In Cranston, People Are Complaining About the ‘Banning’ of a Father-Daughter Dance

There’s controversy brewing in the Cranston Public Schools in Rhode Island. (And Jessica Ahlquist has nothing to do with it.)

Back in May, the ACLU sent a letter (PDF) to the district informing them that a father-daughter dance sponsored by Stadium Partners in Education (a parent-teacher organization) could pose a problem. Federal law against gender discrimination says that you can’t hold an event like that unless you offer “reasonably comparable activities… for students of the other sex.”

So what were the boys offered?

A mother-son baseball game.

A dance for the girls. Baseball for the boys. How quaint.

Obviously, those aren’t the same kinds of activities and the whole thing reeked of discrimination. So the school district had a few options: offer “comparable events” like a father-daughter baseball game and mother-son dance, offer a gender-inclusive “parent-child” dance… or just cancel everything altogether.

Eventually, the district decided to cancel everything altogether. It was their decision and it was an amicable settlement with the ACLU. They did it quietly and no one complained (perhaps because they didn’t know it happened) but they felt it was the best option.

But, like I said, that was four months ago.

It became news this week after Sean P. Gately, a Rhode Island Republican running for state Senate, said that “Republican leaders of the House and Senate have agreed to sponsor legislation to modify a state law in order to allow father-daughter school dances.” (He actually couldn’t do that since the federal law I mentioned above would still stand… but it riles up members of his base who don’t understand things like that.)

But that statement somehow brought the issue back into the public spotlight over the past few days.

So yesterday, Steven Brown, the executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU, said this (PDF) in response to the Christian whining:

“[Parent-Teacher organizations] remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet. Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella — not even in Cranston. In fact, one of them might make a great major league baseball player someday.

“We commend the school district for its resolution of the matter, and are sorry to see some people turning it into a political football — a game that they may think only boys should be interested in.”

Zing!

The superintendent of the district, Dr. Judith A. Lundsten, also sent a message of her own (PDF) yesterday to “partner organizations” of the district, explaining her decision to cancel the dance and baseball game:

… while these events are not being organized by the school itself, the school is obviously facilitating such events and can be held accountable. Notices are sent home, events listed on school websites and displayed on school bulletin boards.   

I acknowledge many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender‐based events are not an issue. However, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should we be isolating any child or their family from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be inclusive when planning your events. I have informed all school administrators of these laws and my expectations that no events be held that are gender exclusive.

As you might expect, the backlash has been brutal in Cranston.

Mayor Allan Fung, making a slight jab at Jessica Ahlquist, couldn’t believe what was happening:

“In the zeal to protect people who feel they are being disenfranchised, this policy has completely denied our children of one of the most cherished traditions in their school experience. I sympathize with these parents because it seems once again that Cranston is at the epicenter of another attack on our traditions by the ACLU,” said Fung.

Because, as we all know, if you do something long enough, that automatically makes it ok…

Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly, who grew up without a father, used the controversy to suggest that the secular liberalistas were trying to make father-daughter dances illegal — which isn’t true at all:

Public school officials in Cranston, Rhode Island, have banned all “father-daughter” and “mother-son” activities, citing a threat from the American Civil Liberties Union…

… I always faced this “loss” during high school football with “Dad’s Night.” But I would never have wanted to deprive my teammates and friends of that special moment even if I couldn’t share it with my own father. How self-centered!

Again, the ACLU and school district didn’t ban anything. The dances are still perfectly legal… as long as a mother-son dance is also offered. But Daly didn’t even mention that.

One local woman, writing a letter-to-the-editor to the Providence Journal, was furious:

So what’s next, people? Do we ban high-school baseball, or soccer, or football, because not everyone is an athlete and it’s NOT FAIR? Do we ban the junior and senior proms because not everyone can get a date and it’s NOT FAIR? Do we just do away with report cards and class standings and all the rest of it, because my kid can’t get the same grades as your kid and it’s NOT FAIR?

Wise up, people. This is the beginning of a dangerous precedent, and it’s our children and grandchildren who are going to suffer.

Life is sometimes NOT FAIR. Deal with it.

Is it really a surprise to anyone that the loudest complainers are completely ignorant of the federal law?

On page after page of comments on all those links I’ve provided above, you see people upset that a “tradition” has been stopped and that one person “ruined” the fun for everybody.

They’re missing the point. When a law is being broken, it doesn’t matter how many people complain or how long the infraction has been taking place.

It seems like few people in that community learned anything from Jessica’s fight.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Reg Gilson

    This is why I plan on sending my children to a private school, where father-daughter dances can take place unimpeded by government meddling.

    • PietPuk

      I just have to know:
      -is this sarcasm?
      or:
      -do you really not understand that you can dance with your daughter at other places than a school?
      or:
      - is your daughter afraid of you, and therefore she prefers to dance with you in a safe environment?

      • Reg Gilson

        Is this sarcasm? No.

        There are many other, more important reasons, why I prefer sending my children to a private Catholic school.

        But the lack of government meddling in things it deems “discriminatory” is an added benefit.

        • PietPuk

          There are many other, more important reasons, why I prefer sending my children to a private Catholic school.

          And what reasons would that be?

          • Reg Gilson

            The most important reason is that it makes it easy for my children to go to Mass every day.

            Also, the school is rated one of the best in the state, and many of its graduates go on to Ivy League schools.

            The students seem to care both about academics and about each other, and show a great deal more respect toward teachers, compared to the public schools in the area.

            My children have the opportunity to learn about the Catholic Faith every day, and to learn about science, mathematics, history and art all from a Catholic perspective.

            And they can do all this with quite minimal government interference.

            • PietPuk

              The most important reason is that it makes it easy for my children to go to Mass every day.

              Seriously, the most imortant about a school is accesability to religion? I always thought education would be most important.

              My children have the opportunity to learn about the Catholic Faith every
              day, and to learn about science, mathematics, history and art all from a
              Catholic perspective.

              So daily indoctrination is more important that reality, that is too bad.

              And they can do all this with quite minimal government interference.

              As opposed to interference from an organisation that protects child molesters, lies about condoms and AIDS, and constantly needs more donations so the pope can sit on a gold throne, while others die from hunger.

              For your kids sake, I hope they will outgrow the brainwashing and find a way to grow up smarter than you.

              • Brian Scott

                OK, be fair, for all that’s wrong with the RCC, I’ve noticed some private schools do tend to produce high quality candidates, whether they come with religious baggage or not (though they also tend to produce blind spots due to said religions’ bugbears: see fundamentalist schools and evolution). And heck, as the product of a Catholic education, I didn’t find much in the way of indoctrination: I didn’t have too much trouble transitioning to atheism from my birth religion.

                • PietPuk

                   Let’s hope Reg Gilsons kids will find a same kind of way out of their relegion.

                • amycas

                   Private schools tend to produce “high quality candidates” because of the kinds of families that are able to pay for private school. Private schools also don’t have to allow any child to go to school there, whereas public schools do have to allow any child to go to school. So the pool of kids who go to private school is already stacked against the pool of kids who go to public school.

            • NoDoubtAboutIt

              Yeah, nothing like those pesky government-enforced age of consent laws to worry about at a catholic school.

            • ReadsInTrees

              Congrats, you have figured out what so many other Christians can’t figure out. If you want things taught and done from a Christian perspective, send them to a private school rather than trying to make a public school into a Christian school. Ta da!

              • Reg Gilson

                 I completely agree.

        • Tandon

          I went to private Catholic school. We had father/daughter AND mother/son. Bummer how equality still works there.

          • Reg Gilson

             Nothing wrong with mother-son dances. What I find wrong is the government meddling.

            • TheBlackCat

               So it is bad that the government meddles in a government-run and government-funded government branch?  What? 

            • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

              You consider laws that protect EVERYONE from discrimination “government meddling”?

              Your values belong in the 18th century.

  • Gregory Lynn

    I don’t know why, but I’m always amazed at the rampant stupidity.

  • dorothy30

    can someone explain what exactly is a ‘father-daughter dance’ and what is the purpose of it? we have no such thing where i live (canada) and i can’t imagine why it would be popular, i must be missing something

    • Stev84

      It’s a popular tradition at weddings, but I don’t know whether that’s confined to America too. Holding them at school is definitely pointless nonsense.

      • MargueriteF

        I suspect the reason it’s a big deal among some people is that it is somehow related in their minds to purity dances. (I’m sorry, I can’t type”purity balls” with a straight face– sounds like a weird sex toy or something.) Annnyway… *drags dirty mind back onto topic* I could be wrong, but I get a weird vibe from Focus on the Family talking about it being a “positive and affirming” experience. If it’s so positive and affirming, then why not just make it a parent-child dance? What’s so super-special-affirming about fathers and daughters, as opposed to parents and children in general?

        • Stev84

          Since it’s usually associated with weddings, it could also be part of that weird thing were American girls are taught from an early age to “prepare” themselves for being married. Besides games were kids pretend to be married, I’ve also heard countless stories of girls imagining their dream wedding from early on. As if there is nothing else to aspire to.

        • Blacksheep

          It’s just a nice tradition, you’re getting WAY too deep with it. It’s nice for fathers and daughters to bond, because traditionally (less so these days) fathers bonded more easily with their sons. It’s just a nice thing, that’s all.

          • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

             why can’t it be a nice thing for mother and son to dance? or father and son? or mother and daughter? The point is this school decided to end it all together rather than be inclusive. They wanted a strict father-daughter dance or no dance at all.

            • Blacksheep

              That’s a rhetorical question, of course it would be nice. Not the point though. They wanted to have a father daughter dance. It’s human nature to react strongly when an un invited outside force (in this case the ACLU) butts in and tries to force people to act in a way that they don’t want to. In my opinion it was cancelled more out of frustration than not wanting to have a dance. They were most likely trying to make a point, which is that we don’t have to react when Big Brother demands that we do their bidding. As a libertarian, I loathe the idea of an outside force keeping tabs, making demands, etc. 
              And as I mentioned in an earlier post – an entity that defends pedadfiles in court should stear clear of a father daughter dance anyway. (and I mean that only partially sarcastically – the ACLU puts law before what is morally right).

              • Blacksheep

                Misspellings, sorry.

              • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

                Well it’s the nature of a lot of people here to react strongly when government institutions are discriminating based on gender. Sending girls off to a lovely dance with their fathers, and telling the boys they should go play sports. That is clearly just pushing boys and girls into really old gender stereotypes. When large communities are strongly in favor of discriminatory practices, I’m glad there’s an unbiased outside force that can come in and make this right.

