Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mississippi...not just Southern Hospitality & Tolerance

In recent news, it seems the Itawamba County School Board in Mississippi is so threatened by the notion of a lesbian couple attending spring prom (one of them wearing a tux), that after prodding to lighten up by the ACLU, they chose instead to cancel the entire event.

A few thoughts. Like it or not, holding proms is not a primary or even core function of schools. If a school board, for whatever reason, wishes to host a prom at a school - so be it. Similarly, if they don't, so be it.

If you challenge the way an organizer or host does things, or the rules they set, they are well within their rights to simply fold their tent.

Activism is not risk-free. Your opponents may well decide that rather than dealing with you and/or your issues they would rather fold their tent and go home - as is their right. If they do, you are left with either doing without or throwing your own party.

Suck it up, and start planning a better party without the petty bureaucracy and micromanagement imposed by the average school board.

That the Itawamba County school board chose to act in a petty and bigoted fashion is without doubt, and that their choice of response was reactionary at best (likely subjecting the girls in question to serious hostility from their classmates) and reprehensible. But simply being vile is not a legal matter, per se.

Again - throw a prom, a better one that's bigotry-free and that allows students a maximum of freedom while providing the structured environment necessary to ensure student safety and a minimum of negative consequences (i.e., steps should likely be taken to keep vodka out of the punch bowl and post-prom pregnancies to a minimum).

Correction: Mississippi, not Missouri


Bob S. said...

Did we forget to ask another question -- maybe the most important question?

Why are schools still in the business of organizing/supervising proms?

I understand at one point it was considered - vaguely -- educational; back when manners were still being enforced/taught in schools.

Now days with budget shortfalls, gang violence, sexual/gender issues, dress code issues -- why are schools still doing this?

Why not remove themselves from the entire process?

If someone wants to put on a dance and invite fellow students or other kids at the school their kids attend - great.

The Packetman said...

From he linked article:
School policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex.
Now I'll agree that many school policies are infantile and make no sense, but they are what they are.

Now, whether the school board was acting maliciously or not remains to be seen. Perhaps they were hoping to avoid a spectacle at prom-time, and just decided to end the whole thing. The simplest solution, really.

And I'll repectfully disagree with you on one point. The ACLU is not generally known for 'nudging' folks to 'lighten up'; rather they bludgeon with the threat of legal action.

Old NFO said...

Sad, but they DID bring it on themselves... And yeah, since schools are going broke, get them the hell outta the prom business...

JRebel said...

I would like to point out the story is from Mississippi not Missouri, GC. Either way the school board really shouldn't have taken issue with it.