Important Issues in Mississippi

Hey everyone,

Generally we devote most of our attention on this space to things that directly affect the band, however, there is a situation going on in Mississippi that really has Chelsey and I bummed out and we would appreciate your help and support. Here is the situation (via Dan Savage):

Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked the school if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students at Itawamba Agricultural blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and “ruining senior year.” Constance is now being harassed and bullied.

The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid “distractions.” Now it’s up to us—to decent people everywhere—to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could’ve been.

E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend To Prom.” And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb), which is defending Constance and other gay teenagers across the country.

Thank you so much for reading guys, and please help Constance out. Our home region of Western Massachusetts has been PLAGUED by bullying lately and it is unacceptable, there or anywhere. We love Mississippi, both for its kindly spirit and the amazing art it has produced (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, Jim Henson, Morgan Freeman, Tennesse Williams, Muddy Waters, Medgar Evers, Richard Wright) and we would love to see it come through this conflict in a way we can be proud of. Support these kids and show them a better side of human nature.

Chad and Chelsey

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