Eight-year-old Meghan Steeves didn’t think too hard about the father-daughter dance at Southwest Elementary in Lawson, Missouri.
Even though Steeves is the child of a single mother, she assumed that it would be okay to ask her mother Shawna to be her date. Shawna Steeves said that she considered the request “an honor” and agreed to accompany her daughter to the dance.
At first, things seemed to be fine. When Steeves contacted the school about attending the father-daughter dance, the principal reportedly agreed.
Shawna and her daughter went dress shopping.
But the Southwest Parent-Teacher Organization, which hosts the event, had the final call. And it was their decision to keep the father-daughter dance strictly for fathers and daughters.
— World News Tonight (@WNTonight) January 30, 2015
Just like that, Shawna and Meghan Steeves were uninvited as a means of maintaining the event’s “integrity.” What’s interesting about the dynamic is that it’s not specific to a girl’s biological or adoptive father; the only condition is that a male figure be present for the dance.
Shawna spoke out about how unfair it was that as a mother, her place was considered less important than even that of a distant male acquaintance.
“If you’re going to have that and you’re going to tell someone to bring their father figure, why not me? I’m just as good.”
Coming under fire for the controversy to ban the 8-year-old and her mother, Southwest PTO president Kacey Collier made a statement to the press.
“Our PTO works very hard at creating events that give ample opportunity for all families to participant in throughout the year. Regarding the situation with this event there were several options given to this family and all families so that all Southwest elementary school aged girls are welcome to attend regardless of their family situation.
Our goal is to keep this special event authentic. We offer many other events that are family oriented. Examples would be muffins with mom and donuts with dad, the family 5 k walk/run, pancakes with Santa, Trunk or treat and our mother son challenge. We are very proud of our organization and what we do for the students and our community.”
Collier said that Meghan Steeves would be allowed to go to the father-daughter dance; it just meant that she would have to be brought by a male relative or family friend.
ABC News reports that the Missouri Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association became aware of the situation, and offered to sponsor a separate party for Shawna and Megan. The “protest party” is open to all children, regardless of whether or not they have fathers.
What do you think: Should Shawna Steeves have found a male stand-in and let Meghan attend the father-daughter dance, or is the dance an offensive tradition that should stop?
[Image Credit: Shawna Steeves]