MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) UPDATE 4/7/15 1:30 p.m. Carroll High School students are now telling KNOE the principal has changed his mind, and will allow the girls to wear their tuxedos to prom.
What are students allowed to wear to prom? We're finding out this is not a matter of dress code but rather a matter of First Amendment rights. In fact, if school administrators deny a girl access to prom because she has on a tux then they're breaking the law.
Carroll High School student Claudetteia Love is making national headlines. She claims the principal, Patrick Taylor, says she can't wear a tux to the prom. But Monroe City School Board President Rodney McFarland supports Love's choice of attire.
"I can not force my religious values or views up on someone else. Now it is a different story if you are member of my congregation - then I can tell you my belief. But as president, you have to separate church and state," McFarland said.
He also says it's the principal who sets the policies for prom, and Superintendent Brent Vidrine is the principal's direct supervisor. McFarland tells us Vidrine is out of town, and will handle the situation when he gets back.
McFarland also reports the Department of Justice has contacted the school board's attorney. The department has let them know it is illegal to prohibit a girl from wearing a tuxedo to prom.
The executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana says this isn't new information. They send a letter out every year explaining the rights of students at school dances.
"Schools can have a dress code and they can have a formal attire for a prom. They can say that. But formal attire means a girl can wear a tux that a boy might wear and it also means that a boy can wear a formal gown if he wants to," Director Marjorie Esman said.
Esman also says Claudetteia - a gay student - can legally take anyone she chooses to the prom.
"(Students) cannot be denied the opportunity to attend the school prom or a homecoming dance, or any kind of dance, with a date of their own sex - should they choose to do so," Esman said.
Claudetteia is not the only female student at Carroll High School who plans on wearing a tux to prom. We plan to meet with those students Tuesday and will have their stories right here on KNOE.