Shawna Steeves And Daughter Fight School Over Father-Daughter Dance Ban, PTO Hits Back

February 2, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Shawna Steeves, the mother of an 8-year-old year girl named Meghan from Missouri, is making headlines after authorities at her daughter’s elementary school banned her from attending the father-daughter dance. An association for single mothers and widows moved by Shawna Steeves’ story has decided to throw Meghan a private party.

Shawna Steeves

Shawna Steeves, the single mom of a little girl from Lawson, Missouri named Meghan, is making headlines due to the fact that a single mother is not allowed to attend a father-daughter dance at her child’s school.

Few weeks ago, Shawna Steeves, received a bright pink flyer from Southwest Elementary, which is an invitation to the annual father-daughter dance that is set to take place on February 6th.

The invitation stated that children without a father figure can invite an uncle or a grandfather. But 8-year-old Meghan asked her mother to be her date to the dance and purchased a dress to party with her friends.

Miss Shawna Steeves contacted the principal of Southwest Elementary who told her that she could accompany her daughter to the event. The mother said that she was thrilled to escort her daughter because her father left when she was really young.

But few days later, the 30-year-old single parent received an unpleasant phone call, where she was told that the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) had overturned the principal’s decision. A very disappointed and angry Shawna Steeves told local media:

“One option they gave was that they [the PTO] would find a male substitute to take her, which was out of the question. She told me that she didn’t want to make kids feel like outcasts. But where did my daughter fit in all of this? They didn’t even offer me a chaperone position.”

The school’s principal has refused to comment on the story, but PTO president Kacey Collier did issue a statement where she explained that she did offer Shawna Steeves several options, which she declined. Collier said:

“Our PTO works very hard at creating events that give ample opportunity for all families to [participate] 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.”

One week after the PTO refused to back down, Antonio DeLaCruz, a member of Missouri Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association, has announced that he will be organizing the “Meghan’s Dance” for daughters of widows and single moms.

Shawna Steeves’ story has sparked a debate online about the new definition of family and what society can do to accommodate everyone’s sensibility and journey. What are your thoughts on this controversy?


Category: News

Comments (54)

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  1. Amy Jo Hatton says:

    Ok this is completely ridiculous. The PTO is out of line. They should let it be a Parent-Daughter dance. They way the are acting is as if only families with a Dad and a Mom are valid families. That is discrimination based on the sex of the parent. Apparently the PTO is anti-Constitution. The PTO needs to pull their collective craniums out of their posteriors!

    • Loriann29 says:

      What is ridiculous is that this parent has made such a big deal out of it. There are other activities she can take her daughter to. Why does it have to be a parent/daughter dance? What is wrong with a father/daughter dance. If you don’t have a dad, take an uncle, grandpa, or older brother. Life isn’t fair and everything does not have be made to include everyone. She should have gone out with her daughter on a special evening out and had a good time. Instead someone is throwing this girl a private dance to make it up to her. That is bull. This 8 year old will not learn that life is unfair. She will learn to complain when things aren’t her way. The PTO was not out of line here.

      • Outraged Parent says:

        This is utterly ridiculous on PTO’s part. On top of making the little girl feel like an outcast for no fault of hers they have made themselves look like a barbaric organization. This decision on their part based on their misguided policy is akin to Taliban not allowing the girls go to school on name of their religion.

    • SS says:

      A Parent-Daughter dance is also gender discrimination. What about all the little boys who would like to attend? (or was this an all-girls school?)

  2. Pierre St.Marie says:

    Would a supposed “male” part of a lesbian team be allowed to accompany “her” daughter to the event?

    • Steven says:

      How would ANY gay couple (male on male) or (female on female) biologically ever HAVE a son or daughter anyway? Biologically impossible based on MY studies. That is unless the liberals have redefined reproduction along with everything else they get their control freak hands on.

      • Cat says:

        They could have adopted a child which would make them the real parents. Biology doesn’t define who is a parent. Being there and raising a child, does.

