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Posts for July, 2010

Mississippi School District Settles With Lesbian Student Over Cancelled Prom

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2010

Fulton, Mississippi’s nickname of “the world’s cruelest town” was well-earned when Itawamba Agricultural High School student Constance McMillen was denied her prom. When the school learned that Constance planned to bring her girlfriend to the prom, they canceled it. Then parents organized a private prom and at first refused to tell her where it was taking place. Then they invited her to that private prom at the country club, only to organize a double-secret private prom elsewhere. This left Constance and her girlfriend with a half dozen developmentally disabled students at the country club wondering where everyone went.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the school district over this outrageous behavior by so-called adults. Today the ACLU announced a settlement:

Itawamba County School District officials agreed to have a judgment entered against them in the case of a recent high school graduate who sued her school for canceling the prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend. The agreement ends a precedent-setting lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 18-year-old Constance McMillen, who suffered humiliation and harassment after parents, students and school officials executed a cruel plan to put on a “decoy” prom for her while the rest of her classmates were at a private prom 30 miles away.

“I’m so glad this is all over. I won’t ever get my prom back, but it’s worth it if it changes things at my school,” said McMillen, who was harassed so badly by students blaming her for the prom cancellation that she had to transfer to another high school to finish her senior year. “I hope this means that in the future students at my school will be treated fairly. I know there are students and teachers who want to start a gay-straight alliance club, and they should be able to do that without being treated like I was by the school.”

As set forth in documents filed in court today, school officials agreed to implement a policy banning discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the first policy to do so at a public school in the state of Mississippi. The school also agreed to pay McMillen $35,000 in damages and pay for McMillen’s attorneys’ fees.

The “Christian” response in Fulton

Timothy Kincaid

April 7th, 2010

Why do so many gay people believe that Christians hate them? Perhaps this letter to the editor in Fulton, MS, about segregating and excluding a lesbian student will give us a clue:

Dear editor,

As pastor, board of deacons and members of Fairview Baptist Church, we wish to say we fully support our county superintendent of education Teresa McNeece, Itawamba County School Board members and school administrators in their stand on dress codes and immoral conduct.

Bro. Gene O’Brian
Pastor
Fairview Baptist Church

Or perhaps this one:

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

I will be overjoyed to quote any Fulton church that wants to refute these statements.

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.”