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Lesbian Teen Gets $35K Settlement Over Prom

School must pay up for violating her rights
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2010 3:40 PM CDT
Lesbian Teen Gets $35K Settlement Over Prom
A file photo of Constance McMillen.   (Rogelio V. Solis)

(Newser) – A rural Mississippi school district that canceled its prom rather than allow a lesbian student to attend with her girlfriend has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit the ACLU filed on her behalf. The district also agreed to follow a non-discrimination policy as part of the settlement, though it argues such a policy was already in place.

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Constance McMillen, 18, said the victory came at the price of her being shunned in her small hometown of Fulton. "I knew it was a good cause, but sometimes it really got to me. I knew it would change things for others in the future and I kept going and I kept pushing." The flap started in March when McMillen challenged the Itawamba County School District's rules banning prom dates of the same gender. After the district responded by canceling its prom, a judge ruled that it violated the teen's rights. (Read more prom stories.)

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