Missouri High School Tries, Fails To Stop Teen From Taking Boyfriend To Prom

Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week. 

Have a nominee for DOTW? E-mail it to us at [email protected].

stacy dawsonJust in time for Valentine’s Day, a Missouri school lost the battle to stop a gay student from bringing his boyfriend to prom.

Stacy Dawson (right) is a 17-year-old senior at Scott County Central High School in Sikeston, MO, where school administrators told him he couldn’t invite his boyfriend to prom because of a mandate in the student handbook that said,  “students will be permitted to invite one guest, girls invite boys and boys invite girls.”

Dawson questioned the policy, but was told the school board would not consider revising it.

So the intrepid student called up the Southern Poverty Law Center and, on Thursday, they  sent the school and the district a letter reminding them that Dawson had some basic human rights.

SPLC cited two relevant court cases: the 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District , which determined students don’t “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates,” and a  Mississippi court case involving Constance McMillen, who sued her school when it wouldn’t let her take her girlfriend to prom.

scott-county-general-highToday, the school announced it was deleting the ban on same-sex dates from the handbook (which has now been removed from its website), but claims the rule wasn’t about bigotry in the first place.

“This was during a time 10-15 years ago that the previous administration was having issues with some of the students trying to come in on either the single rate or the couple rate,” explained district superintendent Alvin McFerren. “They implemented that to make sure they couldn’t circumvent the rates that students were supposed to pay as they entered into our dances—it was never intended to be a discriminatory thing,”

God yes, because we have an epidemic of students trying to scam prom-ticket discounts! Maybe Indiana bigot Diana Medley should use that excuse.

If this was a simple misunderstanding, why didn’t the school change its mind when Dawson asked nicely? Instead, they’ve put an ugly asterisk next to what should be one of the happiest days of his young life.

All together now: What a bunch of douches! 


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #doucheoftheweek #education #gayprom stories and more


  • Scribe38

    So proud of this young man, for standing up for his rights. I wish I was as smart as he is when I was his age. I spent my prom night sitting at home depressed because I could not take my boyfriend. It does it get better :)

  • Dawster

    I don’t know if they were being “douches” if they were citing a written rule at first like all institutions would, and then later agreed to overturn it… not only for this circumstance but also for everyone that comes after. In fact, I think that’s a rather decent thing to do and with minimal upset (no lawsuit and it was taken care of… IN TIME FOR PROM).

    Just because some institutions follow protocol and are “slow” (in a manner of speaking) doesn’t make them a douche, it makes them a reluctant example, at worst.

  • unclemike

    @Dawster: Considering they didn’t get rid of their policy until after the threat of legal action was introduced, I’d say the “douche” label is apt.

  • MickeyP.

    @unclemike: I agree with you on this. First they said no and then,when their asses were backed into a wall,they relented.Trust me,they didn’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts! And their lame excuse for why it was worded in the “handbook” the way it was,makes them not only douches,but LYING douches!

  • yaoming

    Maybe now they’ll be voted Prom Queen and King.

  • Globaltraveler

    Where in the world are these young kids (no disrespect intended) getting this courage?

    I’m quite certain I wouldn’t have had the balls at 17 to stand up for myself like this, especially in a conservative place like MO. This young man, his parents, his friends, support system et al all deserve a cheer.

  • Billysees

    @Globaltraveler: 6

    You’ve really asked a great and a nearly amazing question —

    “Where in the world are these young kids …. getting this courage? ”

    Here’s my answer, though it probably won’t be considered a serious one —

    “Man’s ways are of the Lord, how can we understand our own ways ? “…..Proverbs 20:24

    And “His” ways for us are gonna get better as time goes on.

  • Cole

    Well, I can say from personal experience (I came out publicly at 17 in Theology class at my Catholic, All-Boys high school), that age is a sort of singularity for a few factors. One, you’re not old enough yet to really understand that some shit has permanent consequences, or even that permanent consequences are a thing, and you’re old enough to feel rebellious and independent enough to do crazy things. That being said, fucking KUDOS to this kid. This is how it starts, when young people stand up and scream that they’re not going to let assholes in charge keep them down forever.

  • gppm1103

    The “rate” thing was just too lame.

    good for you Stacy…

  • John Doe

    Sometimes on these local stories I prefer to go to the LOCAL NEWS (or people that have talked to someone FIRST HAND) to find out the facts of a story vs. a 3rd party website that re-prints a story second hand…. or even third hand in some cases.

    In this case, it is rather confusing because different reporters that talked to the student are reporting this story with some differences.

    Based on what I read, I’ll give the school board (who oversees the district) some credit, but question the actions of ONE administrator at the school.

    Based on one reporter, the student was told by the “school administration” that they’d look into it, but that it would take time to get the policy changed. Who is the “school administration”? One person or more?

    In another report he felt “brushed off” when one school administrator he talked with told him, “Yeah, we’ll look into that.”

