The Cranston, Rhode Island, school district banned father-daughter dances and other similar parent-child events after a parent complained to the American Civil Liberties Union.The parent said her daughter felt left out of a father-daughter dance because she does not have a father or a father figure in her life.
Cranston's superintendent responded by banning parent-child activities, including father-daughter and mother-son events.
Superintendent Judith Lundsten said, “I truly believe that no one intended to hurt anyone’s feelings with this, that they wanted to be inclusive, but they also liked these traditional-type activities.”
In an interview with CNN affiliate WPRI
, Lundsten acknowledged that finding that balance might be “tricky.”
The ACLU released a statement
which noted that the matter has been “amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago.” The organization stated that “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. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ activities and is contrary to federal law.”
In a letter to partner organizations, the Cranston superintendent said, “Under no circumstances should we be isolating any child from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be all-inclusive in scheduling your events.”
Reactions to the ban have been mixed.