It's Prom and Graduation Season...KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Spring can be an exciting time for students - prom, senior trips, and graduation. But being prevented from taking part in prom or graduation, or from wearing what you want, can sour the semester. These guidelines can help keep your high school memories happy ones, not reminders of prejudice.
The U.S. and Idaho constitutions’ guarantees of equality and free expression, while federal law, and Idaho’s Human Rights Act protect residents from discrimination on the basis of sex, including in public school students' choices about what to wear and who to take to prom.
You have the right to bring a same-sex date to the prom.
  • Public schools cannot require that your date be of the opposite sex.
  • You can't be subject to different rules or standards based on the sex of your date. If there is a professional photographer taking prom portraits, feel free to get one.
Girls can wear tuxedos and boys can wear dresses to the prom.
  • Public schools can implement certain rules about what to wear at a prom, but they can't be different for girls and boys. So, if you're a boy, you have the right wear a dress.
Public schools cannot have gender-based dress requirements for graduation and yearbook photos.
  • As with prom, schools can't enforce a dress code based on gender. Girls can't be required to wear dresses under graduation gowns and boys can't be stopped from wearing dresses in their yearbook photos.
Yearbooks can't be censored by removing photos of gay students.
Other things to know:
  • You have the right not to be bullied or harassed. Your school is required to have a student harassment policy in place. Look in your student handbook or school district’s website for bullying and harassment policies, as well as procedures for filing a complaint or grievance.
  • Students have the right to establish Gay Straight Alliances. If your school has non-curricular clubs (like Key Club or Drama Club), you can form a GSA. Stopping a GSA or treating it differently from other clubs is illegal.
If you run into any problems over these rights or are disciplined for how you express yourself, alert the ACLU of Idaho by filing a complaint online.
Download the PDF know your rights flyer to share it with others.


Excerpt below is from a four-page document passed out to Declo High School seniors in preparation for graduation in May 2015. If you would like the full document, please contact the ACLU of Idaho.