Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Again, It's Not Just Massachusetts...

RI school says dad-daughter dances violate law
CRANSTON, R.I. – School officials in the Rhode Island city of Cranston have ended their traditional father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames, saying the activities are a violation of state gender discrimination law.

School Superintendent Judith Lundsten tells the Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/Pv6SzE ) the move came in response to a complaint from a single mother, who brought her case to the American Civil Liberties Union after her daughter wasn't allowed to attend a father-daughter dance.
Now, shame on the school for not allowing the single mom to attend her daughter's dance. That's just plain stupid. The response, though, doubled down on stupid - a blanket ban on gender-specific events? Really? One of the highlights of my year is the annual "Daddy-Daughter Dance" sponsored by the Girl Scouts - which is held at the elementary school. If we lived in this district in RI, we couldn't hold the dance at the school.

And here we see what happens when political correctness ("ZOMG! We can't have gender-themed events! Someone, somewhere might be offended!") intersects with Zero tolerance ("ZOMG! Make a decision on which events to disallow? Better ban them all so we don't have to think about it"). Events which I would assume go back many years, traditions if you will, are being tossed under the bus so that a tiny subset don't get their feelings hurt.

I'd ask for a return to common sense, but petty bureaucrats have never been known for being able to recognize that...

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)


Roadkill said...

You know. Gender specific bathrooms are very discriminatory. BAN THEM.

Armed Texan said...

The school was right to exclude the single mother. Shame on the mother for not having some male figure in the daughter's life who could fill in for the "Father" part of the "Father Daughter Dance".

Old NFO said...

Sigh... WHERE does it end???

Bob S. said...


Have to disagree with you about the school not allowing the mom to attend the event.

The mom has made a choice not to remarry; that is her right. But there are plenty of males that could have stepped in; brothers, uncles, the girl's grandfathers, family friends, church members, etc.

The mom made a choice not to reach out to other people. Sorry that the child has to forgo attending but it isn't our place to make everything equal in life.

Jay G said...


We don't know that she didn't reach out to potential chaperones. It's entirely possible that she tried and couldn't find anyone to bring her daughter.

Here's another thought: What if this girl's father was serving overseas?

I ran into an analogous situation back in April when the Daddy Daughter dance was scheduled during the NRA convention. I had already booked my flights and hotels when the dance was announced.

Neither my wife nor I have brothers. Both of our fathers have physical impairments that would make dancing with a rambunctious 9 year old a painful ordeal.

Should she have been barred from the event in that case?

I was lucky - my best friend gallantly offered to take BabyGirl G. - I'd hate to think she would have had to sit the dance out had he not been available.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"The mom has made a choice not to remarry; that is her right."

First, where did you see the "remarry" bit? The linked story (and the admittedly minimal google-fu I engaged in) don't give any information on why she is a single mother (or much information at all, really). Secondly, why do you assume that not remarrying was a deliberate choice she made? There is a bit of "meeting the right person" that would be necessary, first, you know. Maybe she just hasn't had the opportunity to remarry.

"But there are plenty of males that could have stepped in; brothers, uncles, the girl's grandfathers, family friends, church members, etc."

I see a couple of big assumptions in that paragraph. First, you assume that she has male family that are alive, healthy, and live close enough to attend. Then you assume that, even if she doesn't have male relatives, she actually knows at least one male well enough to entrust them with her child. Maybe all the guys she knows are a$$holes?

Bob S. said...


I don't know she didn't reach out. I do know that she didn't reach out enough to find a chaperone.

Whether or not the father was serving or she had no males relatives; the lack of available male figures in a person's life is a choice.

A choice in lifestyle, a choice in friendship, etc. Sorry but yes. She should not have been allowed to attend. There are many things in life that are unfair. Some of them not a child's fault but they have to deal with the consequences.


Marriage or remarriage is a choice. She could have remained celibate prior to marriage, given the child up for adoption, married the father, etc. Even if a dead beat dad, the choice to marry or not is hers.

I may have phrased it badly but the fact remains -- the choice not to have a male figure in the child's life is a choice.

You'll also notice that my selections of stand in included those not related to her and in proximity.
And you are right. I did assume that she had one male friend or acquaintance that she could trust that much. As I said to JayG, the fact that the mother may not have such a friendship is not the child's fault but the child does have to face the consequences of it.

It seems that society wants to adopt a blameless attitude toward so many of our choices. Don't marry the father of your child, not your fault. Get pregnant out of wedlock, not your fault, and on and on.

Sorry but there are choices and there are consequences. The fact that this child had no one to accompany her to the dance is sad...but it shouldn't change the nature of the event.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"She could have remained celibate prior to marriage"

We don't even know if she was ever married or not, so how do you know she didn't?

"Even if a dead beat dad, the choice to marry or not is hers."

What, he doesn't have any say in it? Last I checked, a deadbeat dad couldn't be forced to marry the mother of his children if he didn't want to, and if there is a deadbeat dad involved, he probably didn't want to.

"the fact that the mother may not have such a friendship is not the child's fault but the child does have to face the consequences of it."

Yet you're awfully quick to assume that it's the mother's fault, without having one shred of information about her circumstances beyond "single mother".

Sorry, but I can't condemn her for being a single mother without knowing more. You're simply assuming the child was born out of wedlock when we don't know whether she's ever been married or not. It might be a safe assumption, but it's still not justified without more information.

"Sorry but there are choices and there are consequences."

There are also circumstances beyond your control, and times when the only choices you have are all bad ones.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Oh, and this?

"I do know that she didn't reach out enough to find a chaperone."

No, you don't know this. You can't know this, because you don't know who she reached out to, compared to who she knows that she can reach out to.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Hey Jay. When I saw this, I thought about you and Baby Girl and the Dance. The thing that torques me off is the fact that the State of Rhode Island was quoted as saying that Federal Law says these events are NOT, repeat NOT "Discriminatory," but they are going after them on State Law.

Gee, wonder what they would say if a State said that Women aren't allowed to Vote, or only Men can own Property, or that Slavery was Legal?

Anonymous said...

Note to aggrieved party: its life, teach your child to deal with it.


Dirk said...

The point is not whether the child should have been prevented from attending or not...I lean towards "no male 'father-figure', stay home", myself.

The point is the state banning all such events without even thinking of allowing the organizers of such events the opportunity to make and enforce their own rules... including granting exceptions as needed - IF THEY WANT TO!!!

Stretch said...

NFO asked "Where will this end."

At the end of a rope.

Reven said...

Wow this actually made me feel ill, I mean what will they target next Apple Pie? Bake Sales?