by Anna C. Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WESSON, Miss. – In a tremendous victory, Ceara Sturgis saw the end of a two-year battle with her former high school, Wesson Attendance Center. In 2009, Ceara was preparing for her senior portraits like most high school students her age. She took her photos in formal wear like many of the other students at her school. The only difference between Ceara and the other students – she was told that her attire was inappropriate for the photos. Ceara (seen here with her mother) wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait instead of the drape, a piece of cloth meant to mimic an off-the-shoulder dress. Today it was announced that two years later, Ceara has won her case against the school district which will have to institute a new policy. Students from Copiah County School District will now only be allowed to wear caps and gowns in yearbook senior portraits. According to the ACLU, “The school will also amend its anti-discrimination policy to add language affirming its commitment to following the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
Mississippi became the focus for queer youth activism in 2010, first with Ceara’s tux case and then Constance McMillen’s prom case. Ceara, Constance and MSSC’s Queer Youth Advisory Board were featured in CNN’s Gay in America series. You can find the CNN report and videos by Michelle Rozsa and Soledad O’Brien here.
These wins are tremendous for the state, but unfortunately they do not signal an end to discrimination in our schools. If you have a similar situation or need support tackling an issue please contact us at email@example.com.
To see the ACLU report visit: ACLU.org