                And I don’t know why you think defending the legal rights of some people makes them unfit to defend the legal rights of others.

                Do pedophiles not deserve any legal defence? Should we just throw them all in a prison without trail and hope they just get beaten, pissed on, and raped? Is that what you think is “morally right”?

                Pedophilia is a psychological disorder, and they need help more than most because it’s one of the last mental disorders that all of society feels free to demonize and easily pass off as savagely evil.

                Another thing, if you intend on bringing this point up again, please differentiate between “pedophile” and “child rapist”. They are not the same thing.

                • Blacksheep

                  You brought up the term “child rapist” – I said “pedaphile.” And for the record, people who set up an organization dedicated to adults having sex with children are indeed evil, as are people who put on a suit and spend the day in court defending them. We’re not sheep, we can be guided by our moral compass and call a spade a spade when we see it. 

                • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

                  well for one thing, “pedaphile” isn’t a word. It’s “pedophile”. And pedophiles are merely people who have a sexual attraction to children. That’ includes those who have a moral compass, who understand that sex with children is harmful, and choose not to pursue their sexual urges because of their moral values.

                  Child rapists may or may not be pedophiles. Many people who have raped children may not actually have a sexual attraction to children. They may have just seen the child as the easiest prey. In which case, they aren’t pedophiles.

                  The issue of how to deal with people who have raped or molested children is a very delicate issue. What they have done is disturbing, but the mental illness issue cannot be resolved so long as society sees them as just simply pure evil, deserving of nothing but hatred, to be left to rot in prison, be raped, beaten and harassed endlessly. It’s this very attitude that forces them into complete hiding in the first place, too afraid to even seek medical help.

                  I’m not aware of exactly what cases the ACLU has defended pedophiles, but I’m willing to bet it has something to do with their civil liberty. In a society that is hell bent on demonizing them to the very ends of the earth, I’m glad there’s an organization that is willing to step in and defend people when their treatment crosses legal boundaries.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oz.tilson Oz Tilson

       Dorothy, I am in Canada as well and we have Father-Daughter Dances where I am. It is a nice event where daughters can dress up and feel special and bond with their fathers.

      • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

        I guess I don’t see the point. I’ve bonded with my kids by playing with them, taking them to movies, reading with them and taking an interest in their lives. Which isn’t remarkable, because that’s what parents do. No special Father-Daughter dance required.

        • Blacksheep

          There’s no particular “point” – it’s just a nice thing!

        • ImRike

           I agree. And if the Father-Daughter bonding has not happened before the daughter is old enough to go to a dance, that’s very unfortunate!

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Ugh. I’d rather do my father-daughter bonding over beer and television.

  • MargueriteF

    The school systems around here don’t offer this sort of thing, so the only father-daughter dance my daughters ever attended was via the Girl Scouts. Now that their dad is dead, it’s a nice memory for them. But it wasn’t a huge event in their lives, either.

    If this is such a big deal to Cranston, why don’t they just hold a parent-child dance and quit freaking out? That way no one gets left out, and the law is satisfied, and we don’t have to go through another round of OMG-but-it’s-a-TRADITION!!! It seems like an easy thing to fix, really, and not worth getting up in arms over.

    • Revyloution

      Or a private organization could hold one, like your Girl Scouts.  

      • Deanna

        My daughter’s Girl Scout troop offered a dance, but in reflecting today’s times, we didn’t call it a “Father/Daughter” dance.  Instead, it was a “Me and My Guy” dance, where the Girl Scout could bring any male to the dance as her escort, such as a brother, uncle, mom’s boyfriend, etc.  Remember, these are little girls in kindergarten through 5th grade.  It ended up a success.  

        • Jordan Sugarman

          That’s actually pretty awesome, because it encourages them to identify/honor a male role model without making the girls who live without a father feel weird.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            I’m still weirded out by it. I mean, even the name. “Me and My Guy.” It sounds romantic. I just don’t see why something for little girls would have to mimic a romantic event. If these girls and their dads/stepdads/uncles wanted to have a good time together, why not hold a party? Or a group field trip? That would promote bonding while avoiding the whole romance element.

      • Jordan Sugarman

        Or, since the PTO is not officially part of the school, they could simply hold it off school grounds and advertise by word of mouth instead of making it a school-facilitated event.

    • Michael

      I’m still trying to get my head around this whole debate…  I admit I initially thought, “but it’s tradition” too.  I do, however, realize there are many similarities to the fights we’ve had with religion being pushed at us from all angles.  So I am trying to step back and look at it from all sides.  I would like to know who complained here?  Not the person, but the group?  Who was excluded?  As a guy I would never have wanted to go to a mother-son dance.  No way.  So the the idea of a parent-child dance, seems silly to me… maybe not to others.    Are there daughters to go with mothers?   I see no problem with that.  But, as a father of a 2.5-year old daughter, the thought of a father-daughter dance sounds sweet… assuming she wants to some day… and what the hell is a purity dance…?  Just the name sounds creepy.

      • Jordan Sugarman

        All valid points, but the question is, why does it have to be gender exclusive? Why can’t it just be a parent-child dance. Maybe you’re right and no boy wants to go with his mother. But what about girls who don’t have a father, or whose father lives too far away? Does the entire concept of the dance really have to exclude them?

        A purity ball/dance is an event where young girls (often *very* young) are encouraged to pledge to their fathers that they will remain sexually inactive until they are married. It is ridiculously creepy. There’s an underlying subtext that the father must approve of her intended husband. Basically, it teaches girls that they aren’t allowed to have sex until daddy tells them it’s okay.

        • nakedanthropologist

          When I was younger, my middle school held a father-daughter dance.  I wanted no part in it, and neither did my father: we both felt it was sort of creepy.  That aside, if other parents/children want to go to such a dance more power to ‘em.  But I still think it should be gender inclusive

          IMHO, this issue is being blown out of proportion by politicians trying to use it as a rallying point.  It’s not an important event – and it does send a message about old gender stereotypes.  I’m glad that someone did speak up, and that the ACLU did intervene. 

  • David McNerney

    At first sight I thought, father-daughter dance, how cute.  It’s a pity that some solution can’t be found for this.

    But the more I think about it and I think about my own daughter and a room full of her friends and their fathers and…

    Ewwwww….. that’s just creepy.

    • Stev84

      If you want the ultimate creepiness watch some videos of purity balls. You’ll get a pedo vibe from everyone there.

      • ReadsInTrees

        That’s always my thought with father daughter dances…my mind flashes to purity balls, and then I’m creeped out.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      I took my daughter to the father-daughter dance for five straight years and there was nothing creepy about it, at all. Most of the time the girls run off to dance with their friends and the girls only dance with their fathers during slow songs and I will always cherish those moments.

      Why you find a group of well dressed people dancing and having a good time creepy boggles my mind. On the last year a bunch of us paid for a limo, had dinner at a nice restaurant and our daughters had a blast.

      How does one find that creepy and yes, that is my daughter having a blast in the limo.

      • Grinch

        Kevin, you have a beautiful daughter. :)

        I find it kind of creepy, but I’ll admit that I’m biased because I’m from the middle of the Bible Belt and usually father-daughter dances are more along the lines of purity balls.. I dunno, it just always freaked me out that my virginity would mean more to my potential husband than, y’know, my personality or accomplishments.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Thanks for the compliment and our dances are nothing even close to a purity ball which is very creepy. The dances are held around Valentine’s Day and that is always the theme of the dance.

          In Maine the dances are a big deal to the girls and they always sell out quickly. It is more of a social event than anything else. This is my daughter with three of her good friends outside the limo and yes, it was cold outside.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            The local rec center held a “Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance” this past Valentine’s Day. What I don’t get it how these dances avoid the romantic implications. The focus seems to be on mimicking a romantic event, the kind of event that a girl will often later go on to experience with a lover. Isn’t that sexualizing the father-daughter relationship? After all, no one would hold a father-son dance or any kind of father-son event with romantic overtones.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

              What I don’t get is how you could even imply there are romantic implications or overtones because fathers are slow or fast dancing with their daughters.

              Again, most of the time the girls run off with their friends to dance and the fathers are left talking to each other until a slow song comes on.

              Throw in the chicken dance, the hokey pokey and couple of other crazy dances just for the girls and that is the dance. Nothing sexual or romantic about it.

              Just a bunch of fathers that love their daughters a lot and take them to a fun dance. After the sixth grade it all stops though.

              BTW, every single girl in the picture above is only 11 years of age.

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                Because this kind of dance is, in every other context, intended to be and interpreted as a romantic event. School dances are romantic events. That’s how they’re promoted. Middle school and high school students who go to dances together are usually presumed to have romantic interest in each other or to be romantically involved. I can’t think of any way a dance involving hearts and flowers and slow dancing isn’t meant to be seen that way.

                Again, think of it from the context of father-son relationships. If men were slow dancing with their sons, wouldn’t that be seen as romantic? Or if two adult men went to a dance together, wouldn’t it be seen as them having romantic feelings for each other? Platonic friends and family members don’t typically interact in ways that mimic relationships between lovers. 

                I understand that everything is innocent here. But my concern is that it is romanticizing a relationship that shouldn’t be romanticized. Why not leave formal dances for lovers and have parents and children engage in other, non-romantic activities together?

                • Michael

                  Anna, I have to disagree with you completely on this one.  

                  Your position would suggest that the Father-daughter dance or Mother-son dance at a wedding are romantic.  I don’t see how this could be further from the truth.  This is no more than a tender moment between parent child.

                  As to your analogy of Father-son bonding through dance, you are forgetting the biological gender differences that exist between parent and child.  While evolutionarily these may have originated from sexual differences between the genders, there is no way you can tell me that my dancing with my daughter is sexual.  We just relate to children of different gender differently.  Its biologica.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Actually, I think the traditional father-daughter slow dance at a wedding does have romantic overtones, taking place at a romantic event and perhaps symbolizing the transfer of affection from father to husband.

                  What biological gender differences are you talking about? Of course it’s innocent when men dance with their daughters. I’m not accusing anyone of pedophilia, but if this type of event would be considered inappropriate between a father and son, then why is it okay between a father and daughter? If it really isn’t romantic, then we’d see father-son dates and dances. But we don’t see that. A lot of people would recoil at the very idea of a father taking his son for a makeover, dressing him up, buying him a boutineer, and slow dancing with him.

                  Look at it another way, we don’t have mock weddings between parents and children. Why would we encourage formal dances between parents and children? Again, in every other context, these are considered romantic events. A Valentine’s dance, the prom, or a formal ball are things that romantic couples normally attend.