    But another reporter says that he talked to this one person twice… and that the second time this person said that the school board wasn’t going to change the policy.

    So, we have three versions with a little bit of overlap…. but also some differences.

    What we apparently DO know is that he talked to ONE person in the school administration. He won’t say who this is. So, we don’t know what this one person did. Did they talk to someone on the school board? Who did they talk to? How did they handle this request behind the scenes? We don’t know.

    But, we do know that with 24 hours of the School Board getting the letter from SPLC, the policy was changed. The letter from SPLC requested that the school board respond by February 25th. That’s 11 days after the school board got the letter. But, the school board made the change within 24 hours vs dragging this out in any way.

    Considering that the school board didn’t even wait a few days on this, but rather changed the policy within 24 hours, I’m apt to give them a lot of credit. Again… with this one administrator…. we don’t know much more. Maybe there is something sinister there…. or maybe not. Maybe the school superintendent was aware of this kid’s request and it was being pushed to the back burner until a future meeting. We don’t know. The good news is that the policy is changed.

    I really don’t see a “douche” in this story… and certainly not worthy of “douche of the week”. Like I said, we’re getting different reports and it possibly boils down to one administrator that we know nothing about.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Globaltraveler: truthfully, the internet has opened many avenues for social change that were previously unavailable to us. A story like this 15-20 years ago would likely have never received more attention than a small blurb in a local paper. However, the internet connects us all in such a way that we can “bully” (for lack of a better term) the world into social responsible change.

  • FStratford

    @John Doe:

    I dont know why you are confused. The news was a breaking news – so the reporters reported from different timelines of the story: when it first happened, when he first talked to the administrator, when ge approached the admisnistrator again, when the whole admin as a group decided to not to address it…. when the SPLC helped, when admin decided to change the rulebook, etc

    At any point in time, a reporter could have written his story and missed all the future ones. Add the fact that reporters often save space and time by omitting past events if the current event covers their point: e.g. the administration as a group decide not to address the issue means that a reporter may choose not to mention that one administrator earlier mentioned that its not going to happen anytime soon.

    And yes they are douches

  • Dawster

    @unclemike: threat of legal action doesn’t represent right verses wrong, stagnant verses progressive. Threat of legal action is a measure of seriousness. At first glance, a boy taking boyfriend could be any number of things, rebellion, confusion, acting out, whatever… the rules stand. This is step ONE and it always has to happen no matter what the institution or their function.

    And please don’t misinterpret explanation for agreement… I personally think it’s stupid. Moving on…

    The boy and parents threaten legal action. ‘Oh, this is a REAL boyfriend? You discussed it as a family and found it acceptable? Well then, so do we.’ This is step TWO. and it was swiftly executed.

    Unfortunately, those who work with kids going through adolescence and puberty, you always have to have that “maybe this is just for attention” shield… and in this case I thought it admirable it took two steps to change everyone gay who steps foot in that high school from now until the zombie apocalypse.

    I still say it’s not a douche move, and good luck expediting this same policy in other institutions and corporations in such a short amount of time. And bravo to Stacy D for changing the world around him for the better.

  • Evji108

    There’s nothing like the expensive and disturbing prospect of a nasty lawsuit and the ensuing negative publicity to get a school board to change their minds. I think it showed a lot of good sense.

  • John Doe

    @FStratford: Did you read what I wrote?

    “In this case, it is rather confusing because different reporters that talked to the student are reporting this story with some differences.”

    1. Different reporters (3 of them more specifically)
    2. They all interviewed the student
    3. It is confusing because there are differences in what the reporters reported concerning what happend last year. There are clear differences in verbiage. That was very clearly indicated in my post…. or so I thought.

    Also, in regards to a “timeline” of when this reporting occurred, there is nothing in what I’ve mentioned that is affected by a “timeline” scenario. All 3 reporters just recently talked directly to the student about what happened LAST YEAR. They could interview him again in 3 months and his story about LAST YEAR’s events would still be the same. I hope it would anyway. Unfortunately there were 3 articles written and each one gives a variation of those events from last year.

    Apparently you also didn’t pick up the fact that there is a difference between ONE person in administration vs. “administration” that can refer to more than one person. As well, that a School Board is a distinctly different group from the administration at one high school. These are the terms and words used by the 3 different reporters. They are 3 distinctly different words/terms. That is what is key. That is the difference in the reports/articles. Based on what you’ve said in your own post you’re not catching this. Hopefully THIS post clears that up. :)

    Like I said, the School Board changed this policy within a day of getting the letter from SPLC. We have no idea based on the conflicting reports if the School Board was even aware of this student’s question prior to this. And certainly, if they did, it doesn’t mean that they were malicious in not changing it instantly. If you’ve ever served on any board it is almost guaranteed that a policy change takes weeks or months to change. But, maybe you don’t understand how School Boards or other boards function???

Comments are closed.