“Whether you want to go stag, bring a romantic partner of the same sex or go in a big group, it’s your right to enjoy prom with whomever you choose – and there’s nothing a public school can say about it,” states Christopher Clark, senior counsel for Lambda Legal.
Here are four of the most important things LGBTQ teens, their schools and their allies should know:
- “The law is pretty clear that the selection of who you want to bring to prom is a form of expression that is protected by the United States Constitution. A schools’ decision to prohibit someone’s date based on his or her gender is a form of illegal sex discrimination.”
- Schools can stipulate students follow a certain dress code – such as requiring formal wear – but any rule has to apply equally to all students, which means girls can rock a tux if they want to.
- Schools can try to set limits on public displays of affection, but they have to apply to everyone. That means if prom rules put the kibosh on grinding, it goes for all couples, not just LGBTQ ones.
- Attempts to exclude LGBTQ students or create an unwelcome environment can leave a school vulnerable to legal liability, including a sex discrimination claim under state education laws, Title IX or the U.S. Constitution
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