Missouri High School Faces Lawsuit Over Policy Banning Same-Sex Prom Dates [UPDATE]

Categories: LGBT

Stacy Dawson.JPG
Courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center
Stacy Dawson, a student at Scott County High School in Sikeston, says he wants to go to prom like everyone else.
Update: Dawson received word today that he'll be able to bring his boyfriend to prom.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is challenging a rural southeast Missouri high school for allegedly telling a student he can't bring a same-sex date to prom.

Scott County Senior High School student Stacy Dawson says his counselor told him that because of a policy that says "girls invite boys and boys invite girls" to school dances, he cannot bring his boyfriend to the prom on April 20th.

"She said that since it's in the handbook, it would take too long to change and that I probably wouldn't be able to bring who I wanted to bring," says Dawson.

Dawson, a 17-year-old senior, is openly gay and says he's been with his boyfriend (who just graduated from another high school) for about a year. He says his class is tiny, only about 20 to 30 students, and that there aren't any LGBT clubs or organizations. Nevertheless, Dawson says his orientation never caused him much trouble in school, until he found the following policy in the "Scott County Central School District Student Handbook":

School Dances

The following rules apply to all dances at Scott County Central:

1. High school students will be permitted to invite one guest, girls invite boys and boys invite girls. Exceptions approved by the principal only.

"I went to my counselor to ask if this is a real policy," recalls Dawson.

He says the counselor told him she'd check with the school board and then informed him a few weeks later that he couldn't bring a same-sex date because of the policy. Dawson says no one seemed interested in changing the rule.

"It seemed to me like they didn't want to talk about it," he says. "I think I'm the first to actually come out and say I want something done."

Continue for response from the district superintendent and what sounds like a happy ending for Dawson.


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40 comments
James Madison
James Madison

Julie, I hope you do not mean that. What if someone loves their horse/dog? What if someone loves the neighbor's kids. I have no issue with two adults loving each other. I do have issues with organizations like Man-Boy Love. Love is not always just love. You tossed out a gross generality that cannot be left unaddressed. Sure, if this kid and his date "love" each other, let them go to the dance. But do not make a weak argument for some truly perverted "loving relationships" - make sure to qualify your bumper sticker slogan.

Julie K. Brown
Julie K. Brown

Love is love. We all have this desire, so why not let him express his?

Jimi Moore
Jimi Moore

Next thing ya know cats will be sleeping with dogs.

Christopher Schmidt
Christopher Schmidt

Amazing, 2013 and people just can't accept things and move on. Who cares if it is a same-sex couple, if they like or love each other, what's the problem?

John Hendricks
John Hendricks

PR and protecting the district from a frivolous lawsuit. Same ol same ol.

Warren David Roth
Warren David Roth

I would love to believe Laura, and I believe this is what they will say is the reason. But unfortunately think Allison is closer to truth. I have to believe that they changed their minds to reduce embarrassment for themselves rather than morality.

Laura Lovendahl
Laura Lovendahl

Because it was the right thing to do. Discrimination should not be tolerated.

Suzie Gilb
Suzie Gilb

Allison summed it up pretty eloquently for me.

Allison Benoit
Allison Benoit

Probably because the public outcry over the school wasting money on defending the lawsuit would be stronger than the supposed public outcry they expect to get from allowing same-sex couples go to prom together.

Kim Chisum
Kim Chisum

the school needs to amend or change their policy. the times and the family dynamic have changed. homosexuality is in the open now and he should be able to bring his partner to the prom. so what if it's not a female. change your policies school administration, times have changed and so should the rules. it's not fair and it's discriminatory. just because the school may not condone same sex relationships doesnt mean be insensitive to another person.

Brenda Rouse
Brenda Rouse

I believe in boy-girl proms if we can not have that then get rid of proms and social lives in school!

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

Stacy...go...and have a great time....!! A lot of different people are wishing you well... I used to be a bigot...until, my love for a dear friend, showed me that love was stronger than hate....!!!

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

the other kid is from another school so I wouldnt think he could 
"go solo" to get in

Lossy Dreamsequence
Lossy Dreamsequence

Yes, that type of stereotyping needs to be removed from the policy and if they had consulted the school board with no reaction then they knowingly continued to violate the teen's rights.

Michael Mytzlplyk
Michael Mytzlplyk

ABSOLUTELY. How does someone else have the right to determine who is what sex ? And if that is who the other person likes, then no one has any business interfering with that.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

He can enter solo, and so can his "date." once inside, they can dance. This is nothing more than headline grabbing theatrics. And why did he seek permission beforehand? His case would have been stronger had he just shown up at the door with his "date" and there been rejected entry. How many guys go stag? How many show up together? Plenty. The only reason this is news is because he sought to make himself special. How sad that is.

