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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prom dress code lawsuit moves forward in Indiana

Although this particular dress code involves a high school prom, it has potential applications to dress codes generally.

From NWITimes.Com:
"Though he could have worn a nice women's pantsuit without incident, Kevin "K.K." Logan was refused entrance to his senior prom in 2006 when he arrived wearing a pink ankle-length gown.

The transgender Gary student responded with a federal lawsuit, saying administrators trampled on his right to free expression and his right to be free from discrimination on the basis of "gender identity" at a public school that receives federal funds.

In it's formal response to the lawsuit Friday, attorneys for the district said federal courts do not have jurisdiction over the issue because they don't have the power to dictate local school dress codes, especially when constitutional rights have not been violated.

"(Logan) has failed to identify how a male student has a constitutionally protected right to wear a dress to a prom," wrote Ragen Hatcher, attorney for the district."

Read the rest of the news item here.

This is an interestesting case legally because it relies primarily on First Amendment freedom of expression. The school based the exclusion on its policy that deems inappropriate any "clothing/ accessories that advertise sexual orientation, sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, profanity, negative social or negative educational statements." The complaint includes also includes equal protection and Title IX as bases for relief.

See Lambda Legal's statement and the complaint here.

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