2006 Press Releases

3.21.2006: ACLU Applauds Denham Springs High School

ACLU Applauds Denham Springs High School's Commitment to Inclusive Prom Policy that Bans Sexual Orientation Discrimination

NEW ORLEANS--The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana today applauds a commitment by the principal of Denham Springs High School to make the annual prom an event inclusive of all students, regardless of sexual orientation.

In early March, the ACLU received a complaint from a student, which alleged that the school planned to deny admission to same-sex couples at the prom.  In response, the ACLU wrote a "demand letter"[1] to Principal Harold Wax asking for a clarification and modification of any discriminatory policy.  He has verbally assured the ACLU that school officials do not intend to discriminate against same-sex couples attending the prom.

"For most students, attending their prom represents a celebration of years of work and a very important part of the high school experience," said Joe Cook, Executive Director, ACLU Foundation of Louisiana.  "Fortunately, the federal courts have held that the Constitution?s free speech, right to associate, and  promise of equal and fair treatment under the law extends to students in this situation.  It prohibits school officials from discriminating against an individual who seeks to attend prom with a person of the same sex."

"In a conversation with the principal of Denham Springs High, I have been assured that same-sex couples are welcome to attend prom,"[2] said Katie Schwartzmann, Staff Attorney of the ACLU Foundation of Louisiana. "This position complies with established court decisions, which forbid treating a student differently based upon animus toward that student's sexual orientation."

[1] To view the original letter from the ACLU to Denham Springs High School, click here

[2] To view the confirmation letter from the ACLU to Denham Springs High School,     click here