                • Michael

                  These reply windows are getting small…

                  I guess I would same biological differences that get most (not all) girls playing with dolls and boys playing with balls.  

                  As for Father-son… nothing is wrong with it.  It is just rare.  So it would garner attention… much like a red head would a one point.  Further, I would want to dance with my Father much less than with my mother, and wouldn’t want to go to a mother -son dance.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

                  From my daughters mouth. When I go to a father-daughter dance the best part for me was getting a nice dress and having my hair done. What I also liked best about the dance was that you where only their with your friends and their fathers and you where not judged by other boys.

                  Overall it was a night to spend with my dad and friends and nothing more.

                  The above came from my daughter.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  I’m sure your daughter had a nice time at the dance, but that’s not my point. Do you disagree that hearts-flowers-and-slow-dancing events are perceived as romantic in every other context except this one?

                  I’m not accusing fathers who participate in these events of latent pedophilia, or their daughters of Freudian desires to date their daddies. I just don’t think the romantic overtones are appropriate between a parent and child. You didn’t address my comments about how the exact same event would be perceived between fathers and sons. If it’s not okay between fathers and sons, why is it okay between fathers and daughters?

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

                  Anna I cannot take this any futher. I’m sorry you feel the way you do.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Uh, okay? For the record, I’m not sorry you feel the way you do. You’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m glad you and your daughter had a nice time at the dance. It wasn’t my intention to make you feel bad about it. I was just trying to discuss some of the social implications of these events, but since you’re not willing to address any of my points, I suppose we’d better agree to disagree and move on.

                • Grizzz

                  That’s it, keep pounding your drum loudly in the hopes someone says “wait, your incoherent and odd argument suddenly makes sense”.

                  Anna, how much more do you need than from the man’s daughter saying she loved it? You get proof and still try and beat your drum.

                  That makes no sense at all. Perhaps it is the Internet and that no one ever backs down (even from stupid angles) on the Internet.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  You’re also completely missing the point. I’m not saying she didn’t love it. I’m not saying that it harms girls to go to dances with their fathers. I’m trying to discussing the societal implications of romanticizing the father-daughter relationship in this way. It’s not just dates and dances. It’s an entire cultural system that seems to position the father-daughter relationship in a more romantic and possessive way than the father-son, mother-son, or mother-daughter relationship.

                  My argument isn’t incoherent. Perhaps you could address why an event with romantic overtones is considered appropriate between a father and daughter when it wouldn’t be considered appropriate between a father and son?

                • nakedanthropologist

                  I agree with Anna and I think you are misinterpreting her argument.  She has made a very valuable social observation.  In all other aspects, these are romantic events.  She’s not saying that Kevin or his daughter view eachother romantically; she’s pointing out a pervading cultural context inherent with the themes of the events.  I understand that in New England dances have a very specialized social context which is not perceived romatically – it is a societal event, much like the balls of the 19th century – it can be romatic or not – it depends on who is dancing with whom.  Father/daughter dances are considered touching and rites of passage – the irls are being socialized. I think Anna and I are both quite cognizant of that point.  However, in other parts of the country these are considered (by most) to have strong romatic overtones (although not necessarily in N.E). 

    • ganner

      Meh, my school had mother-son dances (all male private school). Pretty sure, at least around here, these sorts of dances (even father-daughter ones) aren’t at all purity-ball-creepy

      • Gringa

         Agreed, I went to many father-daughter dances sponsored by the girl scouts and they were not creepy.  It was actually a lot of fun, especially since my parents were divorced and I had limited time with my dad. In my case, I don’t think it would have been as fun if my mom was there too because I’m an only child and they were not speaking a lot when I was younger.   However, I agree that a mother-son dance or a family baseball day should get the same type of promotion and could be just as fun.   It just takes a little effort to plan another event.

    • brianmacker

      David, you are supposed to show up with your daughter. Geesh, this isn’t a daughter swap dance.

  • njew84

    What about father son dances? What about mother daughter baseball? Hell why we are making everything fair, why don’t we let boys shower in the girls locker room, and girls shower in the boys? Why don’t we just make everything “unisex” we are all the same right?

    • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

      Not sure if sarcastic or really stupid.

      • Stev84

         The latter

        • PietPuk

           Both

      • njew84

        What is stupid about it? I mean seriously. If we really want to get down to it, we can’t tell a boy he has to shower with other boys if he feels uncomfortable because he feels like he is a girl trapped in a boys body right? I don’t know if this actually happens but we are opening up pandoras box when we start talking about making certain things equal but not other things. It’s like we are picking and choosing what we want to make equal.

        • amycas

           I would actually be in favor of getting rid of group showering altogether. It is creepy and there are children who feel uncomfortable about showering in front of others.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Nude group showers seem like they would make a lot of kids uncomfortable, regardless of sex.

            Interestingly enough, the day camp I attended as a child had a coed locker room and group showers before and after swimming! Granted, I don’t remember any of the kids taking off their bathing suits in the shower, and we had changing stalls, but I’m pretty sure mixed showering is pretty common in parts of Europe.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Nude group showers seem like they would make a lot of kids uncomfortable, regardless of sex.

            Interestingly enough, the day camp I attended as a child had a coed locker room and group showers before and after swimming! Granted, I don’t remember any of the kids taking off their bathing suits in the shower, and we had changing stalls, but I’m pretty sure mixed showering is pretty common in parts of Europe.

            • TheBlackCat

              “but I’m pretty sure mixed showering is common in parts of Europe.”

              So is public nudity, so it isn’t really comparable to the situation in the U.S.

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                Yes, I can imagine mixed showers wouldn’t go over too well here, LOL.

          • brianmacker

            Group showering requires less building materials and is therefore more economical. What happened to “let’s not be ashamed of our bodies?”

      • Thackerie

         It came from an entity known as an obnoxious religitroll on these forums who pushes the idiotic idea of teaching “intelligent design” in the public schools. So, really stupid it is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DocMonkey Mick Wright

       Nice false equivalency/strawman, bro. Do it again.

      • njew84

        How is it false equivalency? Just because a boy has boy parts doesn’t make him a boy right? If he is homosexual, inside he is a girl. Everyone is all about equal rights now days right?

        I’m not saying I want this to happen I’m just trying to get people to understand how extreme this can become. When we start making things so petty as a father daughter dance equal, we are playing with fire. I could care less about father daughter or mother son dances. Let everyone dance I don’t care! Is this really about equality? Or is this really about stiring up shit to get the conservatives pissed off so they look like the bad guys?

        Make everything equal or keep your mouth shut.

        • Baby_Raptor

          “If he is homosexual, inside he is a girl.”

          Shut the Fuck up and don’t attempt to talk with the adults again until you have any idea what you’re speaking of. Or concern-troll somewhere that people are as stupid as you are and won’t know the difference.

          • njew84

            Hit a nerve did I?

            • Amenhotepstein

              You are an idiot.

              You think you know something about homosexuality, but you don’t.

              You use the slippery-slope fallacy to argue that because we don’t do everything, we should do nothing.

              And please stop using “jew” in your handle, you’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

              • njew84

                So you are saying that homosexuals just “think” they are the opposite sex? So it’s a mental illness correct?

                • Vukota

                  Actually a mental illness is more like when people believe they can telepathically communicate with an invisible creature in the clouds. 

                • ReadsInTrees

                  I’ve had Christians say to me, “Imagine if one day Jesus spoke to you…” and I usually reply, “I’d be worried I had schizophrenia.”

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  Ummm, no.  You’re either completely uninformed or willfully stupid about homosexuality versus transsexuality.  Please don’t show up for advanced calculus when basic algebra is clearly still a hurdle for you.

                • ReadsInTrees

                  Umm…being homosexual is not the same as being transgender. Go out and learn a little bit before making absurd statements.

              • njew84

                And btw my name is Jewett.

                • MargueriteF

                  No, no, your name is “troll.”

            • MargueriteF

              Oh, look, you’re trolling down here, too. What an amusing little stereotype you are, bringing up all the fundie talking points (homosexuality and evolution) that all have absolutely nothing to do with this thread. 

            • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

              No nerve was struck. You’re just coming across like a useless fucking douchcanoe, and UFDs are not tolerated here.

        • Sindigo

          “If he is homosexual, inside he is a girl.” No-one’s going to take you seriously if you pretend to be that ignorant. Obvious troll is obvious.

        • Tainda

          “If he is a homosexual, inside he is a girl.”

          You just lost what little shred of credibility you had going for you.

          Enjoy living under the bridge.

        • amycas

          “If he is homosexual, inside he is a girl”
          Um no, homosexual men are not women inside. If a boy grows up feeling like he’s really a girl, that’s called gender dysmorphia, and he may eventually transition and be transgender. Those are two different things.

        • Deven Kale

           ” If he is homosexual, inside he is a girl.”

          Wrong. If he is homosexual, he’s attracted to men but probably still a man on the inside. If he’s a girl inside, that makes him a transexual. There are even homosexual transexuals who get a sex change and are still attracted to members of their (now) same sex.

          It’s just not as simple as you would like it to be.

        • nakedanthropologist

          Um, no.  No No NO – you show your true colors and lack of common knowledge.  Being homosexual does not mean you think you are a “girl inside”.  Homosexuality means being attracted to someone of the same gender as you – that’s really it.  You moronic fuck wit.

    • Deven Kale

       Personally, as long as there’s a supervisor (which is already required anyway), I don’t see how that would be a problem anyway. It might actually solve a lot of the problems we have now involving sexuality and body image.

  • Steve Frank

    It’s time for these “defenders of tradition” to put their money where their mouths are.   Organize, finance, and hold their own daddy daughter dance, somewhere off school grounds.  I mean,  if it’s so important, they should take care of it themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Edgar

    I think this time the ACLU is becoming a little bit trigger-happy when suing. Come on, it’s just and inoffensive  event that bothers no one. Boys don’t wanna dance, that’s something we only do to hook up with girls. Baseball is funnier and there’s no discrimination about that.

    • Sindigo

      I have to agree. I can’t believe the ACLU doesn’t have better things to do than involve themselves here. It gives them a bad name.

      • jimm58

        The ACLU is a pretty sad excuse as a civil rights advocate these days.
        For instance, some six million adults who were adopted here in the US are denied a copy of their own original birth certificate yet the ACLU has always looked the other way. They appear to be simply a bunch of self-serving attorneys, carefully choosing only those issues which will not cut into their income stream.

