Principal Denies Excluding Gay Couples From Prom

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GRANT, Ala. (WHNT) -- A Marshall County high school principal denies rumors claiming same-sex couples are being banned from going to prom together.

Stacy Anderton has the final say about who is allowed at Kate Duncan Smith Daughters of the American Revolution High School's prom, but said that decision is based on age and if a person is in good standing with their school, if they attend a school other than DAR.

He said sexual orientation plays no role on whether someone is allowed at prom or not.

"They will be treated like everyone else.  They are everyone else," Anderton said.

"They're just going to be treated as a student, not whatever their sexual preference is."

Several DAR students e-mailed asking WHNT News 19 to take action and get results.

One e-mail said "KDS DAR high school is not allowing same sex dates at our prom."

A female student wrote:  "I was told for two years that if I attended prom, it could not be with my girlfriend.  This year, the principal has been quoted saying that, "It looks bad for our reputation," if gays were aloud [sic] to go with the prom member that they so choose."

A third student said in an e-mail:  "We aren't allowed to have same sex couples at our own prom and we are trying to get it public so we can change their minds about the rule.  The principal says and I quote "it would give our school a bad reputation" and we are the ones who are paying for our prom and they are telling us who we can and cannot take."

Principal Anderton wants to know where those quotes from, and denies the statements.

He said there is no prom rule against gay couples, who have been welcome in the past.

Anderton said it is fine if two girls want to come together and for one to wear a tuxedo."

"We have had that in the past.  That has happened.  It's a non-issue," Anderton said.

"Haven't had any boys to wear dresses yet, but that could happen anytime, who knows in this day and time?  It was the same thing [when a gay female student wore a tuxedo] as if she had worn a dress.  They had fun, they left, no problems," he said.

Anderton also said same sex couples will be allowed to dance together, gay or straight.

"Every year we have girls that are going to dance with girls," he said.

"This is modern day, we have proms where there's a lot of boys that are not going to dance with their dates, so the girls will dance with each other.  That's not uncommon."

Anderton said any DAR High School students can go to prom together, but to bring someone who is not a current DAR student, they must submit a guest approval form.

It asks for a the name, age, and address of the guest, along with background questions:

Is this person a student at another school?  If so, where?  What grade?

If not, where did the person previously attend and why is this person no longer in school?

"We look at if they are in good standing with their home school. If a student at KDS wants to bring a student from another school, then I will contact their principal or send the request to that principal to make sure that that student is in good standing," Anderton said.

He said this is designed to prevent any possible trouble makers from attending, and the age question pertains to wanting to keep the students to 11th and 12th grade students.

There is one exception.  If the guest is a DAR High School graduate in good standing.

"We'll have students that are in college that are still dating high school girls that are seniors.  If I know them personally then, yes, I'm going to let those students come as well."

Anderton said five or six students submitted forms, which are due Tuesday, April 9, ahead of the prom Saturday, April 13.  None of the requests were for same sex couples.

He denied two of the requests, which were submitted by girls, and said the boys listed as guests were former DAR students who are no longer attending school.

"It's going to be a case by case basis," Anderton said.

"It's not going to be based upon their sexual preference or whatever.  It's going to based upon their standing at their home school or if I have known them and they are in college."

DAR Guest Approval Form

The student guest approval form states Guest Regulations as follows:

1. Guests of DAR students attending a dance or any other function must follow ALL regulations required of regular students.  Examples of these regulations include the following:
A. No Tobacco of any kind.
B. No Alcohol or drugs. (May be subject to breathalyzer test)
C. Must comply with any request made by the principal, the assistant principal, or
D. Other rules outlined in the Student Handbook.

2. NO ONE will be allowed to leave the dance/function and return.

WHNT News 19 contacted several of the students who e-mailed about the issue, but none have responded to our request to be interviewed for the story.