A school district in Rhode Island has ended its tradition of father-daughter dances and mother-son ball games, in order to comply with a state gender discrimination law, reports ABC News. Not surprisingly, many people–including Cranston, R.I. mayor Allan Fung–are complaining that the change is just political correctness gone awry.
I think they’re looking at this all wrong. Also, I bet Mayor Fung is just bummed because he totally wanted to do the worm at the next dance.
The thing is, the original complaint occurred because a little girl couldn’t attend the dance, because she doesn’t have a father. So maybe instead of worrying about political correctness, the school could have, um, allowed a single mom to take her daughter to the dance in the first place? A little flexibility and understanding would have saved everyone a whole bunch of complaining all around.
“I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender-based events are not an issue,” Cranston Schools Superintendent Judith Lundsten wrote in a letter to school organizations. “However, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any child from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be all-inclusive when planning your events.”
All-inclusive. Because whether you think gender-based events are a charming tradition or weirdly sexist, there’s no denying one thing: all parent have the right to embarrass their children in the form of interpretive dance. It really doesn’t matter which gender the child or the parent is.
And really, why on earth would we want to limit the ways we can freak our kids out? Why just a father-daughter dance? Why not a mother-son dance? Why not the-most-awkward-parent-takes-the-tween-who-rolls-her-eyes-the-most dance?
And mother-son baseball, really? I’m confident that both my husband and I are equally capable of being embarrassing at a ballgame. In my husband’s case, he’d have to tear himself away from his fantasy baseball league first, but then he could teach our daughters the nerdly joy of keeping score during those dull, dry, no-hit innings. And I’m certain I could make a spectacle of myself either playing or watching pretty much any sporting activity.
It seems obvious that both fathers and mothers (and, ideally, grandparents) should be allowed to accompany and/or mortify children of either gender at school events. Personally, now that my twin daughters are in middle school, I’m planning on chaperoning every dance possible. And they know perfectly well that I have no qualms about busting out my Elaine Benes dance moves. I bet they’ll keep their rooms clean with the threat of me teaching all their little friends how to Dougie hanging over their heads.
What’s that, honey? You don’t want to take your laundry up? Huh. That just reminded me of how much I’m going to enjoy doing the washing machine dance next Friday night.
Ohhh. You do want to take your laundry up. Alrighty then.
So, I applaud the schools of Cranston, Rhode Island, for their new, all-inclusive approach to mortifying children.
(Photo Credit: smosh)
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