Utah School Under Fire for Telling Girls They Can’t Say No If a Boy Asks Them to Dance
Well, this is a bit odd. As elementary school in Utah is getting some heat for the strange and problematic rules they have for their Valentine’s Day dance. Kanesville Elementary in Ogden, Utah puts on a V-Day dance every year for sixth graders. But it’s the school dance rules that have some parents calling foul. Apparently, at this dance, girls are not allowed to say no if a boy asks them to dance. Um … OK?
The dance has been happening for years. It’s intended to teach kindness and inclusion, which, good! That’s a good thing! But the school dance rules state that a student has to say yes if their classmate asks them to dance. That’s not a good thing!
Natalie Richard is just one mom who has a problem with this particular set of rules. She told FOX13 Salt Lake City that she was shocked to learn about them from her daughter, who is a sixth grader at the school. Initially, she thought her daughter was misunderstanding the rules. But, says Natalie, she realized it was true. “The teacher said she can’t. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said, ‘Excuse me?'”
Kanesville Elementary School says the rule has been in place for a long time and is intended to teach students to be respectful and inclusive. Parents say it's sending the wrong message to the students. pic.twitter.com/ljITRtsVhJ
— Dose (@dose) February 13, 2018
The principal confirmed the rules when Natalie brought it up to him. According to Natalie, he reiterated that the rules have been in place for a long time, and they’ve never had a problem before.
But times have changed, and so has the conversation around consent. Telling a young girl that she can’t say no sends a terrible message. And telling young boys that girls aren’t allowed to say no is even worse! Many parents teach their ids that they can’t be forced to give hugs or kisses, and are moving toward teaching kids that they, and they alone, have control of their own bodies. These rules fly in the face of that.
The school district, at least, is in agreement on this issue.
In a statement released after the issue gained traction, the district said, “In the best interest of our students, we are re-examining the procedures surrounding these dances and will make any necessary changes to promote a positive environment where all students feel included and empowered in their choices.” Students are encouraged to fill out a dance card, with the names of students they want to dance with. But they are no longer required to say yes if someone asks them to dance.
Girls can say no. Boys need to understand that girls can say no. And no one, not a child or an adult, should be forced to do anything they do not want to do.