        • sunburned

           Speaking as someone who had a sister that was put up for adoption because my mother was raped at 16 before Row Vs. Wade…  It’s that way for a reason.

          Is not getting an original birth certificate isn’t a civil liberty issue anyhow?

          As far as resources… how many resources does it take to draft a letter?

          • jimm58

            So that woman, your sister, should be treated differently than others due to something she has absolutely no control over? There’s a definition for that, one the ACLU thinks is fine here in America. I’ll stand by my claim – the attorneys of the ACLU think of their own pocketbook before they’ll think of anything else.

            • TheBlackCat

               The ACLU tends to defend the protections in the constitution, I don’t see how that is relevant here.

              • jimm58

                You are quite right, constitutional protection is not relevant in my argument.  I’m merely pointing out the fact that, to the ACLU, discrimination is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with their income potential. Many ACLU attorneys have become quite wealthy by employing this state-sanctioned discrimination in their daily work and it sheds a light upon their rationale.

                • TheBlackCat

                  How is is not relevant?  You are upset that an organization whose explicit goal is to defend constitutional protections is carrying out its goal rather than some other goal totally outside its scope. 

                  It is also not helping with worker compensation cases because that is not its goal.  There is a practically infinite number of causes that it is not helping with because they are outside its mission.

                  It simply is not feasible to have an organization that handles every imaginable case that anyone might think is worthwhile taking.  That is why we have specific organizations for specific types of cases.

    • Adi Rule

      As a non-dancer, and having grown up as one of only two girls playing in my county’s baseball league, I had the same reaction. Surely there is a limit to the ACLU’s resources, and surely those resources could be better spent elsewhere.

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        I’m sure they spent months, you know, writing a simple letter. As far as “resources” go, this was hardly a drop from a full tank of gas.

    • MargueriteF

      So there’s nothing innately sexist or discriminatory about a dance for the girls, and an athletic event for the boys? Huh. Sounds discriminatory to me, and kind of disturbingly 1950s in outlook besides. Though I agree with you on one point– I think baseball is “funner” too.

      The ACLU didn’t “sue” anyway, if you read the post; they sent a letter. And there was a perfectly good option available– offering a dance for ALL kids and parents. The parent-teacher association could offer a baseball game for all the kids instead, if they really wanted to. Either way, I don’t see why a big controversy is necessary– just make the event inclusive and let everyone have some fun.

      • Sindigo

        I understand your point, yes it is discriminatory but having a girl’s only dance makes sense. If boys are there too then it becomes a regular school dance and the emphasis gets placed squarely on the relationships between the girl and boys of the student body. Likewise, if girls and boys play baseball together then it becomes an event dominated by the boys’ athletic prowess.

        My wife goes to a women-only gym. Guys aren’t allowed because it creates an environment where some of the members feel more comfortable. No one minds. She also runs the annual “race for life”. A women only event so the competitors don’t feel the pressure of the stereotypical but no less real for it, male competitive streak. Again, no one minds.

        Keeping the sexes separate for some events isn’t inherently wrong an, I would have thought can help young people develop their gender identity. I have one daughter and would consider taking her to an event such as this if she wanted to go.

        • MargueriteF

          As I said elsewhere, my daughters went to an event like this through the Girl Scouts. I had no problem with that. But the public schools need to avoid the appearance of being exclusionary, and avoiding old-fashioned sexist tropes like “dances for the girls, baseball games for the boys” would be nice, too.

          If you don’t like the idea of having it become a “regular school dance,” then I don’t see why a “comparable event” like a mother-son dance couldn’t be scheduled, as suggested in the post.

          • Sindigo

            I’m not sure if the schools really do need to be seen to be so gender neutral on every issue. If you put it to a vote amongst the student body and asked the girls and the boys which event they would like to attend what do you think the answer would be?

            I personally agree that a mother-son dance would be just fine. Except that, at age 13 I would rather have had bowel surgery than attend a dance with my mother. A baseball game though… that would have been fun.

            • Atoswald

              At thirteen I would have preferred a baseball game with my dad over a stuffy dance too.

              I do see your points, and agree with them to some extent, but I also see why it is better to encourage the offended families to have a private dance rather than pushing it through the schools.

              • Sindigo

                In this case, I’m not sure if there were any offended families. The article mentions the ACLU but not whether anyone made a complaint.

                Meanwhile, it is certainly possible that in some homes a younger sister is being told that she can’t go to the dance that her older sister went to with her dad because a godless liberal organisation has caused it to be cancelled. And another lifelong republican voter is born. 

                • TheBlackCat

                  Of course it has been pointed out to you repeatedly that the ACLU did not try to get the dance cancelled, so whoever told this to the sister would be a liar.

            • Karen L

               Are you aware that not everyone is just like you?  That there are boys who don’t like baseball and girls who do? 

              • Sindigo

                I didn’t like either. I still don’t, particularly. Should the school put another event on for kids like me? Maybe a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

                Maybe the school should have a vote and see which event the kids would prefer. I’m still fairly sure that the boys would end up voting for a baseball game and the girls would end up at a dance though.

                • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                  If a public institution had to cater to every single person’s tastes, there would be hundreds of events going on, competing with one another. Instead, it’s easier, simpler, and more logically sound for the public institution to leave such things to private institutions. You can’t be non-discriminatory while holding an inherently discriminatory event.

                • Sindigo

                  Absolutely but if you’re argument is that you can’t have an event for girls because a handful of girls might not like the event then I reserve the right to not like the event that you’re throwing for the boys.

                  Schools aren’t like other institutions. In my childhood, there simply wasn’t a private institution that could have held an event such as this to which my friends would have been invited. 

        • Revyloution

          The real difference between your examples and this event is the sponsor.  If it’s a private event,  then exclude anyone you want.  If it’s a state sponsored event, you are not allowed to exclude anyone.

          Seriously,  if they want a Father Daughter dance,  have one at the local church.  Maybe they can have something for the boys too,  like a Son Priest cuddle. 

          • Sindigo

            The reason I gave those examples is to illustrate that there are times when an event can be single sex and it not be a problem, it can even serve a purpose. 

            They did offer an alternative event after all. Maybe there was an inherent sexism with the choice of event but I really don’t see it as that big a deal.

            Did any of the students complain about the perceived gender disparity?

            • TheBlackCat

               By that logic making girls go to home ec and guys go to science class wouldn’t be discrimination, because they have their own alternative.

        • Entertaining Doubts

           Here’s the thing — and it’s the same thing the raving Xtians in Cranston didn’t seem to get about the banner lawsuit: You can do any of these religious/gender/whatever discriminatory things (within the bounds of general legality) with private funds on private property. Have a local church sponsor it, or the Rotary Club, or a coalition of parents. The point is that you can’t discriminate with *public* funds on *public* property. How difficult or expensive would it be for everybody to kick in a few bucks and rent some space at the local Elks lodge and hire a DJ? Why should taxpayers underwrite something that not all of them are eligible to attend?

          • Sindigo

            I understand your point about using taxpayer’s money to underwrite an event that’s just for girls but wouldn’t that be made up by offering the baseball game?

            Offering to something on at a church or a local hall or whatever isn’t as easy as you make it sound. Thinking (way) back to my school days I think it would have been nigh-on impossible to talk to  around 250 sets of parents, let alone get them all to chip in. I’m in the UK though and maybe things are different.

            I just don’t see it as that big of a deal.

            • sunburned

              No.  Pretend life is like math.

              Is the following statement true.
              x=baseball
              y=dancing

              x=y

              If you bought tickets to a baseball game and showed up to find a DJ and a dance floor you would be happy when the ticket taker said, “I don’t know what your upset about, they are the same thing”.

              • Sindigo

                Thanks for pointing out the difference between dancing and sports. Though, on my one visit to an AZ Cardinals game the distinction wan’t that clear cut.

                • sunburned

                   I was only pointing out that a having a separate baseball game really isn’t making up for anything.  Because they are not the same thing.

                • Sindigo

                  And I was only pointing out that if your problem is the fact that tax-payer’s dollars are being used to fund two events, they cancel each other out providing they’re of a similar cost.

                • TheBlackCat

                   Again, so if tax-payer dollars were used to fund home ec for girls and science for boys everything would be just fine, assuming they are of the same cost?

                • Sindigo

                  There is a big difference between two social  events and denying people educational opportunites, isn’t there.

                • TheBlackCat

                  Okay, so if you insist on nit-picking, gym class is boys only,  cooking is girls only. 

            • Entertaining Doubts

               Smells like “separate but equal” to me.

              And as far as the logistics and cost of a privately-funded shindig are concerned, those who really want it to continue will chip in or pay an admittance fee — or look into getting it subsidized by some private entity like I mentioned above. Plus, the internet is a thing now: Facebook, Evite, and hundreds of other similar online event organization tools make it much simpler to get the word out to the community and the right information in the hands of the event planners.

              • Grizzz

                “Separate but equal” is not always the wrong thing or a bad thing. Yes, there is an association of “separate but equal” with the deep south or South Africa’s apartheid, but we live with “separate but equal” items everyday and all the time.

                Case in point – male and female bathrooms. Spearate but equal and based on gender. Some colleges and Universities offer male and female dorms – gender based separate but equal.

                There are certainly times when separate but equal is wrong, but no all cases and this one does not seem to be a bad thing.

                (and FWIW, I am not sure “separate but equal” is accurate when it comes to male/female bathrooms. I think the chicks get the better end of that deal).

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

           It wouldn’t really be like a regular school dance. It would be parent and child dancing. Most school dances don’t involve the parents.

          and your argument about women-only baseball, women-only gyms, and women-only annual races are completely fine too. You know why? Because men have equivalent events of their own. Nobody is saying “we’re going to have a women’s only baseball team, and there’s going to be NO men’s baseball!”. Likewise, we have separate boys and girls bathrooms, but we don’t say “only girl’s bathrooms, and no bathroom for boys!”.

          This school could have had a separate mother-son dance. It would have been entirely fair and within the law, but this school decided it wanted a strict father-daughter dance with no equivalent for the male students, or no dance at all.

          • Sindigo

            So it’s a dance with more chaperones than usual. In my day dances were about who you could cop off with so it wouldn’t be like a regular school dance, you’re right.

            Involving the boys just means it becomes a family event, rather than a chance for the girls to be with other girls and the dads to be with other dads. Something that I still don’t see a problem with.

            You’re right, there are equivalent events for men, in fact, that’s how sports works and it’s because there are enough people who want to do them. So, how well attended do you think a mother/son dance would be? Has anyone asked the kids of the school whether they would want an equivalent event?

