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ACLU: Not Every Girl wants to be Cinderella

Steve Brown of the ACLU said the father-daughter dance issue is old news, resolved four months ago when the school district "recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal

Steven Brown, director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the father-daughter dance ban isn't about state law versus federal law regarding gender discrimination in schools.

"The school district was fostering blatant stereotypes that are not allowable in this day in age," Brown said in a telephone interview.

"Arranging for a dance for girls to go to and a ballgame for boys to go is a tradition that may have worked in the 1950s but it doesn't necessarily play out the same in 2012," Brown said.

"Not every girl wants to grow up to be Cinderella," Brown said. "Some might actually more enjoy playing baseball. But these types of stereotyped events promote an opposite impression. It's Ozzie and Harriet stuff. It shouldn't be happening in this century."

The ACLU wrote a letter to the school district about the father-daughter dances after a parent contacted them. The parent reportedly was upset that her child couldn't go to the dance and was unhappy with alternatives the district offered her.

The district implemented the ban about four months ago and the matter was deemed resolved at that time, Brown said. 

“The controversy that has suddenly arisen in a political campaign over father-daughter dances in Cranston is old news – the matter was amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago. And it was resolved for a simple reason: 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 This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of “girl” and “boy” activities and is contrary to federal law."

Brown said it's not true that federal Title IX rules makes a clear exception for father-daughter dances. Any gender-specific event must have something "legally comparable" and a dance and baseball game do not meet that standard.

Brown said he has never attended a father-daughter dance. His daughter has grown up. And if there was a father-daughter dance?

"She would have complained and wanted to go to the baseball game."

Read more on the father-daughter dance ban:

Mayor: "Utterly Disappointed" with Father-Daughter Dance Ban, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"mayor-utterly-disappointed-with-father-daughter-dance-ban"} -->

Robin Lionheart September 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM
If they'd just let the fatherless girl take mom to the dance, all the girls would've been happy. But some petty person just had to ruin one girl's night, so it got out that a Cranston school was breaking the law again.
Joanne maslen September 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Ok parents get together and make your own party father daughter dances don't have to end. Most take place in halls not in school buildings . Rent a hall make the food share the expense and have fun!
mcam September 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM
My parents and grandparents are probably rolling over in their graves. This is not the Cranston they left behind when they passed many years ago. They used to be proud to say they were from Cranston, they sure would not be today. Wow, this has become Providence annex, and a sad place to live.
Robin Lionheart September 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
No, the ACLU stands up for equal rights whenever our government tries to betray what this country stands for.
Gina September 21, 2012 at 02:44 PM
The “Ladies Choice” event, “Boy Choice” event and the “Family Night” event is not funded by the tax payers money. The PTO organizes these events and then the students who choose to attend pay for a tickets.

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