      • Outraged Parent says:

        I don’t think they were looking for biological parents only. By that logic any adoptive parent would be disallowed as well. Grow up.

  3. frankx says:

    really, the mother could let this one go. all she will succeed in doing is causing schools to cancel all future father daughter dance. another casualty of the PC police

    • Outraged Parent says:

      All Father-daughter dances should be banned and the PTO should organize a parent-child dance. What’s the purpose of a dance anyway that causes such a heartburn.

  4. Tracy says:

    While it’s difficult as a parent to watch your child being left out of an event, this is an opportunity to spend QUALITY time together instead of making a spectacle of yourselves. Not everyone is included in EVERY event. Get over it.
    Use this as an opportunity teach your child “The Golden Rule” Unfortunately, this will NEVER be legislated through out courts.
    …..and why can’t there be SPECIAL events set aside for particular groups? That’s what makes it special…

  5. Joe Woodrum says:

    I am sorry, but the little girl needs to understand that she cannot always get her way. It’s a terrible thing to be without a Father or Mother and to have to rely on just one parent. Children need to be made aware, however painful, that life does not provide us a happy ending in all cases. The problem with children today is the fact that they are coddled and allowed to think that there are no losers. This has lead us to a social problem where everyone believes they are entitled to have what everyone has regardless of their ability to work and obtain it. Spar the Rod and Spoil the Child, Bah. We are raising a bunch of spoiled Me Me Me children and when you get to old to take care of yourselves they will not be around to help you and give you what you need.

  6. The Soulless Saint says:

    Given that there are a large concentration of neo-fascists in Missouri I have no doubt the PTO “person” in charge was a Republican who probably assumed she was a lesbian and wanted to make sure their “lifestyle” didn’t taint the other children. Conservatives always want to hold other people down. That’s why I have a fully loaded AK in the trunk of my car, with “elephant hunter” carved into the stock… just for you inbred republicans.

    • Good Grandma says:

      Is that you Brad?

    • gene says:

      Yes, a Republican you can of course tell by the fangs and claws on the person in the picture {which are displayed in this persons mind}. WOW

    • James Thompson says:

      Well you are certainly soulless but you are no saint. I hope the FBI investigates you for this threat and while I am a firm 2nd Amendment supporter, I also know the insane should not own guns.

    • The Soulful Saint says:

      The only part of your comment I agree with is the fully loaded AK. Also, you could never take down an elephant with a 7.62×39 round unless it was full auto which if it’s in the trunk of your car I’ll assume it’s not unless you’re a felon. Furthermore, keeping your AK in your trunk is counter intuitive, better to have it on a rack in your backseat where it is easily accessible. If you tried to use that rifle on me in a tactical situation how many times would you get blasted with my .45 before you even opened your trunk? On another note, I’m not sure democrats OR republicans would agree with your “North Korea/Nazi Germany” inspired idea that everyone who disagrees with your point of view should die. That kind of mentality is dangerous. I’m not a republican or a democrat and but I do think you’re an idiot.

      As far as this whole dance thing goes and this little girl not being able to attend with her mother, that’s BS. I can’t even see why they would put these stupid theme twists on these events. Just seems like a way of creating problems. Why not just call them all “family dances”? Does anyone really give a rats ass what the theme of a middle school dance is? I’d say let the kid bring a stuffed animal if thats what she wants to do.

    • Nonpartisan Brain says:

      Statements like that give republicans all the justification they need to continue regarding liberals as little more than psuedo-educated schmucks. Keep blaming the other side, and they will keep blaming you.

      Nice job, schmuck. You are part of the disease.

    • Sam says:


      Or they said to themselves…Why do we have all these other events for mothers and sons, mother’s and kids, dad’s and kids, etc? We could either get rid of all these events and just have event’s that are all the same or we can maintain these separate events.

      I doubt the lesbian thing came into play. A single mom is many times more prevalent than lesbian parents, so why would you assume that people would assume the extreme minority situation over the obvious one? Your assumptions seem to be slightly hypocritical.

