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Shelton v. Anoka-Hennepin School District

Desiree "Dez" Shelton and Sarah Lindstrom were girlfriends and seniors at Champlin Park High School in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, north of Minneapolis. They were elected by their classmates to the royalty court for their school’s winter formal dance in January 2011 and they planned to walk together in the procession just like any other couple. Days before the procession, school officials told the girls that they could not walk together because other students might be "uncomfortable." NCLR and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) worked with the Minnesota law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP and sent a demand letter outlining the District’s violations of the girls’ rights under the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The District refused to back down, so NCLR and our co-counsel sought an emergency court injunction ordering the school to allow the girls to participate as a couple at the event. The judge scheduled a mediation the next day, during which the District agreed to allow Dez and Sarah, and any other same-sex couple, to walk together in the procession.


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