Friday, February 15, 2013

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

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM

click to enlarge Stacy Dawson, a student at Scott County High School in Sikeston, says he wants to go to prom like everyone else. - COURTESY SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
  • 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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