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Judge rejects Alpharetta student's gay prom claim | Schools

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Judge rejects Alpharetta student's gay prom claim
Judge rejects Alpharetta student's gay prom claim

ATLANTA, GA-- A federal judge ruled Monday that administrators at Alpharetta High School had sufficient cause to remove the school's student council president, rejecting Reuben Lack's claim that he was sacked for attempting to make the school prom more gay friendly.

Lack, a senior, had asked US District Court Judge Richard Story to reinstate him as student council president.  In February, Lack had asked the student council to consider a proposal to make the school's prom court gender neutral, eliminating the titles of prom "king" and "queen."  

RELATED STORY:  Student sacked following prom pitch

Testimony during an evidentiary hearing indicated that the council rejected Lack's proposal following a spirited discussion.  A few days later, school administrators told Lack they were removing him as council president.

During the hearing, teacher Michelle Werre, faculty adviser to the student council, testified that Lack had exhibited behavior she called "disrespectful" and "insubordinate" shortly after the school year started in September 2011, continuing into 2012.   Werre said Lack undermined her authority by cancelling meetings she had scheduled, and trying to schedule meeting for times when she couldn't attend. 

Two Alpharetta High School students, identified in court only by their initials, also testified that Lack's leadership skills were poor and undermined the student council's role leading school events.

 RELATED:  Students speak out after president sacked

One of the students -- in addition to Werre -- testified that Lack's proposal to change the prom was the subject of a debate lasting more than twenty minutes.  Both testified that the council overwhelmingly rejected Lack's proposal, in part because there were already no gender restrictions on candidates running for prom king or queen.

At the conclusion of the day-long hearing, Judge Story -- a Bill Clinton appointee -- told the audience he would rule against Lack's motion for reinstatement. Story said he scheduled the hearing because he was concerned that the school might have impeded Lack's First Amendment rights.  The evidence showed otherwise, Story said.


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