    • Chuck Cassell says:

      Holy crap
      Mr Soulless Saint ,you should think before you open your pie hole,
      IF you want to hunt Some elephants come to Johnston county in
      North Carolina and just look around ,you’ll have no problem finding all the Crap you can handle.
      May God have mercy on your soul man because you are a wasted use of skin…
      You should have to live with someone ,anyone that doesn’t have theirheads up their butt for a minute so you could learn a ounce of manners.
      Its a little girl for Gods sake she doesn’t have a Dad and now you don’t want her to even be able to go to a school dance ,yes I agree that its the PTO’s fault ,but not because of one group or the other,talk about limited thinking..LOOK in THE Mirror..Dum *ss…

    • Me says:

      They probably didn’t even care if she was heterosexual or homosexual, they just thought her status as a single mom was enough threat to the fabric of society and the ideal “two heterosexual parent” image to exclude her.

    • Kat S says:

      Well, isn’t that “tolerant” and “open minded” of you. It’s always so heartening to see liberals practicing what they preach.

      • Steven says:

        The mantra of the lobateral is this:

        YOU must tolerate EVERYTHING unless it is something that I disagree with, which is probably what you agree with. If you change what you agree with I will now disagree with that.

    • Don says:

      So you can actually type a full paragraph about a situation you know nothing about. The article stayed away from political leanings, probably on purpose, but the only times I’ve seen things of this nature, the mothers in the PTO were as liberal as any you could find. As for your elephant hunter. Take it out of the trunk and go point it at a bunch of conservatives and see how that works for you.

    • Joe says:

      someone obviously didn’t read the article and you seem to be worse then what your accusing others of being. that’s called hypocrisy, moron.

  7. justsayin says:

    This whole thing is just a cry for attention. Look you don’t like the idea of a Daddy-Daughter dance because you don’t have one? thats fine! just don’t go.

    Organize one yourself and I bet the whole experience will be for the better. Being this type of stick in the mud just means there was no lesson learned for the 8 year old, just that if you complain to the right people you get your very own special pity party.

    Next time someone invites you to a Themed party that has designated rules, just go ahead and be a dick and ignore the core ones that define the theme, that’ll teach your friends to invite you again.

  8. Tony says:

    There are work arounds for most things . Maybe she could have attended with an uncle or grandfather and then the PTO should have allwed mom to attend as shapperone . Sounds like there may be PTO issues . Keep in mind the PTO are parents themselves and voluntary positions , All parents have a right to attend meetings and have say in what happens with the PTO . Is there more to the story we are not being told ? Or is this PTO just making a big deal out of a little girl wanting her mom to go to the dance with her ?

    • Cat says:

      I agree with the PTO issue part of the statement. That PTO has too much control if they overrule the principal of the school. That’s wrong.

  9. GD Harrison says:

    The PTO obviously never saw Season 1, Episode 19 of Lassie where the church held a father-son event and Jeff (pre-Timmy) didn’t want Gramps to fill in for his dad. Jeff is then even more embarrassed (he’s been tagged a momma’s boy) when Ellen (mom) decides to accompany him instead. Mom talks to the preacher who assures her everything will be alright. Mom (only woman at an all male event) and Jeff are the hit of the party. Hey , PTO’s are largely made up of mom’s who may or may not be married, so maybe some felt threatened by having a single mom at the father/daughter dance. If this had been a mom/son dance and there was boy raised by a single dad you can bet the dad would have been allowed to attend.

  10. Juan Sebastián says:

    Good God! Father-daughter dances are relics from a bygone era. The whole idea is downright creepy nowadays. To hear they’re being used to publicly shame certain children is criminal. PTO president Kacey Collier should be banned from all district events. Her privileging of two-parent families is destroying the community.

  11. Ohhellmel says:

    In this day and age, the word “father” has had to take on a whole new meaning when it comes to modern day parenting. As the proud brother of a single mother sister w/3 girls, I can say with certainty that she is more a father to those girls than their father, uncles or grandfathers ever could be. These girls know in their hearts that this is true. If the same situation was to present itself to my nieces, they to would chose their Mom represent them as their father. There is a reason Meghan chose her mother, she knows what she knows and that’s all that matters to that little girl. This is a way for Meghan to honor her mother, and she is being robbed of this opportunity. Schools should teach compromise to prepare these kids for their lives ahead. Trust me there is a lot more grey area in life that there is black and white.

    You may label my opinion however you like, but I do not have a political bone in my body, I am in no way racist and I have no hang-ups about sexual orientations. I’m only pro-Love & Pro-Family.

    Please PTO, Make the exception and make this little girls hear whole again.

  12. Lisa says:

    I think the PTO is out of line. The Pto Prez Stated tat they had other events for her mother to attend. Does she not understand that being a single parent is that a single parent she works o support her & her daughter so she cant just ask for a day off to do the events during the day. I believe the PTO lady is not seeing the whole picture when it comes too single parents, be it the mother or father. I think she owes Meghan & her mother an aplogy. And if they had a charge they owe them a refund.

  13. joe says:

    I don’t think I read the same story as soulless saint. The PTO organized the event as a father- daughter dance, not a mother-daughter dance. Apparently everyone else in the school was fine with the idea and the PTO tried to accommodate her. This mother set a great example for her child. “if you don’t like the rules, whine until you get your way”

    • faithfully45 says:

      So this mother should allow a stranger to take her daughter to the dance in order to abide by an antiquated rule? Her mother is her sole provider, her mother, her father and her friend. She should have been allowed to escort her because she is acting in the role “of father ” as well.

  14. Thruth be Told says:

    That is rediculous. They provide equel oppurtunity- look the world isnt always how the director of the POT sees it. It should be a gaurdian dance, where one of the two parents can go. Its sick to think Missouri’s had so many problems, and they can’t seem to get their heads out there asses in order to be better people. But like all Missourians say-“Missouri has always been like this, don’t act like its not.”

    Thats where I say; “Im with the Soulles Saint. Guns work best for the incompotent thinker.”

    • Linda says:

      I’m thinking you failed in English classes, especially spelling, you are using a computer, we have evolved “spell check” you got asses right, good job!

  15. Stan says:

    Schools will eventually ban this event because of people like them.

    Also, I am sure the liberals will be commenting soon that it was a republican in-charge that banned them. That’s the first thing liberals do.

    • faithfully45 says:

      What does anyone’s political affiliation have to do with this article? If you can’t contribute anything about the subject at hand say nothing. I’m so tired of reading this “liberal, republican BS, it’s ridiculous and only makes you sound like an idiot. Start contributing something intelligent to the conversation because at the end of the day, the only moniker you’re going to wear is “moron”.

  16. C.J. says:

    Wow!, Soulless Saint, A liberal who owns a gun??? When did that start?
    As far as the story goes, SO WHAT? Why does everyone need to be accommodated. These two can wait for the next mom daughter event. Why does everything need to be turned into a ISSUE?

  17. That Guy you Know says:

    Soulless Saint (ironic name by the way),
    Using words like neo-fascist to describe your idea of a Republican only shows how narrow minded YOU ARE. The fact that you went straight to having a gun also makes me question whether you are a Republican. Using a military style conquest vocabulary makes you a neo-fascist as well.

  18. Tanya says:

    I love that they are doing this. I was a single mom then met my husband. He had children from a previous relationship. He passed away in Sept 2013 in a motorcycle accident so I am back to a single mom of 4 instead of one. Father daughter activities make me very sad. I am my childrens mother and father.

  19. Marvin says:

    Did she have an uncle or grandfather present? The article doesn’t specify. As a father and grandfather of both girls and boys, I understand the objective. The objective is to get men involved with their daughters in a social ‘dating’ setting. There are lots of events in life that has objectives, which drives requirements. I don’t see men using the women’s bathrooms (yet).

  20. jaime mccormick says:

    this is stupid. the pto is not out of line. the guidelines clearly state it’s a FATHER DAUGHTER dance. I didn’t have a dad either growing up,and never asked my mom to go to events where I needed a father, that is what they are for. Not every event can be attended by every child. Instead of making a spectacle, she could have spent quality time with her daughter doing other things.

  21. Joseph says:

    What about the sons? No sons get to attend? That seems unfair too.

  22. Cat says:

    Did anyone read that where it said the PTO overruled the principal? That would never happen where I’m from. PTO’s are volunteer groups that may hold events, make suggestions,ect, but they do not rule what happens at the school. The Principal and school committee have the final say not a bunch of volunteers. I wonder if it’s a case of the Parents or teachers that make up the PTO having a problem or grudge against the mother. Seems like we are not getting the whole story. The PTO stated..”Our goal is to keep this special event authentic.” Um, not really authentic if it’s a father/daughter dance and you allow a grandfather or uncle to take the child. I don’t have a problem with that. However, don’t call it authentic if you allow substitutes. If you do then your argument is off the mark.

  23. bob says:

    I agree with cat.the pto are wrong and should allow the mother to attend as a sub.The ONLY reason they’re wrong is because they allow other male father figures to sub as a father.The mother is clearly the girls dad.I’m surprised that cat is the first one to realize this as it is painfully obvious from this part of the sentence{children without a father figure could invite an uncle or grandfather}.That’s her loop hole if she wants to contest this.Otherwise,yes the girl needs to realize that not everyone can have what everyone else has.I agree that traditional family structures should be upheld simply because children learn values and different ways to handle life from a father and mother in the home.[in case you don’t get what i mean,men are different from women and react differently to the same situation].Uncles and grand fathers are great as male figures in the kids life BUT,are not as much as an actual father[or stepfather]would be if at all possible.That being said, I could care less who’s raising the child. two moms,two dads as long as the child is loved and knows that that is a fact as well as it knows it’s human.BUT,every kid needs an opposite gender take on life at any rate. A lot of same sex couples don’t believe that ,so the child misses out on other ways of seeing things.By the way, the childs father left at an early time in her life.Don’t know where the lesbianism comes from.

  24. Michelle says:

    A big deal out of nothing.

    Does the little girl have a grandfather? My father took my daughter to these events when she was young.

    Mom have a boyfriend or close family friend?

    Make it work people don’t make the news over a non-issue.

    • Greg says:

      You are right, this is no big deal. No reason why she is not allowed to go with her mom. Her mother shouldn’t have even needed to ask for permission.

  25. RON says:


    • Loriann29 says:

      Ron, there really is no reason to yell at me over my opinion. Aren’t we all allowed to voice our own opinions? I see that I am not the only person who feels the way I do but you decide to focus on just my comments. Interesting. Just because you are yelling at me doesn’t make you right. I stand by my feelings on this. I am tired of everyone thinking that rules don’t apply to them. If you don’t like something complain to get your way. There was nothing wrong with the PTA having a father/daughter dance. If you are unable to attend because you don’t have any male figures in your life then go to the next event that applies to you. What will happen when the time comes for the mother/son activity? Will the mother push to make sure she can bring her daughter to that since she doesn’t have a son? Not everyone can be included in everything. Life really doesn’t work that way.

  26. Greg says:

    I agree with PTO, mothers belong at cooking events only. Keep the dances for fathers and kids. The school was right to embarrass this little girl for thinking her mother could do anything other than cook. Stay in the kitchen.


  27. Kendra says:

    The problem is the mom lied to the media. The principal never told her yes-she was told to check with the PTO. First the mom said she works too much to attend the other options. Then she said she is laid off. Then she said she moved to the area to be near family. Then she said there is no family. She said she just moved 2 months ago. She actually moved in September. The mom has told different stories every time. There are male figures in the child’s life. People are quick to judge on a one sided news story. The school has remained silent because they know the real story.

    • bisness1st says:

      I agree. There are males romodels in this girls life. I read somewhere that the mother never told the father about the girl up til recently. One night stand. Mother moved I guess. Father in Midwest somewhere. Mother isn’t innocent either.

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