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Case 1:10-cv-00061-GHD-JAD

Document 22

Filed 03/19/2010

Page 2 of 10

by parents of high school seniors and juniors and will be held at the Tupelo Furniture Market in

Tupelo, Mississippi. There is no constitutional issue stated, nor is anycognizable constitutional right

of Plaintiff implicated by the Board of Education’s decision to withdraw sponsorship of the school

prom. Significantly, the question of whether or not the Plaintiff will be allowed to bring a same-sex

date to a school-sponsored prom is not proper for injunctive relief and is alternatively barred under

the doctrine of mootness.

II. SCHOOL SPONSORSHIP

The Plaintiff argues that the District has closed an available public forum. This is not the

case. The District has a content neutral facility use policy. (See Board Policy KG at Exhibit “D”).

A social event for the juniors and seniors has been scheduled elsewhere, namely, at the Tupelo

Furniture Market and is sponsored by their parents. No facility use request has been made to the

District. This is an issue of withdrawal of school sponsorship, nothing more. In fact, for at least the

past four years, the Defendant Board has debated and discussed the matter of withdrawing its

sponsorship of the annual prom based primarily on concerns over potential liability exposure.

Potential Liability Exposure

The potential exposure of a school district to damages arising from disruption and private

acts

of

violence

is

well

known.1

Miss.

Code

Ann.

§

37-9-69

(2008),

provides

in

part

that

“superintendents, principals and teachers shall hold the pupils to strict account for disorderlyconduct

at school, on the way to and from school, on the playgrounds, and during recess.” Miss. Code Ann.

§37-9-301 (k) provides school boards with the authority and duty to “authorize the use of the school

buildings and grounds for the holding of public meetings and gatherings of the people under such

regulations as may be prescribed by said board.” These have historically been questions of state

1Pearl Pub. Sch. Dist. v. Groner, 784 So. 2d 911 (Miss. 2001)(Claim against a school district for injuries sustained in a fight that occurred during a school sponsored sporting event.)

2

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