            I would have attended this event with my daughter if she’d wanted to go. I would have loved my wife to attend a mother/son baseball game too. It seems a shame that now no-one gets to.

            • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

              Wouldn’t you have liked to attend a baseball game with your daughter too? Or what about your wife and your son going to a dance? Both can be fun, can’t they? If you feel there’s something special in keeping the boy student events separate from the girl student events, that’s fine. But why can’t they both have equivalent events? I see nothing wrong with either. I don’t think you do either.

              • Grizzz

                Larry, to be fair to Sindigo, I do not think that is what he is saying and I think you are being a bit obtuse. Of course Sindigo would probably like to go to a ball game with this daughter or see his wife go to a dance with his son, but that isn’t what he is talking about. He is saying (and Sindigo, correct me if I am wrong) that the father-daughter thing in and of itself is a great thing. By saying one is a great thing, he is not saying the other is horrible.

              • Sindigo

                No, I have no problem with the directly equivalent events. But now the school would have to fund 4 events and that doubles the cost, something which may be impossible. I still maintain that the take-up for a mother/son dance would hover around zero though so maybe not I guess.

                In this rampaging push to total equality, sometimes things like this father/daughter dance get lost. And I think that’s a shame. 

                I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one and this is yesterday’s argument anyway. Let’s go and find a fundie to argue with. ;)

        • TheBlackCat

          You keep ignoring the fact that they could have had two separate dances and/or two separate sports events and that would have been just fine.  No one has said that both events have to have both buys and girls in them, as long as there are versions of both events for both boys and girls. 

          • Sindigo

            And you double the budget. Can the school afford 4 events? Not that I think they’d need to as I imagine take-up for a mother-son dance would hover around zero.

  • SphericalBunny

    The good news? Out of even this sea of turgid backwater conformity, bright minds like Ms. Ahlquist will still rise. The ACLU will hopefully enable their numbers to increase.

  • Mehman

    >Is it really a surprise to anyone that the loudest complainers are completely ignorant of the federal law?

    “Ololo it’s the law” is not a good argument.
     
    Law is not ideal and can be changed if a lot of people upset about it, sometimes through revolution.

    Slavery once was the law, and bloody human sacrifices and other insane stuff.

    • Pluto Animus

       Comparing a daddy-daughter dance to slavery.
      Brilliant.

      • Sindigo

        That’s a straw man. OP was making a point about how laws have changed.

      • ReadsInTrees

        Using extreme analogies is a helpful tool. Everyone today knows that slavery is obviously a bad thing, yet it used to be legal. You don’t need to explain the complexities of that issue since everyone immediately KNOWS what you mean.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      So changing laws for the purpose of less equality (father-daughter dances with no equivalent for boys)  is the same as changing laws for more equality (slavery)?

      • Mehman

        Who knows what is good and right? People are different, and i can imagine some cases where different treatment is better than forced equality. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

          So there’s no reasoning to figuring out what is good and/or right?

          • Mehman

            Of course there is! Start collecting data!

    • RobMcCune

       Okay, give me a good reason that students should only be able certain kinds of activities based on their gender. If the law is unfair in this case, then there should be a compelling reason why school activities should assign gender roles to students.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It would kill the christianists to not lie even once, wouldn’t it?

  • onamission5

    Then there’s the moms who don’t have sons, and the dads who don’t have daughters, and the kids who are without one or the other parent, or even without either. What dance would they be attending?

    Exclusionary events are exclusionary. Thankfully, people are finally starting to figure that out.

    • The Other Weirdo

       So, you’re saying that we should forbid “Bring your child to work” events because some people don’t have children? Or because some kids don’t have parents, or don’t have parents who work?

      • onamission5

        Where did you get “forbid stuff” from “don’t be exclusionary?”

        • The Other Weirdo

           Often, as far as I’ve seen, “don’t be exclusionary” is just a euphemism for “if 1 person out of 100 can’t take part, then nobody should take part. Because, don’t be exclusionary.”

      • Justin Miyundees

        Your retort is a classic “straw man argument”.  Look it up – you’ll be glad you did.

        • Grizzz

          Actually Justin, from a strict semantics and logic-tools based argument, it is you who needs to reference that “straw man” terminology.

      • Alexandertimothy08

         Or because the kids who go to work with there parents never really do anything while they’re.  they dont have an assignment to learn something about the job, they just get to skip school for a day.

    • Sindigo

      Well, you could make concessions. Maybe an uncle, family friend, older brother or whatever could take a kid in such a position. A certain amount of common sense could still be applied.

  • http://twitter.com/wiriamu wiriamu

    I wonder if they’d fight so hard for tradition if a transgirl wanted to go to the father daughter dance, or a transguy wanted to go to the mother son baseball game.  

    • Grizzz

      OMG.

      The world is an unfair place. Is this the first you have heard of this? Did you not get the memo?

      Hell, let’s just have a scheduled father-daughter-mother-son-NAMBLA-tranny-Transexual-herpespositive-HIVpositive-quadropolegic-impotent-neutered-spade-Chinese-Japanese-DogonCat-CatonDog-CowandHorse-HorseandCow-CowandDOg-DogandHorse-FlatEarthandID-IDandEvolution dance?

      Holy fucking shit. You people are fucking out there.

      • Jordan Sugarman

        Sure, the world is unfair. That’s not an argument for government institutions to go out of their way to make it less fair. I don’t see why you find the idea of a simple parent-child dance so offensive. Just leave gender out of it. Unless you’re just trolling. In which case, I give you 4/10 for effort.

        • Grizzz

          I don’t have any problem with a simple parent-child dance. Nor do I have any problem with a father-daughter dance. You miss the entire point. I mean, not even landing an arrow on the whole hay bale let alone target miss. 

          Again, here is a classic case of the “liberal bubble”. I wish I could say that we as liberals were immune to bubble thinking, but alas, we are not.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

             Well since you put it that way, you make no sense at all.

          • Mcnamaraj007

            I agree what the heck are u sayin?

  • James

    Is this even a high school event? I thought daddy daughter dances for much younger preteens. I can’t see a bunch of 16 year old young ladies wanting to go out on a formal with their fathers.

    Well they were given a reasonable option of a parent child dance and decided to take a piss on the whole thing. I would be willing to bet that even being inclusive that the even would still have been primarily a father daughter one. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      In Maine the father-daughter dance ends after the sixth grade.

  • njew84

    Let’s talk about equality for a sec.. How about children who grow up in a Christian home but are taught in public school their beliefs are a lie.. They are told that we evolved from dead matter over millions of years and God is a fictional character. Science cannot explain how life began yet evolution is still the ONLY explanation for life in school. Talk about discrimination!

    • MargueriteF

      How fortunate for those children that they’re actually being taught SCIENCE in school. Evolution IS the only explanation, from a scientific point of view. Creationism is not a scientific explanation, only a religious one. And children aren’t taught “God is a fictional character” in school– he doesn’t come up in biology classes at all. Nor should he.

      • njew84

        By not mentioning God it is saying that it isn’t even a possibility! You are a bigot! Discrimination is part of life OBVIOUSLY! Like I said in an earlier post, make it all equal or keep your mouth shut!

        • MargueriteF

          Heh, yes, I am a bigot. I think public education should not support any particular religion, as per the Constitution. Shame on me:-).

          Seriously, why do you think your creation story should be taught in science classes, but not, say, the Greek creation myths? Shall we include Norse myths? Stories from the Koran? Once we finish teaching all those creation myths, there won’t be any time left for actual biology. Or did you only want your own particular creation myth taught, and every other religion left out in the cold?

          Anyway, this is all way off topic for the thread, so I’ll stop now and “keep my mouth shut.” *grins*

          • njew84

            I disagree. It is completely on topic. This topic is on discrimination is it not? As I stated a few minutes ago, intelligent design doesn’t mean Christianity or Buddhism or mythology, it means a supernatural phenomenon to explain life. If science can teach about the “big bang” in school that absolutely isn’t proven, how can we keep ID out of school?

            • PietPuk

              If science can teach about the “big bang” in school that absolutely isn’t proven, how
              can we keep ID out of school?

              ID can be thought in schools, when mythology is being discussed.

            • Vukota

              You’re so right! They should also teach alchemy as an alternative to chemistry and astrology as an alternative to astronomy. I’m tired of all these scientists who think that just because their arguments are supported by peer-reviewed data that it’s somehow better than my unsupported personal belief system! 

              • MargueriteF

                And don’t forget that they should teach that the earth is flat in geology courses, too!

                • Entertaining Doubts

                   And the stork theory of human reproduction in health class.

            • MargueriteF

              Because ID is total crap, from a science perspective. The courts have agreed (correctly) that it is scientifically invalid. However, as PietPuk said, there’s nothing to stop a social studies teacher from discussing creation myths.

            • onamission5

              Because “totally unverifiable shit somebody made up”  has nothing to do with science.

            • Grizzz

              First off, ID is not science nor has it undergone any form of legitimate peer review – a crucial aspect of any scientific study.

              Second, your idea of equivalency is nonsense. And if you need us to explain that to you it is obvious you are too far down the rabbit hole to ever grasp grown up concepts and sound reasoning.

            • Grizzz

              First off, ID is not science nor has it undergone any form of legitimate peer review – a crucial aspect of any scientific study.

              Second, your idea of equivalency is nonsense. And if you need us to explain that to you it is obvious you are too far down the rabbit hole to ever grasp grown up concepts and sound reasoning.

            • Grizzz

              Oh yes, the Big Bang is the best explanation based on the facts and research we have right now. Let me repeat that last part for you – RIGHT NOW. You see, science works like this:

              Take thew available facts and evidence at hand
              Review and repeat
              Investigate
              Peer review
              Conclusion

              ID is not science. It does none of these things.

              And yes, the Big Bang (terrible name by the way because it is not a true representation of what occurred – it is best thought as “the big expansion” but that is a concept I am quite certain would be over your head) is sound science and is, at present, the factual explanation for the existence of what we know.

            • brianmacker

              … Because ID isn’t a scientific theory. It is religion as pseudoscience. Christian creationism to be specific. The Big Bang is an actual scientific theory that is falsifiable. There is no way to falsify ID because it has no intellectual content. it is merely the claim that somewhere something is so complex it could not evolve. When shown how such a thing could evolve the IDer moves on to the next ad hoc feature that is claimed to be too complex. It’s intellectual garbage, and non-scientific.

        • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

          Okay. So in order to make it all equal, we have to teach ALL creation myths. You won’t object to ancient Greek and Egyptian creation stories, will you?

