There ought to be a word that describes the avalanche of emotions that runs rampant through the mind when something nasty happens to someone for whom your opinion is low. I admit that Constance (“Is my bow tie straight?”) McMillen possesses many of the traits I find unattractive in a person. If press accounts and television appearances are to be believed, Miss McMillen is selfish and self-centered, publicity-seeking, and scorched-earth in her approach to interpersonal discord. If you read her MySpace blog, you learn that she is also foul mouthed and a lot of other things not mentioned in the steady stream of ACLU press releases issued on her behalf.
So it was puzzling indeed that yesterday I found myself feeling great sympathy for Constance McMillen. It seems that a few weeks ago—on April 2, the day the infamous Itawamba Agricultural High School prom was to have taken place, before Miss McMillen’s legal antics got it canceled—Miss McMillen and a ringer (due to parental wisdom, her girlfriend stayed home) entered the Fulton Country Club where the privately sponsored “alternative” prom was taking place. Or so she thought. Seven other students had the same thought, eight if you count her “date.” Although the “prom” was chaperoned by IAHS faculty, it was clear that the dancing action was elsewhere. As I understand this sad story, the “original” alternative prom was “canceled” by the parents who organized it, on the grounds that it would be a media circus. Some days before the “canceled” prom was to have taken place, however, the not-so-divine Miss M got wind of an uncanceled prom and asked a fellow student how to get a ticket. She was told the prom was taking place at the country club, so there she went and learned the answer to the age-old question, “what if you gave a prom and nobody came?”
While the indignity Miss McMillen and the hapless seven experienced isn’t as terrible as what happened to Carrie at her prom, the machinations of the IAHS parents rival Dean Wormer’s putting Delta House on double-secret probation. Miss McMillen should not have sued her school. The school was within its rights to cancel the prom. The parents who pulled this stunt are complete idiots. Splendid role models they for their spawn.
So of course, Miss McMillen has chosen to return to court. The ACLU Amended Complaint states that
Constance has suffered mental and emotional hardship, which has required medical attention. Constance also has been publicly humiliated and disparaged not only directly by Defendants, but also by students, parents and teachers in her community as a consequence of Defendants’ unlawful actions. Indeed, the stress and trauma of these events have required Constance to take medical leave from her classes at IAHS and has caused her to seek transfer out of the Itawamba County School District.
A plague on all their houses. If there is anything positive to say about this sorry tale and its pathetic cast of characters, it is that IAHS students have not ratcheted their animosity of Miss McMillen to the level directed at Phoebe Prince. The sticks-and-stones kind of comments directed at Miss McMillen, according to her Complaint, sound pretty mild and—dare I say it—age-appropriate for the classmates dissing her:
“We wanted a drama-free gathering to celebrate 3 great years and 1 lousy one together, and we wanted to lay low. We also wanted to do it without the main cause of the lousy.” “Heard you got the other prom canceled. Good job.” Other texts said, in words or substance, “You don’t even deserve to go to our school,” and “Are you going to ruin graduation too?” Later that day, another classmate sent a text message that said, in words or substance, “I don’t know why you come to this school because no one likes your gay ass anyways.” (from the ACLU Amended Complaint)
Too bad the actions of their dim-witted parents weren’t similarly age appropriate.