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School faces backlash for canceling father-daughter dance to follow gender guidelines

Elise Solé

A New York elementary school is feeling the burn — including from Donald Trump Jr. — for canceling a father-daughter dance to adhere to state gender guidelines.

P.S. 65 in Staten Island, N.Y., scheduled its “Father/Best Guy & Daughter Dance” for Feb. 9. However, it was suddenly axed, according to the New York Post, when the Parent-Teacher Association became concerned that it violated gender guidelines established by the New York City Department of Education in March 2017.

Per the guidelines, “Gender-based policies, rules, and practices can have the effect of marginalizing, stigmatizing, stereotyping and excluding students, whether or not they are transgender or gender nonconforming.”

A New York elementary school canceled a father-daughter dance due to concern it violated gender guidelines. (Photo: Getty Images)

The statement further read, “For these reasons, schools should review such policies, rules and practices, and should eliminate any that do not serve a clear pedagogical purpose. Examples may include such practices as gender-based graduation gowns, lines, and/or attire for yearbook pictures. Students must be permitted to participate in all school activities (e.g., overnight field trips) in accordance with their gender identity consistently asserted at school.”

According to the Post, PTA president Toni Bennett wrote in a private community Facebook group, “Until we understand what we are legally permitted to do, we need to table this event.”

But the backlash to canceling the event was fierce, including from Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted, “If this doesn’t convince you that the PC/SJW [Social Justice Warrior] movement has lost their minds, I don’t know what will. This nonsense really needs to stop…”






“They’re trying to take away everything that everybody grew up on and has come to know and I don’t think it’s fair or right,” father Matthew West told the New York Post. “They should leave it the way it was — father-daughter, mother-son.”

“It’s not fair at all,” Jose Garcia, also told the publication. “I have nothing against no one but I don’t think that it should affect the school or the kids for that matter.”

And mom Akaia Cameron said, “All this gender crap needs to just stop.”

Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach a representative from P.S. 65 or the Department of Education for comment.

Activities that divide children based on sex or gender are problematic, especially given new research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, which found that more children are identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming.

“Gender-based activities are rooted in old-fashioned gender stereotypes,” Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “For example, father-daughter dances exclude children raised by single moms, lesbian couples, a grandmother, or who otherwise don’t have male figures in their lives.”

Under Title IX, a federal law that prevents discrimination in an educational program based on a person’s sex, father-daughter dances are permitted, as long as there is also a dance for mothers and sons. “But it’s very difficult for schools to prove why they need to separate boys and girls in the first place,” says Lapidus. “You’ll also see schools that throw father-daughter dances and mother-son baseball games, which enforce stereotypes that girls like to dress up in frilly dresses and boys like sports.”

Adds Lapidus: “These father-daughter dances are a throwback to the 1950s nuclear family, and don’t at all address the realities of diverse families.”

The Post reports that P.S. 65 is rescheduling the father-daughter dance for March 2 and will welcome “kids and caregivers of any gender.”

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