          EDIT: I see that MargueriteF beat me to it. ;)

        • TheBlackCat

           Utter baloney.  By not mentioning they are not mentioning it, nothing less and nothing more.  They are avoiding the subject entirely.  Avoiding a subject is not the same as saying it doesn’t exist.  So far we haven’t discussed basket weaving in this thread, does that mean we don’t think it exists?

        • Deven Kale

           By not mentioning any gods, science classes are actually being respectful of all religions. Even teaching ID would be exclusionary (and disrespectful of the beliefs of some) because there are those who don’t believe a designer was required, and that life has always existed somewhere without need of any creator or even a “first cause.”

          The men who founded this country recognized the dangers of having any religion favored by local governments and so wrote into the founding documents that the state must keep itself separate from all religions. This includes in our public (state run and funded) schools.

          The way things are currently working, public schools are a government institution which means that, according to the constitution, they must also respect all religions by keeping itself separate from them. A privately funded school may teach whatever it wants, as long as it means minimum teaching standards. For the most part though, even private schools leave the religious teachings alone. All religious teachings, including their creation myths, are meant to be the realm of the individual religions which can teach literally anything they want using whatever non-abusive means they wish.

          TL;DR: The founders of this country recognized the dangers of having any one religion supported over others, and arranged to make sure that religious teachings are left to the realm of individual religions. They put wording into the constitution which ensured that no religion be officially supported by any state institution, in order to best respect the religious beliefs of all. Public schools are a branch of the government, so they’re required to follow the same model.

      • njew84

        It’s okay for an atheist to discriminate but when a Christian does it, whoa now that’s against the law!

        • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

          In my mother’s words: Would you like some cheese to go with that whine? I only have cheddar right now, unfortunately.

          If you actually followed the atheist blogosphere, you would know that atheists call out other atheists all the time on discriminatory practices. 

          Educate yourself, lest you look like a fool.

          • njew84

            So you are admitting that you are discriminating against me right now then correct? Please allow me to use an analogy from the good book..
            “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.”

            • NoDoubtAboutIt

              Man, that must have been one horrific syphyllis
               scab you had to burst through at birth.

            • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

              Dude, you are on an ATHEIST blog, trolling, and then you complain that we are discriminating against you. How are we discriminating against you?
              Let me use a quote from Harry Potter:
              “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

              See, I can quote good books, too.

              (Before you say anything, yes, I know what you meant when you wrote “the good book.”

    • njew84

      I’m not even trying to make a case for my Christian God either like most of you are probably thinking. I’m simply making a case for intelligent design.

      • PietPuk

        Willfully ignorant troll is willfully ignorant.

        • njew84

          You realize how you are being right now right? I could be the exact same way with my views. You don’t think like I do, you’re an idiot!

          • PietPuk

            You don’t think like I do, you’re an idiot!

            You don’t think, that is the big problem here.

          • brianmacker

            You are not thinking. You are parroting. Christianity actively punishes and surprises thinking. Why do think they believe the tree of knowledge is a bad thing? Why do you think they have the story of Doubting Thomas? Why do you think they elevate blind acceptance, Faith, as a virtue? why do they punish questioning? It is all to stop you from thinking.

      • ReadsInTrees

        The case for intelligent design has already been made and lost. It’s no coincidence that virtually all scientists who studies life sciences support evolution. If there were really any controversy, you’d FIND controversy among those scientists who study these things. But there’s not. They don’t even worry about it because they’ve moved on.

      • Atoswald

        Intelligent design? And who should we postulate is the designer if not your christian god? The “theory” of intelligent design would fall apart completely without the “intelligent designer”.

      • TheBlackCat

         Intelligent design is a Christian movement made by Christians with the explicit (although secret until leaked to the press) goal of promoting Christianity and destroying modern science.  This is thoroughly documented in their own materials.

    • njew84

      This is setting up to be a very nice analogy actually.. We can’t have father daughter dances unless we let mothers and sons have a dance too, and if we can’t come up with an agreement we will either have to privately fund each event or not have either event at all.

      In science class, we only teach our students evolution(even though it is NOT a proven theory) yet if we want our students to learn the ONLY alternative they have to go to a private school or church.

      Now, how would you all feel if the school said, well we are going to have a father daughter dance but if you want a mother son dance you will have to fund and support that on your own.

      See what I’m talking about?

      • PietPuk

        See what I’m talking about?

        Yes, about your ignorance of scientific theories.
        Willfully ignorant people like you are the reason that good education is so extremely important.

      • TheBlackCat

         You don’t know the first thing about science.  There is no such thing as a “proven theory”, it is fundamentally impossible.  There is no such thing as a proven anything in science. 

        And there is no scientific alternative to evolution.  As we keep explaining to you, ID is not science, it has none of the characteristics of science, and even the leaders of the ID movement have been forced to admit that, one under oath in a court of law. 

        There is nothing unfair about restricting science classes to only teaching science.  That is what they are there for.  It is not unfair to not teach cooking in a science class, and it is not unfair to not teach science in a cooking class.

        However, it would be unfair to say that girls have to go to a cooking class but can’t attend a science class, while boys have to attend a science class but can’t attend a cooking class.

        • njew84

          Oh so you are saying you they haven’t proven the theory of evolution?! What a shocker! Thanks for helping my argument!

          • Michael

            You’re a moron.  Plain and simple.  No theory is “proven”.  Including the theory of gravity.  I don’t see you screaming about that.  Why?  Because you are a moron that doesn’t have a clue what the word means.  Why don’t you go back to the the high school classes you probably dropped out of and learn an thing or two about science.  Until then, STFU.

            • njew84

              Yep you’re right I’m a moron. I don’t know the definition of a theory.

              • TheBlackCat

                 Correct on both counts, glad we cleared that up

              • Jessie

                Yes, either you don’t know the scientific definition of a theory, or you’re purposefully conflating it with the lay definition to dishonestly try to make a point.

              • brianmacker

                Correct, you are equivocating between the single definition you know, and the definition used by science. Many words have multiple definitions and you can’t just assume the wrong definition or switch between them. In science they use the word hypothesis to mean a untested and unverified guess about how the world works. That would be the closest to the meaning you are using for theory, which is the use in casual conversation.

                You are like a someone talking with a hipster and expecting some “cool” fad to actually have a cold temperature. No when a hipster says a bikini is cool he means it is cutting edge fashionable, not that it is going to keep your temperature down. When you equivocate that makes you sound like a moron to anyone who is scientifically literate.

                Same thing is true when you equivocate on the term “faith”, which also has multiple meanings. Two of which are 1) Believing something despite any credible evidence in favor of it and with disregard to evidence contradicting it. 2) Trust in something or someone which or who has proven reliable in the past.

                Believing a benevolent God exists requires faith because there is no credible evidence for his existence, and plenty of suffering in the world that counts against his existence. In fact, definition 1) above is considered a virtue in Christianity. No such concept exists in science. Scientists don’t use faith definition number 1 above.

        • njew84

          Isn’t a law a proven theory? Like the “law of gravity” meaning nobody can argue its existence? If I drop a ball it’s going to fall hit the ground and bounce and then fall and hit the ground again until it loses it’s momentum and finally stops or rolls down the hill ect. A theory is defined as a guess or a conjecture, contemplation or speculation, or a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural. Gravity is proven, therefore no longer a theory like evolution! You “believe” it’s true, that’s not science that’s faith!

          • Michael

            Again.  You are a moron.  

            There are two definitions of theory.  The lay definition and the scientific definition.  Yes, the lay definition is a conjecture.  However, (PAY ATTENTION HERE) the scientific theory is “a coherent group of TESTED genera propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as the principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.  Examples include Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Synonyms include principle, LAW, doctrine.  What you do not appreciate is the volume of data which back up these theories, and could not be further from a conjecture.

            As for law vs theory.  “While laws rarely change, theories change frequently as new evidence is discovered. Instead of being discarded due to new evidence, theories are often revised to include the new evidence in their explanation. The Theory of General Relativity has adapted as new technologies and new evidence have expanded our view of the universe.
            So when we are scientifically discussing gravity, we can talk about the law that describes the attraction between two objects, and we can also talk about the theory that describes why the objects attract each other.
            http://thehappyscientist.com/science-experiment/gravity-theory-or-law

            Finally,  there is no “belief” regarding evolution.  That is like saying you “believe” that the sun will come up tomorrow.  Your “belief” is based on data… it has come up every day of your life.  There is no reason to suspect that it won’t continue doing so tomorrow and the next day and so on.  

            As scientists, we don’t make shit up because it makes us feel good.  So don’t confuse your “beliefs” with our evidence.

            Thus ends your lesson.  Hopefully next time you’ll pass the test and someone else won’t have to call you a moron.

          • TheBlackCat

             When talking about science, no you are totally wrong.

            Here are the basic definitions:

            Fact: a repeated observation.  These are the least important things in science.  It doesn’t say why something happens, it just says that something does happen. 

            Law: a mathematical relationship between cause and effect.  Again it doesn’t say why the relationship exists, it only describes what happens. 

            Theory: a heavily-tested explanation for some set of facts and/or laws.  It has been tested and confirmed so many times that it is considered provisionally correct and can be used as a basis on which to build other facts, laws, and theories. 

            “The Earth orbits the Sun” is a fact. The laws of orbital mechanics describe how objects orbit other objects, but don’t say why.  General relativity is a theory that explains why Earth orbits the sun and explains why the laws that cover that orbit are the way they are.

            Two things to notice about this:

            1. Facts, laws, and theories cannot change from one group to another, because they are fundamentally different.
            2. Theory is the most important of the three, since it is an explanation rather than just a description, and thus can be used to predict new situations while facts and laws cannot.

          • brianmacker

            No. You don’t need science to tell you that when you drop something it falls. That’s silly. Scientific laws are well tested models of how things work. They to are theories about how the world works. Newton’s law of gravity was falsifiable and has been falsified. It is NOT true. So you are a little behind the times. In fact your understanding of gravity is even more primitive than Newton. You described it the way a cave man would. It is in fact false that if you drop something that it always falls. There are situations will that will not occur even when in a gravitational field.

            You also don’t understand basic logic and methods to avoid intellectual error. Your use of the word faith with regards to science is an equivocation.

      • brianmacker

        Guess what your science teacher didn’t get your thick skull. No scientific theory is “proven”. It’s no wonder you want ID in science class. You are completely scientific illiterate.

