A trans teen in Mississippi missed her graduation after school officials demanded she dress like a boy for the ceremony

graduation caps pattern
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  • A Mississippi high school tried to force a trans girl to wear boy's clothes for graduation.

  • The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Harrison County School District on the student's behalf.

  • The trans girl skipped her graduation after a district official told her parents she had to dress "like a boy."

A trans girl in Mississippi skipped her high school graduation because school administrators tried to make her dress like a boy to attend the ceremony, her attorney said on Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel in Gulfport, Mississippi said on Friday he would not block the school's decision to force the girl to wear boys' clothing.

McNeel wrote in his ruling that taking part in a graduation is voluntary, and therefore not a constitutionally protected right of any student.

The girl was set to graduate from Harrison Central High School in Gulfport on Saturday.

The ACLU sued the Harrison County School District on Thursday on behalf of the 17-year-old and her parents after Harrison Central principal Kelly Fuller and school district superintendent Mitchell King told the student she must follow the boys' clothing rules for graduation.

Graduating boys in the school district are expected to wear white shirts and black pants. Graduating girls are expected to wear white dresses.

According to the lawsuit, King told the girl's mother that the student could only participate in graduation unless she wore "pants, socks, and shoes, like a boy."

Linda Morris, staff attorney at the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, told The Associated Press that McNeel's ruling was "as disappointing as it is absurd."

"Our client is being shamed and humiliated for explicitly discriminatory reasons, and her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter's life," Morris said. "No one should be forced to miss their graduation because of their gender."

According to the lawsuit, the student had selected a white dress to wear to graduation and had worn dresses to school previously in classes and extracurricular events throughout the school year, including to prom last year.

Harrison Central High School and the Harrison County School District did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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