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Diversity & Community Services Mosaics Newsletter: Summer 2014
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Kramer Levin, with co-counsel the American Civil Liberties Union, filed an amended complaint today in McMillen v. Itawamba County School District , et al. on behalf of lesbian Mississippi high school student Constance McMillen. The amended complaint contains details about events that have taken place since March 23, 2010, when a federal district judge in the Northern District of Mississippi ruled that school officials had violated Constance's First Amendment rights when they canceled the school prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend and wearing a tuxedo. In its March ruling, the Court stopped short of ordering the school district to put the prom back on the school calendar because of assurances that an alternative “private” prom being planned by parents would be open to all students. The amended complaint alleges that subsequently, at a meeting with school officials, parents decided to cancel that private prom without notifying Constance because they did not want to allow her to attend, instead organizing a “decoy” prom for Constance and her date and still another prom for the rest of the class. Constance and her date then attended the event the school had told her was “the prom for juniors and seniors” on April 2, where they found only seven other students attending. Defendant principal Trae Wiygul and several school staff members were supervising that event while most of Constance's classmates were at the other prom held 30 miles away. The amended complaint seeks redress for Constance's resulting mental and emotional hardship, public humiliation and harassment. The case has generated tremendous media attention, including stories appearing in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today; and on national television news and entertainment programs. The Kramer Levin team includes litigation partner Norman C. Simon and associates Joshua Glick, Jason M. Moff, and Lee C. Strock.