Lawsuit: Student Body President Removed Over Gay Prom Proposal
(ALPHARETTA, Ga.) -- A student body president in Alpharetta, Ga., said he was removed from his leadership post after school administrators disagreed with an idea he proposed to make the titles of prom king and queen open to gay couples.
Reuben Lack, 18, was removed from his post on Feb. 8, 2012 for “pushing personal projects,” according to a suit the teen filed in federal court.
Lack, whose Facebook profile says he is straight, alleged in the suit that administrators at Alpharetta High School violated his first amendment rights when they shut down a student council meeting discussion on modifying the prom king and queen tradition to make it accessible to gay couples.
The school countered that Lack was let go for not fulfilling his duties as president.
“The student was essentially a poor leader,” Suzann Wilcox Jiles, attorney for the district said in a statement issued to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He behaved in a manner not becoming of student body president including but not limited to rescheduling meetings with little notice, directly going against the instructions of the faculty advisers.”
At a Jan. 12, 2012 student council meeting, a faculty member allegedly “interrupted the debate and demanded that the topic be dropped. She instructed the students to cease discussing the topic, and dictated that the resolution would not be adopted, without any formal vote,” the lawsuit stated.
At the next meeting two weeks later, Lack again introduced the resolution. A student council adviser attempted to “require a formal vote on the measure without further debate,” the suit said. Lack decided to stand down on the resolution until “proper debate and discussion” could be had, the suit said.
The teen is asking for punitive damages, compensation for attorney’s fees and to be restored as student body president.
If the measure had been passed, Alpharetta High School could have joined dozens of schools across the country where gay couples have been elected to “royal” posts.
Last year, lesbian couple Rebeca Arellano and her girlfriend, Haileigh Adams, were crowned homecoming king and queen at their San Diego high school.
“I was happier than when I won, my little Haileigh has just been announced Homecoming queen and I couldn’t feel happier! Thanks to every single one of you! You guys made this happen and we are all part of something huge,” Arellano posted on her Facebook profile after the couple were crowned.
In 2010, two gay seniors who had been friends since kindergarten were crowned prom king and queen at their Hudson, N.Y., high school.
“It was so cool when they called our names. Kids were screaming and cheering for us,” prom king Charlie Ferrusi told the Albany Times Union.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio