School District Bans Father-Daughter Dances After Single Mom Complains

Father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games were banned in one school district in an effort to comply with laws about gender discrimination. But was it really warranted?
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Mother son baseball

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ALCU’s Brown called the controversy “old news.”

“The school district recognized that in the 21st century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games,” the statement read. “PTOs remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet. Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella — not even in Cranston.”

A message left for Brown by Yahoo! Shine was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Title IX — the federal law against sex discrimination in schools — has exceptions for gender-specific parent-child events, but Rhode Island’s gender discrimination law does not. Over the summer, the school district’s lawyer decided that the dance and baseball game needed to be “open to family and students of both genders” in order to comply with state law.

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“I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender-based events are not an issue,” school Superintendent Judith A. Lundsten wrote in a letter sent to partner organizations in August. “However, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any child from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be all-inclusive when planning your events.”

“We’re going to follow the law,” Lundsten told WBZ-TV. “I think that, as a community, we’ll figure out if we need to move forward and have the law changed.”

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung said that he thinks the ban is a result of a “too limited, too narrow read” of Title IX and Rhode Island state law.”That is what is most frustrating about the entire scenario right now,” he told WBZ-TV in Boston. “Because of one complaint, many children, many sons, many daughters might not have those memories that we all cherish growing up.”

The ban only affects gender-specific events held at school. An all-inclusive “parent-child dance,” for example, would not be a problem, School Committee member Janice Ruggieri told the Associated Press.

Tell us: What do you think? Is this fair enough, or is it political correctness gone too far?

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