Grammy-winning band Green Day and popular singer and performer Lance Bass, will co-sponsor a prom for Mississippi youth, including students from Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, MS.

    I wonder how many people from Itawamba will show up.

  • alx-nikki

    Poor Constance. She has every right to go to prom with whoever she wants. That girl in her class is a bitch. Obviously Constance is not an attention whore for trying to have her civil rights exercised. I hope Constance escapes that awful place. No one should be subjected to such hateful things. It is sad how badly America is progressing. It’s no wonder that people my age was wanting to leave the country (including me)

  • Cameron

    This sounds like the worst fucking town. I don’t know how people like this can live with themselves. Shame on them for doing this to a child.

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