A middle school policy that prohibits kids from saying "no" when someone asks them to dance during a school dance is being challenged by the mother of a sixth-grade girl who believes it perpetuates "rape culture," Today reports.
Alicia Hobson's daughter Azlyn attends Rich Middle School in Utah, and was excited about attending the Valentine's Day dance. But she had an uncomfortable experience when she declined to dance with a male student — only to have the principal intervene and send her out to the dance floor with the boy, anyway.
Alicia Hobson, who said she gets the spirit of the rule, was not pleased.
"I understand that the spirit of the rule is give the kids the confidence to ask other kids to dance without the risk of rejection, but guess what? In life, you get rejected all the time," Hobson wrote on Facebook. "They need to get used to it and learn how to cope with their frustration. Girls HAVE to learn that they have the right to say no and that those around them have to respect that. I'm not going to quietly stand by while my daughter and all of her classmates are being wrapped up in rape culture. No way. I've told her over and over, since her school started having dances that she has the right to say no, and if she gets in trouble for it, I'll fight like hell for her. Well, here we go."
Principal Kip Motta said the school stands by the policy regardless of the criticism, and parents or students who aren't comfortable with it can simply choose not to attend school dances, which occur during the school day.
"We do ask all students to dance. It is the nice thing to do and this will continue to be our policy," Motta wrote on Feb. 15, Today reported. "There have been similar situations in the past where some students have felt uncomfortable with others, and, as stated prior, the issues were discreetly handled. This allowed all students to feel welcome, comfortable, safe, and included."
Hobson said she intends to continue opposing the policy, even going to the state education board if necessary to get it changed.