Following her suspension last month, Janizia Ross will now be able to attend her school’s prom with her girlfriend.
At the end of January, Janizia Ross made headlines across the world when she was suspended from school after publicly asking her girlfriend to the school prom.
The Alexandria High School’s decision to suspend Ross came after her girlfriend Raven performed in the school’s talent show, with Ross taking the stage afterwards. At the time of the incident, Calhoun County School District’s Board of Education released a statement, calling news reports of the suspensions as a ‘misimpression’.
They added that they remained “firmly committed to guaranteeing its students equal educational opportunities in all phases of school administration, including student discipline.”
The incident, which saw Ross ask her girlfriend via a poster with the word ‘prom’ followed by a question mark decorated in rainbow, was originally approved beforehand before being withdrawn.
The school says the decision to suspend Ross was due to rule breaking.
Last week, the Calhoun County School District wrote to Lambda Legal, an advocacy group helping achieve full recognition of the civil rights for LGBTQ+ people, to state that Ross and Raven were now able to attend the prom together because Ross’ suspension period was over.
In a statement, Lambda Legal’s Senior Attorney and Students’ Rights Strategist Paul D Castillo said:
We are encouraged by the school’s response and we are pleased the district has provided clear and unequivocal confirmation that the girls can attend prom together. This is a great first step, and we are hopeful that we can work together with Calhoun County School District to effect real change for LGBT students because every student deserves a safe and affirming environment.
The letter to Lambda Legal came after the group sent a letter to the school district asking for the two women to be allowed to attend the prom together.
Speaking about the decision, Janizia Ross stated that “I am so relieved that the school said we can go to prom together. Now we can get back to dress shopping just like all the other girls in school.”
Meanwhile, Ross’ mother Jeanise Ross-Walton, said:
When you have children who are black and who are LGBT, you are always worried about their safety. We look to our schools to create safe spaces for them when they are away from us at home. I’m glad that we have proof that my daughter and her girlfriend can go to prom together, and I hope that is a sign that our children will be treated like every other student going forward.
You shall go to the ball after all, Janizia and Raven!