School dance policy where girls can’t say no draws criticism

(WHDH) — A mother in Utah is upset about a school policy in which sixth-grade girls can’t say “no” when boys ask them to the dance.

When Natalie Richard’s sixth-grade daughter told her she couldn’t say no if a boy asked her to the dance at Kanesville Elementary’s Valentine’s Day Dance, she didn’t believe it at first.

“The teacher said she can’t; she has to say yes. She has to accept, and I said, excuse me?”

So Natalie took her concerns to the school principal.

“He basically just said they’ve had this dance set up this way for a long time and they’ve never had any concerns before,” she said.

Lane Findlay with the Weber School District confirms it is a rule but it is meant to teach students how to be inclusive.

“Please be respectful, polite,” Findlay said. “We want to promote kindness and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance.”

“I do see it from their perspective,” Natalie Richard said, “but there are many other ways to teach children how to be accepting than with a social dance.

Natalie says forcing students not to say no teaches them the wrong lesson.

“Sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say yes,” she said. “Sends a bad message to boys that girls will — can’t say no.”

Prior to the dance, which is voluntary, students are told to fill out a card selecting five people they want to dance with. The administration says if there’s someone on the card you feel uncomfortable with, the student is encourage to speak up.

“If there is an issue, if there’s students that are uncomfortable or have a problem with another student I mean that’s certainly something that can be addressed with that student and parents,” Findlay said.

But Natalie says rejection is part of life and at the end of the day, the policy sends impressionable children the wrong message.

“Psychologically my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can`t say no to a boy,” Natalie says. “That`s the message kids are getting.”


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