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Posts for April, 2010

Fulton MS: The World’s Cruelest Town

Jim Burroway

April 6th, 2010

Itawamba Agricultural High School student Constance McMillen made news this past month when she decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, just like hundreds of other couples in that town and thousands more nationwide. Her school however reacted by first putting out a memo describing who is allowed to attend the prom (opposite sex couples), and then canceling it. Later, she was invited by an attorney for the school board to attend a private prom organized by parents to be held at the Fulton Country Club. For the time being and on the surface, the matter seemed resolved.

It turned out that the “prom” at the Fulton Country Club was entirely fake:

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn’t much to keep an eye on.

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

Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

Students attending the real prom at a secret location in Fulton, Mississippi. (Photos via Facebook)

Students attending the real prom at a secret location in Fulton, Mississippi. (Photos via Facebook)

To add more cruelty to the situation, the fake prom was apparently meant to be the “freak” prom. In addition to Constance and her girlfriend, two others with learning disabilities, were among the five others who were there. Meanwhile, the rest of the class attended the real prom which was held at a secret location.

Itawamba students even went so far as to set up a public Facebook page called “Constance Quit Yer Cryin” to celebrate their “victory.” The Facebook page has now become, in effect, a public shaming post for the people of Fulton. Says Jorje, for example, “thank you for making my homestate of Texas look all the better by the day, ignorant southern homophobes!” Wrote another, “What kind of backwoods white trash sets up a fake prom. You are pathetic and at some point in your life will pretend this never happened. Losers.”

Another observed, “Not ONE parent or student has defended themselves on here? Not ONE? If you can’t take the heat, don’t set up an FB page. You are cowards as well as deceivers and scoundrels.”

The facebook page also has three image captures of private pages documenting Itawamba student’ high0-fiving it over having pulled off the fake prom. Says one student, “I had fun at the ‘prom’ last night…:)”. Another wrote on her Facebook page, “Best ‘prom’ in the history of IAHS…thats [sic] right 2010 goes out with a bang!)

Update: Meanwhile, we have this reminder via Truth Wins Out:

She spent all Saturday getting ready, fixing her hair, slipping into the pink floral dress her mother finished the week before. Her father, a Baptist preacher, helped pick her date, a respectable young man worthy of escorting his daughter, the first and only black student at Jones Valley High School.

She and her date drove that 1965 night with her father and a retinue of supporters and protectors toward the high school gym. They turned the corner.

The gymnasium was dark, empty.

“They had fooled us,” Carolyn Tasmiya King-Miller said. “I remember going home that night in tears. I sat on the sofa in my prom dress, lying on my mother’s breast and crying all night. That’s when the silence started.”