Maybe I’m just in a foul mood, looking forward to the weekend. Or maybe, I’m growing increasingly incensed by the omnipresent “Political Correct Police.” Whatever the case, all I have to say at this point is: for real, Rhode Island?
The school system in Cranston, R.I., announced it is banning traditional father-daughter and mother-son activities, saying they are a violation of the state’s gender discrimination law, the Providence Journal reported late Monday.
Superintendent Judith Lundsten told the newspaper the decision was in response to a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mother who said her daughter was not able to attend a father-daughter dance.
“This is 2012 and they [public schools] should not be in the business of fostering blatant gender stereotypes,” Steven Brown of the Rhode Island ACLU told WPRO News.
According to the Providence Journal, Lundsten said that while federal law banning gender discrimination gives an exemption for such gender-specific events, Rhode Island law does not.
A few things immediately came to mind here:
(1) A lady goes to bed with a loser and now the kid has a deadbeat dad. So everybody has to suffer the consequences? Is that how it works?
(2) I’ve never been to a father-daughter dance, not having any children myself (and, um, obviously not being a daughter. C’mon. I’m trying to use some comedy relief here. I need this.). But I know at least one female friend who has been to one of these functions with her dad. The whole point of the dance is for the father to socially introduce his daughter as a young lady. These kind of dances are about as sacred as the father giving away his daughter during her wedding. I totally understand why parents are outraged. I’d be mad, too.
(3) This lady couldn’t find one positive male role model to be her daughter’s date? A brother? A friend? A neighbor? A teacher? Not a single person? Seriously? For the sake of example, consider my ex (relax, I’m not bashing her here. I’m using this example because I was directly involved in the situation). Her son’s biological dad had zero interest in him. As a substitute, she relied on her father, her brothers, one of her close male friends, and – before our breakup – me as support systems for her son. We all stepped up at one point or another. Men don’t have to be tied to a child through biology to be considered a father-like figure. Isn’t that the message we convey every Father’s Day? By our logic, there is a significant difference between a “baby daddy” and a person willing to step up and be a real father (or father figure). How is this any different?
(4) I do feel bad for the young girl. Not only does she have to deal with the hardship of not having a father, but she now also has to carry the cross for her mother at school. Imagine that your mother single-handedly ruined an event the entire school was looking forward to. How do you live that one down?
(5) Gender discrimination? Really? If a girl at this school preferred, I dunno, to play ball over going to the dance, then let her play ball. She doesn’t have to go to the dance. Plain and simple. If you don’t want to say “One nation, under God”, don’t say it. Even if public prayer is not allowed in schools, pray silently (which is what you should be doing anyway). If you don’t want to celebrate religious holidays, don’t celebrate them. My point is simple: we all have freedom in whether or not we choose to participate in certain events without reprisal. Unless we get to a point where institutions are forcing activities on you, please lighten up. This political correctness nonsense is going much too far. As one of my old teachers used to say “having too open of a mind makes your brains fall out.”
OK, I’m done with my rant. I’m sorry I didn’t intellectualize this better. But I tend to get this way when I’m in a pissy mood.
Anyway, what say you? Do you think this school did the right thing by banning the father-daughter dance, or is this another head-shaking moment of political correctness gone awry? Is this an example of gender discrimination or just a few uptight people with nothing better to do with their lives than to make everybody else’s miserable? (OK, my bias is clearly showing here. Sue me. Better yet, please don’t.).