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Russellville, Alabama School Prom Discrimination

Location: Alabama
Last Update: November 20, 2009

What's at Stake

Cynthia Stewart, a junior at Tharptown High School in northern Alabama, wanted to bring her girlfriend to prom. Rather than let her, the school announced that it would cancel prom for everyone.

Cynthia Stewart, a 17-year-old junior at Tharptown High School in northern Alabama, was a member of her school’s prom planning committee, had personally raised over $200 for the prom, and created the theme her classmates had chosen for the dance. She is also an out lesbian.

When Cynthia approached her principal to ask if she could bring her girlfriend with her to the prom, he said no. He also made Cynthia remove a sticker she was wearing that said, “I am a lesbian,” telling her, “You don’t have that much freedom of speech at school.” Cynthia’s aunt and guardian, Kathy Baker, then appealed the principal’s decision to the school board. But the board let the decision to bar Cynthia from bringing her girlfriend to the prom stand.

STATUS: Victory! Franklin County School System officials have reversed their decision and allowed Cynthia to bring her girlfriend to prom.

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