    • Atoswald

      I would love to meet the teachers that are actually teaching your children that god is a fictional character and that their beliefs are lies (and let’s be real for a moment, they are YOUR beliefs which you are teaching your children. Your children didn’t come up with these beliefs all by themselves.) That is quite a daring move, even for the most “in your face” atheists, as it would likely result in said teachers being fired. So why haven’t you done anything about this? Contact the school, a lawyer, the ACLU and air this discrimination for all to see. If you’re not one for face to face confrontation, why are your children still in this school? You have options … home schooling, private schools, charter schools, or another public school.  

    • brianmacker

      Most of Christianity is a lie. Talking snake, lie. Worldwide flood, lie. Walking on water, lie. Zombie son, lie. Existence of hell, lie. Existence of heaven, lie. On, and on, thousands of lies.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Whenever I hear the phrase father-daughter dances the phrase purity dances is always associated with it. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Not in Maine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

    The whole concept of the father/daughter dance creeps me out. 

    • The Other Weirdo

       Now, if they started playing Butterfly Kisses while the girls are dancing with the fathers, that would definitely creep me out.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

         Uuugh,

  • The Other Weirdo

    A dance for the girls. Baseball for the boys. How quaint.

    You could look at it this way, if you always want to see the worst in people’s motives. Or, you could look past the words and your initial, overly emotional reaction, and see it differently. For example:

    A dance for the fathers. Baseball for the mothers. How interesting.

    Girls dance with their fathers, which they probably rarely do. Boys get to play baseball wit their mothers, which they probably rarely do. There. Problem solved.

    • ReadsInTrees

      Girls probably also rarely play baseball with their parents, and boys probably rarely dance with their parents. Why not just have a parent-child dance, and a parent-child baseball game? Gives everyone the opportunity to do both.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Another example of the idiocy of the ACLU.  Not surprising that the school district went along.  I would suspect that the reason they cancelled instead of choosing the other options you mentioned is that they probably understood that nothing they did would satisfy everyone, so once again, in an effort to be “equal” they have nothing. 

    Like it or not, males and females are different genders and daughters and sons have different relationships with their mothers and their fathers. I see nothing wrong with the school acknowledging these different relationships and honoring them in a way that most of the daughters and sons would enjoy. 

     The motivation behind this complaint is not that certain genders were being excluded, but because of the implication through these events that there are gender differences and the ACLU and others like them are trying so desperately to get rid of all gender differences in our society. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

       And I see nothing wrong with offering equivalent activities for both genders. Why is the idea of a mother-son dance so offensive to you? Are you insinuating that boys shouldn’t dance? or that boys shouldn’t bond with their mothers? I really want to know why it’s so important to keep mother’s and their son’s from going to a dance together that you would cut the father-daughter dance just to prevent it.

    • Grizzz

      Hey dinglenuts, you should be damned glad the ACLU is around because it protects your rights as much as mine.

      You know who the client is for the ACLU?

      The Bill of Rights.

      • brianmacker

        Except the second amendment and ninth.

  • Blacksheep

    The ACLU must be bored. This is pathetic. 
    (people who fight in the courts for the rights of pedafiles should stay away from father daughter dances anyway).

  • njew84

    Honestly people, get over It. It’s not about the dance. It’s about the relationship and any activity a daughter has with her dad is special whether it be baseball or a dance!

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      … so why can’t the relationship between a son and mother be equally as special?

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Sure, but romanticizing the relationship seems problematic to me. And if this dance isn’t supposed to resemble a romantic activity, then why the school’s refusal to allow parents and children of both sexes to attend?

  • Bob Becker

    Well, gotta tell ya as a long time card carrying ACLU member, this one strikes me as a protest too far. Given limited resources and the need to select cases carefully by local groups, I’d have given this one a pass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

       all they did was send a letter, dude…

      • Sindigo

        But would they go to court if the school chose to fight it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

           That’s entirely dependant on if a student from the school wanted to sue. Just like with the prayer banner, the ACLU couldn’t sue unless someone from the school wanted to. If there was a boy at this school that wanted to attend a dance with his mother, and felt that a father-daughter dance with no equivalent for the boys was unfair per federal gender discrimination laws, then yes, they could go to court.

      • Grizzz

        Hey Larry – you and I agree most of the time, but having dealt with the ACLU on a church/state issue, there is actually a lot of resource behind a simple letter. Seriously, not peeing in your cornflakes, a “simple” letter is anything but with the ACLU.

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

           I don’t think anyone here is arguing that a father-daughter dance is a tremendous wrong that must be righted. I agree there are better issues the ACLU could be devoted time to, even if I don’t think sending this letter required much resources.

          However, that seems dismissive. People here are discussing whether the ACLU was right or wrong on this. Aside from whether it’s worth fighting for, is there a good point to be made that this is gender discrimination? I think it is. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t hold a parent/child dance, or a separate mother/son dance.

          • Grizzz

            Okay. I disagree on the gender thing, but that’s life! We don’t always agree!

      • Bob Becker

        The policy of most ACLU local groups I’m familiar with is to go to court only as a last resort.  The sending of a letter, pointing out what the organization believes to be unconstitutional practice, and suggesting ways to voluntarily rectify mattes is the usual first step. But it’s understood to be a first step, implying further steps, and ultimately a lawsuit if the school involved does not rectify matters voluntarily.  So more than “just a letter’ was implied.  Again, given limited resources, and having seen the kind of triage local ACLU groups go through routinely trying to select from a number of complaints that come in those it can most effectively expend limited resources on, those that will deliver [constitutionally speaking] the most “liberty” bang for the buck, I’d have let this one slide.   

  • Grizzz

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Really? This much hoohah over a non-issue?

    I love the ACLU but this one is too big a stretch. It is a dance. 

    What a waste of time, money and emotion.

    Let the dance go on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      The ACLU wasn’t preventing any dance from going on…

  • Tainda

    I’m closer to my dad than my brother is.  My dad and I bonded over me “helping” him fix the car.  I was always under foot when he was working outside.  I was his official flashlight holder.  My brother never even wanted to learn how to fix a car.  To this day, if my brother and I are over at our parents house and my dad is working outside, he will call me out there if he needs help.  I am and have always been a non-stereotypical girl.

    On that note, I don’t see anything wrong with father/daughter dances, just don’t do it on school time or make it parent/child dances.

  • Justin Miyundees

    I just checked the Creepmeter 2000.  A father daughter dance registers as Cree eee eeee eeeeepy!  I’ll have to check with Dr. Freud on the baseball game – rounding second with your mother fielding balls at short is bound to pique his interest.

  • Jean1

    I just have trouble with this cause I saw the hurt in children in my family.  All those Mother’s Day cards and gifts reminded my 6-year old motherless nephew that his mom was dead.  And the Girl Scout weekend of dads and scouts caused so much upset for my 9-year-old daughter cause her dad just walked out of her life. 

    If you have two parents in the house single sex events may be okay, but it hurts all those other kids who are not so lucky, kids with a missing parent, and they are usually hurting already.  What’s so bad about making it a family event?

    • Grizzz

      Too damn bad. When did we start thinking there is a right to not be offended or hurt by something?

      Singer’s Principle of Utility needs to be applied in situations like this – The greater good for the greater number.

      Fuck, when did it start making sense that just because someone feels a little hurt that common sense gets suspended. Guess what? The world is unfair. The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the better off you will be.

      • coyotenose

         The greater good for the greater number would be events inclusive of all family members then. Too damn bad for your argument.

    • Grizzz

      I am sad I do not have a 12″ d***, but I am not advocating for the suspension of the “Big D*** Dance” held each year at the Adult Entertainment Gala in Las Vegas each year. 

      Good fucking christ.

      • Drew M.

        I always suspected you were compensating for something.

        Reread Jean’s post. S/he’s advocating for a family event, not a father-daughter dance.

        • Grizzz

          no, she was not. Reading comprehension is not your thing?

          Jesus  fucking christ, how much pooper pain do you idiots go through at the mere mentioned of ANYTHING gender based?

          How many sexes are there? Is it a fact that there is a male and female sex? Is it not true there are mothers and fathers? So what is the big fucking deal in recognized certain types of relationships?

          This is just over the top. And the poster here was bitching about how some kids without a certain type (or both) types of parents will feel left out or hurt. Well guess what? Too bad. The world is not fair and we cannot try and make it so that everything, all the time is catered to.

          In this case there was a suitable alternate activity and yes, it is more common to see boys play baseball versus dance. This is a fact. Why are you so afraid of facts?

          You people are fucking looney, and not in the good way.

          • Drew M.

            Yup. Definitely compensating

            • Grizzz

              wow. That Doctorate from Google U really paid off! Could I schedule a follow up with you?

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I have two lesbian moms, and I remember when my Girl Scout troop held a father-daughter dance and a father-daughter baseball game.

      Honestly, neither of those events bothered me, or at least not for the reason most people would think. I thought the dance was creepy and opted not to attend even when it was explained that my uncle could take me. And I played in the baseball game, though I was a bit worried that someone would notice and point out that I shouldn’t be there. It wasn’t jealousy on my part, more of a sense that I didn’t want to be singled out for being different.

      While I do think schools and other organizations should try to be gender inclusive whenever possible, there are also instances when it seems to go a little too far. Banning Mother’s Day or Father’s Day seems a bit much to me. Children with single and same-sex parents do grow up in a world that’s filled with mother-father families, and, frankly, thinking that we’re so psychologically fragile that we need to be protected from that knowledge seems almost insulting. I was capable of handling the fact that Father’s Day existed. I didn’t need my teachers to pretend that it didn’t. As long as people don’t emphasize it to the point of making children feel left out, I think it’s fine. I remember making “Father’s Day projects” in art classes or day camps and simply coming home and giving them to my moms.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        But I do agree with your point about making it a “Family Dance.” I think holding gender-specific dances is old-fashioned and a tad creepy, in addition to leaving some children out for no good reason.

        • Grizzz

          So, if you call it a “family-dance” suddenly your idea that father-daughter dancing or mother-boy dancing is no longer romantic in overtones? Just a few posts above you are bemoaning the icky effect of such dances, but all of the sudden here, after a semantic shell-game takes place, everything is AOK and hunky dory? At least give some consistency, please.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            I didn’t say that. I said that if they were going to have a dance, then it should be a Family Dance, not one geared towards specific gender combinations. I still think that encouraging a romantic atmosphere (hearts, flowers, slow dancing) is inappropriate between all combinations of  parents and children. If it’s just a group of parents and kids doing the Hokey Pokey or Chicken Dance or Macarena, that’s different from an event that evokes the sense of parents and children being on a romantic date.

