A Staten Island elementary school canceled its traditional father-daughter dance over gender guidelines from the New York Department of Education, the New York Post said.
The department told schools to “eliminate” any “gender-based” activities unless they serve a “clear” educational purpose, the paper said, citing the agency's Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines policy update issued last March.
“Until we understand what we are legally permitted to do, we need to table this event,” Parent Teacher Association President Toni Bennett wrote in a private school-parents Facebook group about the PS 65 dance scheduled on Friday, the Post reported.
How are parents reacting?
Moms and dads aren't reacting very agreeably to the news.
“They’re trying to take away everything that everybody grew up on and has come to know, and I don’t think it’s fair or right,” Matthew West, 32 — who has two daughters at the school — told the paper. “They should leave it the way it was: father-daughter, mother-son.”
West added to the paper that political correctness is leaving people "too scared to talk ... I hate it."
“It’s not fair at all,” Jose Garcia, 37 — who attended the last two dances with his 9-year-old daughter — told the Post. “I have nothing against no one, but I don’t think that it should affect the school, or the kids for that matter.”
Akaia Cameron — a mom who told the paper her third-grade girl had a “great time” with her dad last year — added to the Post that "all this gender crap needs to just stop."
Parents told the paper that the school's reaction seems odd given that it held a mother-son bowling event last year.
What is the school planning now?
Bennett told the Post the annual “Father/Best Guy & Daughter Dance” will be changed to a more inclusive theme. The DOE added to the paper that it will be rescheduled March 2 for kids and caregivers of any gender.
What are education officials saying?
Principal Sophie Scamardella told the PTA to change the father-daughter dance “to ensure all students and families were welcome to attend,” DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot told the Post.
“We have clear guidelines in place that require school-related events to be inclusive of all students,” Barbot added to the paper.
“Father-daughter dances inherently leave people out. Not just because of transgender status, just life in general,” Jared Fox, the DOE’s LGBT community liaison, told the Post. “These can be really uncomfortable and triggering events.”
However, Fox added to the paper that DOE policy doesn't explicitly ban father-daughter dances and that events are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
“I’m really hard-pressed to put a moratorium on anything,” he also told the Post, adding that "for a young trans girl, to be able to go to a father-daughter dance can feel very affirming because in this instance she’s recognized as a daughter.”
Fox added to the paper that father-daughter dances are OK “as long as there’s messaging that they’re inclusive to everybody.”
(H/T: The College Fix)