Natalie Richard was sure her sixth grade daughter misunderstood the rules for her Utah elementary school's upcoming Valentines Day dance. Her daughter told her “I can’t say 'no' to a boy,” if he asks me to dance. The mom said “That’s not how it is.”
Thinking her daughter was confused, the mom spoke to her child's teacher at Kanesville Elementary School in West Haven about telling a boy no, KTSU reports. Richard said:
“The teacher said she can’t. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said, 'Excuse me.”
Richard went to speak to the school principal about the policy. And got the same answer. She said:
“He basically just said they’ve had this dance set up this way for a long time and they’ve never had any concern before.”
Lane Findlay with the Weber School District told KTSU that the rule is in place to teach students how to be inclusive.
“Please be respectful, be polite. We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance."
While Richard said she understood the positive side of making everyone feel included, she doesn't think making kids dance with each other is the way to go about it. The mom said:
“I do see it from their perspective when it comes to that, but there are many other ways to teach children how to be accepting than with a social dance.”
She added that the rule seemed to confuse her daughter, and the mom fears the impact the rule will have on the girls and boys in the future:
“Psychologically, my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can’t say 'no' to a boy. That’s the message kids are getting. Sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say 'yes'; sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say 'no.'"
Students are asked to fill out a card with the names of five people they want to dance with at the voluntary school function, but they are expected to say yes to everyone.
Although the children are told not to say no, the administration suggests kids speak up if they don't feel comfortable dancing with someone else.
“If there is an issue, if there’s students that are uncomfortable or have a problem with another student, I mean: that’s certainly something that can be addressed with that student and parents.”
Richard's concerns were not enough to get the rule dropped, but the school is now sending out a detailed permission slip as she requested.
What do you think: Is the school sending the wrong message, or are they trying to teach children how to be kind to others?