A Rhode Island school district has banned father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games after a single mom complained that her daughter wasn’t able to attend a dance. This past May, the mother filed a complaint with the Rhode Island branch of the ACLU because her daughter did not have a male figure to escort her to the dance. Ironically the dance in question was the longest running event ran by the PTA. To resolve the issue and comply with the state’s gender discrimination laws, the ACLU banned gender specific activities, such as the dance and mother-son baseball.

“I think when schools tell girls ‘You love dances’ and boys ‘You love baseball games,’ I think that is going too far,” Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown told talk-radio station WPRO-FM. “That is the whole point of having laws and policies to say public schools should not be the business of really encouraging such blatant stereotypes about what girls like and what boys like.

Of course many parents are up in arms over the decision. Most have cited that the events are not about gender, but are a long-standing tradition for family bonding in their community. “I’m outraged. My family looks forward to this,” Lisa Shaljian Mancini told WBZ-TV. “I have three daughters in the school system, and they love this event.”

The decision also has one Republican Senate candidate outraged, especially since his son is being directly affected. In good ole Republican fashion, he calls the ban an “assault on traditional family values”. “For generations, we’ve had mother-daughter, father-son events. My wife was looking forward to taking our son to the annual mother-son event” Sean Gately told Fox News.

The ACLU’s Steven Brown released a statement on Tuesday:

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. PTOs (parent teacher organizations) 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.

Because of the Title IX law, which is the federal law against sex discrimination in schools, plenty of kids will have to go without the tradition of a father-daughter dance or mother-son baseball games. But this law does not exclude the school from having all-inclusive parent-child activities. The mayor of Cranston feels the law is too narrowly defined and is subjective. “That is what is most frustrating about the entire scenario right now,” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung 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.”

Do you think a town with a standing tradition should be punished because of one child? How else do you think this issue could be resolved?

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  • I feel sorry for the child because she is in a catchh 22 of not having a father/father figure and most likely be outcast because the blame is going to fall on her regardless…poor kid. Personally I don’t think outright banning activities is the answer nor is it fair. I do think that maybe they should tweak the rules to include functions and activities for single or even gay parents too because not every has a traditional upbringing. I just think there was a better solution

    • +1. I wanted to write a comment similar to yours, but I feel that some other commentators will misconstrue my comment.
      I also wondered if the identity of this mother has been revealed, due to the chance that this child will be bullied/ostracized by her fellow classmates.

    • cupcakes and shiraz

      Actually, the school tried to tweak the events. The mother was just a bitter, miserable cow that wanted to ruin things at all expense.:

      The formal announcement followed earlier communication with the principals in the spring, when a parent at Stadium School complained to that school’s parent organization that her daughter did not have a father to bring to the “Me and My Guy” dance that was being held by the school for the first time.
      “We have always held family dances and events but we’d had a lot of requests for this, so we decided to try it,” said then-PTO President of Stadium School Shelley Fusco. “We told the mom that it didn’t have to be a dad, it could be her grandfather or some other male of her choice, but the mom said that the grandfather worked and didn’t want to go to the dance on a Friday night. We changed the name of the dance to ‘Bring the Adult of Your Choice,’ but she still wasn’t happy with that and she went to the ACLU.””

      “We even invited the mom to attend with her from day one, either as the child’s guest or as a volunteer for the event where she could stay the night, but she did not attend or volunteer. She did stop by the event briefly and was upset that the PTO board was there,” said Fusco, noting that the PTO board and their event volunteers do work the events that they organize for the school.”

      Source: http://www.cranstononline.com/stories/May-I-have-this-dance,75054

  • JC

    Couldn’t they have resolved it by having parent/guardian dances and baseball games? I don’t see why they had to nuke both events.

  • No one told her to get with a man who will dipset as soon as the words preg come out her mouth lol. Now the little girl is going to get ridiculed at school because, her mom is a time hater (dave chapelle approved message).