James Madison
James Madison

The kid can go solo, and his "date" can also go solo. Once there, they can dance. Only an idiot claims they are banned.

Tim590
Tim590

You go Stacy!  I hope the school has a sudden change of mind.  In 1993 I attended my boyfriends prom at Northwest High School.  The Northwest High School Principal  told my partner they preferred  if we  didn't attend the prom but they couldn't stop him.  We received threats from other class mates but we had a strong circle of friends that supported us and were near by the entire duration of the prom. I am glad you are shedding light on small towns by coming out. Stacy you will inspire other youths that grow up in smaller communities and help them accept themselves.

Mary Hery
Mary Hery

In reality, the school should. Although I do like how all the students there are seeing a real world descrimination bias in front of them, especially when the same argument is probably not being brought up when girls are splitting the cost of couples tickets bt going together just to go to prom. At least that's what I did when I went to prom. Just because you don't have a date shouldn't mean you can't go with a friend. And that is ALL this should be about, no sexual orientation issues involved.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

Sacrafice them in the name of jesus ..amen

Justin Chick
Justin Chick

Anti-gay is homophobic just as anti-black is racist.

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

i think he should get one solid punch in the mouth and then we should move on

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

I love it when anyone says anything remotely anti-gay is automaticly labeled homophobic,lol!

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

Probably not legal action, but the ruling should be overturned. Unless you are a bigot that is.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@Julie K. Brown , love is not always love. Sure, his kid and his date should be able to walk to the dance together and pay their entrance fees and dance. But do not claim anyone in love is entitled to do the same. What if some girl brings a 33 year man because they are in love? Should we let them express their love? Think! Bumper sticker slogans are lack of thinking. What if some redneck shows up with his favorite horse/sheep/cow? They are in love, let them express it? THINK!

asidrobert
asidrobert

@Brenda Rouse Brenda, Respectfully, I question your desire to eliminate contact with the real world. Proms, a social life, studies, and an awareness of other cultures, preferences, and points of view are a part of an education. The decision is still yours, but why inflict it on others?

asidrobert
asidrobert

@JamesMadison James, Are there more people in the St. Louis area  as naive as Todd Aikin? Why not get the issue resolved prior to any possible incident. I applaud the young man's pride and honorable action. And yes, I read your entry fully. This is not an attack, nor is the entry from rockymissouri1. It's an opinion, as is yours.

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

@JamesMadison There's nothing wrong with it... How sad YOU are...!

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@asidrobert , AFAIK, Todd Akin has not weighed in on this matter, and his opinion does not matter, does it? Why bring up him? Insult by association? Or something like that? No association here - I vote Libertarian on most ballots. If same-sex couples are not a big deal, why would he even need to bring the matter up before the dance? He is making his participation a big deal. That is my complaint. He is trying to turn the limelight on himself. Rather than just living as he chooses. Two guys show up at a dance together - what is the incident? Dudes go stag all the time. Girls go together to the dance. Most are hoping to find someone at the dance. There would have been zero incident at the entryway had he just shown up with his date and paid his admissions. Once inside, he could have held hands, smooched, or danced. With everything else happening he would not have been noticed. And that was his problem of going to the dance quietly. He wanted everyone to see him as gay. He wanted attention focused on himself. He doesn't just want to live his life. He wants everyone to live it with him. Attention-whore. That's my opinion. 

 If he really say nothing wrong with his bringing a gay partner, he never would have thought to ask in the first place. He felt something was wrong with it, or he felt others viewed it as wrong. Either way, he decided to make it an issue, not anyone else. I'd have much more respect for him had he just shown up like all other students, and then dealt with the matter there.


Did Rosa Parks ask the bus company in advance if she could sit in the front of the bus? Wouldn't have been nice if she resolved the matter prior to any possible incident.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@rockymissouri1 , what is sad is you didn't really read what I wrote before you decided to get personal and attack me. Did I call it wrong? No. I called it what it is - attention-whoring, and nothing more.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@rockymissouri1 , how sad you are for not realizing your attacks on another. See? Probably not. Too blinded by your own point of view. And still you are unable to read my words as written. Try again. Did I EVER say there was anything wrong with them? NO! Did I EVER say there was anything wrong with them attending? NO! Try reading want is written, not your misguided prejudice.

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

@JamesMadison @rockymissouri1 I did not attack you.... There is nothing wrong with them ...or, wrong with them attending..

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