Which she wouldn’t need if she didn’t live in a town full of sanctimonious liars. Congratulations to Fulton, Mississippi for the place you now hold in the annals of bigotry.
Mindy posted last week about Constance McMillen, whose Itawamba County School Board refused to allow her to attend prom with her same-sex date, promised (after a court ruling) to invite her to a parent-organised prom with her Itawamba Agricultural High School classmates. What did they actually do? They sent her to a venue with only seven others from her school while the rest of her classmates had “the real prom” at a different venue. Shunning is alive and well.
“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.
Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. “They had the time of their lives,” McMillen says. “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].”
That her principal and other teachers were at the fake venue to chaperone indicates that there was school connivance with the parents who organised the other prom to actively keep Constance and these other students away, not just a spiteful act from a classmate channelling Heathers. Indeed, in such a small town as Fulton (pop.<4000) virtually everybody else must have been in on the plan to deceive McMillen, otherwise news about the hiring of the caterers, florists, pavilion etc would have been normal gossip that her family would have heard. Shame on them all, especially for including the disabled students in the excluded group – why was that, exactly?
Of course, the justifications are rolling out: the idea that where McMillen was sent was “the real prom” and nearly everybody else in the senior class just boycotted it to go to “an alternative party” to have a “drama-free gathering”. Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what the Jones Valley High School classmates of Carolyn Tasmiya King-Miller thought in 1965 in Birmingham, Alabama. Hint to IAHS students: they’re not remembered very well by most of the world, even if King-Miller herself is now gracious about reconciliation attempts.
The Facebook profiles and photo albums of students who went to the “parent-prom” showed many revealing attitudes and images of the real feelings of these “drama-free” classmates, not least of all that most of the photo albums are titled with “PROM!”.
Most (but not all) of those profiles and albums have been locked now, but not before others cached them where one can only hope the sentiments will haunt them through many a future college and job interview. There’s plenty of evidence there that this was not just “an alternative party” – all the prom accoutrements were there, limousines and all.
From comments at La Figa:
And, if you look at the facebook profiles for the “secret prom” attendees you see the same pages recurring in their profiles:
Greenville Christian School
The Charleston Baptist Congregation
Little Creek Baptist Church
“I’m Proud To Be Christian” by Aaron Chavez Religious Center
Prayer In School Religious Center
I Love Jesus Religious Center
Freedom Rally 2010 “A call to Revival”
Dedicated to Christ
Going to Church Religious Center
God id Love Religious Organization
Jesus Daily Religious Organization
I’m a Christian & I’m Proud Religious Organization
The Resolve Tour Religious Organization
ChristBuild Inc Religious Organization
Christ In Action Non-Profit
There seems to be no sense of cognitive dissonance there with them at all.
It’s nice to see that at least one of the anti-Constance groups created on Facebook has been flooded with people joining it to support McMillen, to the point that the original admins of the group have all left! Although some of the commentors on another Facebook Page have resorted to classist anti-rural stereotypes, which is crappy on a whole ‘nother level.
Anyway, back to Constance herself. Luckily, there’s the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition to offer a second chance: Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition Working With Donors to Host Second Chance Prom for Constance, IAHS Students
The MSSC is organizing its Second Chance Prom, this year in Constance’s community, so that ALL students, gay and straight, at Itawamba will have the opportunity to be themselves at the prom.
I’m sad for Constance that she has been put through such a terrible experience of rejection by her family’s neighbours. I’m glad that the MSSC is there to help her meet more accepting people who can offer her support.