School Gets "F" on First Amendment Rights

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K.K. Logan attended West Side High School in Gary, Indiana during his junior and senior year. He expressed a deeply rooted femininity in his appearance and demeanor, and his classmates and teachers supported him when he wore clothes typically associated with girls his age. But when senior prom rolled around, everything changed.

Logan attended the prom wearing a dress, but was literally blocked by Principal Diane Rouse who stretched her arms across the door of the off-campus banquet center where the prom was held. Logan's classmates rallied to his defense, as did members of the community who were outside taking pictures of their children, but he was never allowed to attend his prom. The high school justified its actions by referencing a policy that prohibits clothing that advertises one's sexual orientation. Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Logan. We're arguing that the school violated his First Amendment rights, including the freedoms of speech, symbolic action and expressive conduct, when it rejected him from his prom for wearing a dress.

Take Lambda Legal to the Prom

Prom Season Q&A: What LGBTQ Youth Need to Know

Q: What if we're two lesbians and we both want to wear tuxedos? Can the school set any dress code based on gender stereotypes?

A: While schools can set general dress standards for prom — like requiring formal attire — they shouldn’t force you to wear clothes based on your gender.

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.