            • Grizzz

              Not sure I agree with you on this Anna, but, that is how it goes. Sometimes we just disagree (on my gawd, am I Dave Mason here?)

              Anyway, my best friend and her girlfriend just had their first child and I know they are going to be rocking parents! 

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                No problem agreeing to disagree. Congrats to your friends on their new baby!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I just really want to know why the idea of a mother-son dance is so hideously offensive that they would rather cut the father/daughter dance than allow an event where mothers dance with their sons. Or sons dance with their fathers. Or daughters dance with their mothers. Why does it strictly have to be father-daughter dancing, and no other dancing between parent and child?

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Easy solution: mixed-gender parent-child dance. Problem solved! Was that so difficult? Every time somebody in Rhode Island is told they can’t discriminate, they make it about something else entirely (banned! because it’s unfair to some! religious persecution!) just to rile up other people. And they are sooo easily duped by what I call the Talking Dead… the brain-dead zombies who want to infect others with their ignorance, turning them into idiotic zombies as well.

  • brianmacker

    Funny thing is that liberals seem to have no issues with “bring your daughter to work day”.

    • Tainda

      Actually that was changed to bring your CHILD to work day.

      Next inane argument.

      • brianmacker

        Funny, wasn’t meant to be an argument. Just pointing out the hypocrisy that is typical of the left. So what if they changed it after their hypocrisy was exposed? They were still hypocrites in the first place. We still have women in technology days, and girls in technology programs, but no men in technology days, nor boys in technology programs, so the hypocrisy continues. Maybe the inanity was between your ears.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    *tells about non-traditional self, qualifying self for next statement*

    *expresses dislike of ACLU action, having been qualified above by being atypical in regards to gender roles*

  • Gunstargreen

    Really is it so hard to make the dance a father/daughter + mother/son dance? What the crap is the problem?

    It’s amazing how fired up they can get over problems that have such simple solutions. No wonder people in government can’t solve any actual issues.

  • Kim

    I’m Canadian and father-daughter dances are not common here. Who wants to dance with their dad? That’s just awkward.

    • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Edgar

       It’s almost like incest!

  • SJH

    Maybe they can also have a mother/son dance but what about the only children with single moms or single dads? Will they also have to have a mother/daughter dance? Or a Father/son dance? My understanding is that this started because a woman complained that her daughter did not have a dance to go to. This is silly and exactly why the federal government is over reaching. Are we really saying the the federal government has the power to determine whether or not a city/state, public school can have a particular type of dance?I understand that the feds are not completely in charge here but does the federal law really apply to a local public school’s dances? Absolutely silly.

  • Alan E.

    Mother-Boy Ball

  • smrnda

    Schools have a responsibility to be maximally inclusive. They also have a responsibility not to offer boys and girls events based on gender stereotypes from the 1950s.

    • brianmacker

      What if it’s a sock hop?

  • Jon Peterson

    I agree with the principle, but not with the outcome. I think it should be fine to offer a “Father-Daughter dance”, keeping the name on tradition… as long as (it’s made well known that) any parent-child pair is welcome to attend.

  • Grizzz

    Be honest here-

    How would the general poster response here be if the dance was “Gay Daughter and Father” dance? Or “Transgender and Mother” dance? Or”gay child and parent dance”?

    You would not have the same vociferous reactions. You would say WOW, how wonderful and progressive. Yet, it would still be a discriminatory practice. The thing is, I would support them for sure, but I also think a father-daughter dance is freaking fine and hunky dory!

    I just think there is an unspoken level of double standard in here, and that is troublesome.

    • Deven Kale

       I think the reason that you would see such a different reaction is that, because of their obvious desire to be inclusive by having such a dance, it seems a safe assumption that there would be other equally selective dances for those who fit into all the other categories.

      Then again, this is just another hypothetical situation with very few specifics and so it’s quite likely that both of us are completely wrong about the outcome of such a post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    The people saying “Well sometimes life is not fair” are probably the same ones getting all up and arms if a cross is taken off of public property.

  • http://twitter.com/mjparme Michael Parmeley

    I have been a long time reader of this blog and I must say this is the first time I just 100% disagree with an entire post. The fact that a father-daughter dance violates federal law means that law is ludicrous. Surely that wasn’t the intent of the mentioned anti-discrimination law?

    I see no reason to mock the people that are upset, if I lived there I would be upset! This is government out of control. The ACLU’s stance here is just totally mind -boggingly ridiculous. (and I am a long time supporter of the ACLU and will continue to be).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Austin-Carnes/1034156402 Austin Carnes

    It’s one thing to fight religious promotion in public schools, but father-daughter dances? That’s just asinine. 

  • CanadianNihilist

    I find the whole mother son/daddy daughter dance concept creepy.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    What’s with American society’s insistence on romanticizing father-daughter relationships? It’s everywhere, from sweetheart dances and dates, to the idea that men should react with jealousy and overprotectiveness when their daughters start having boyfriends.

    Why do people think it’s “cute” for men to behave this way with their daughters? If they acted this way with their sons, it would be considered beyond creepy. Can you imagine a school holding a father-son dance? Or anyone telling fathers they should take their little boys out on dates? Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think a parent-child relationship should even remotely resemble the kind of relationship one would have with a lover.

    • brianmacker

      Men tend to be the protectors of families because they are physically larger. The police cannot be everywhere. The reality is that men dominate in the policing of behavior that would tend to protect the daughters from again males. That’s the reality, and it would be even a bigger reality if guns didn’t exist.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        Well, that’s the problem. It’s all based on gender stereotypes. Women are encouraged to view men as protectors. Obviously, adults need to protect children, but this idea that men need to protect their teenage daughters (and not their sons) from sexuality is troubling, creepy, and possessive. There is no reason for a father to be interested in what his daughter does sexually. Both parents need to make sure that she is educated and knows how to protect herself when it comes to pregnancy and disease, but beyond that, a teenage girl does not need her father involved in her love life.

        Girls and women need to be strong and capable of taking care of themselves, and not expect their daddies or husbands to take of them. I’m a grown woman. I’m in a heterosexual relationship, but I don’t expect my partner to protect me. I see him as an equal, not an authority figure. He doesn’t need to police my behavior, and I would never want him to police the behavior of our future daughters.

  • brianmacker

    just make it an all inclusive parent or guardian/child dance and be done with it. Most boys won’t show up and it will end up a father/daughter or mother/daughter dance anyway.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    So, um, why not have a non-gender-specific parent-child event, and hold events of various kinds, like one time a baseball game, another time a dance/party/social get-together type thing, or a movie night or a pot-luck type gathering or, or, well, anything you can think of that’s fun and kid-friendly?

  • Annaigaw

    Father-daughter dances, bleh! When I was young, we had dances starting in junior high and we did NOT take our parents. boys and girls learned to navigate the complicated world of relationships and took one another. What is it today that parents have to do everything with or for their kids. Parents – get your own damn life and let your kids grow up and learn about it all in their own way. Life is complicated when you are young, it is messy and sometimes mean and we all learned how to get by, navigate the complications and learn from our mistakes.

    Anna above was right, it does have romantic connotations and i think it smacks of the biblical ideas of daughters as property (both sexually and maternally).

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Thanks, yes, I think it’s the same side of the coin. Fathers acting out heterosexual courtship rituals with their daughters seems not far removed from the sort of thinking that encourages men to be overly interested in their daughters’ sexuality. Obviously, the “purity” movement takes it to much creepier levels, saying that fathers need to control their daughters’ bodies and ensure their virginity. Those men consider their daughters property, but the same idea is present in mainstream culture as well. Look at any sitcom with a teenage daughter. Watch how the father reacts to the issue of boyfriends, first sexual experiences, etc. Listen to the sorts of jokes that are considered acceptable, ie: threatening boys with shotguns, etc. None of this heightened sense of possesssiveness or jealousy is present in the other parent-child combinations.

      • Antinomian

        WTF…. Are you serious?

        I went to a couple of my daughter’s Dad/Daughter dances. In fact she asked me. There was nothing romantic or sexual about it.

         In fact it’s people like you who creep me out. You see, I adopted my wife’s daughter and made her my own. She’s 27 now and I’m still Dad.
        But, while she was growing up I always had to deal with the undertones of people like you who whispered that “stepfathers molest their stepdaughters”. For fucks sake I chose the responsibility that her biological father discarded and I gave her my name and the benefits that go with it, She is my daughter.

        Your dirty little mind can’t see that a man can love his daughter without sex having anything to do with said love.

        For the record, once she was 14 I talked with her and told her that her body was hers and hers alone to decide when she was ready for sex. I made condoms and birth control pills available, no questions asked.

        I still take her out on her birthday and we still dance.

        As to “None of this heightened sense of possesssiveness or jealousy is present in the other parent-child combinations.”

        You’ve obviously never met a ‘mama’s boy’, adolescent or adult.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          You’re completely missing my point. I did not accuse the men involved in father-daughter dances of latent incest, nor did I imply that such men are more likely to behave inappropriately with their daughters.

          I’m looking at this from a larger, cultural point of view. There is something in American culture (and probably other Western cultures) that emphasizes what seems, IMO, to be an inappropriate and heightened sense of overprotective possessiveness in the father-daughter relationship. There are jokes about not allowing boys to come near their daughters, to running them off with guns, to threatening their lives if they dare to have sex. This is common in mainstream culture. 

          And it’s not present in the mother-son relationship. The culture doesn’t portray even the biggest “mama’s boy” as having a mother who is intimately interested in preventing him from having sexual experiences, to preventing him from dating, to threatening violence towards any woman who might want to have sex with him. It just doesn’t happen. You would never see a sitcom titled 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Son, but there is a show by that name featuring a daughter.

          None of this means that individual fathers have untoward intentions toward their daughters. Of course the vast majority of men would never dream of committing incest. But there is an overwhelming sense that’s it’s normal for a daughter’s emerging sexuality to make her father feel uncomfortable, and that it’s normal for a father to try to control her actions, either jokingly (“that boy better not touch a hair on my daughter’s head!”) or seriously, as in the evangelical movement’s attempts to make girls pledge their virginities to their fathers.

          And if you didn’t do that, then wonderful! I think society needs more fathers like you. But I would hope that you would call out men who have the mindset that they need to prevent their daughters from experiencing sexuality, rather than deny that this mindset exists.

  • Greisha

    I have only one think to say – pick your battles.  While technically it is discrimination, considering limited resources and abundance of much more important problems this whole story seems ridicules to me.


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