In an effort to “promote kindness,” the leaders at Kanesville Elementary developed a rule that prevents students from declining when they are asked to dance at school functions. On the brink of the Valentine’s Day dance, the Ogden, Utah school introduced the rule to their 11 and 12-year-olds so that no student felt left out during the festivities.
The longstanding rule may have been based in good intentions, but one parent’s outrage is challenging it and pointing out the adverse effects. According to the mom of a female student, taking away young girls’ choice in who to dance with sends a terrible message to them as well as their male counterparts.
When Utah native Natalie Richard’s daughter shared the school’s rule with her, Richard thought it was merely a misunderstanding. The mom met with the teacher only to find that her sixth grade daughter hadn’t misunderstood anything.
“The teacher said she can’t. She has to say yes. She has to accept, and I said, ‘Excuse me’,” Richard told Fox 13.
Following the meeting her daughter’s teacher, Richard scheduled a meeting with Kanesville Elementary’s principal. That meeting was just as disappointing as the last, as the principal confirmed that the rule falls in line with how their school functions are organized. “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,” she said of principal’s response.
More than that, Lane Findlay, community relations specialist with the Weber School District, supported Kanesville Elementary — which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
After saying that disallowing students to decline to dance with a person is an actual rule, Findlay said that its purpose is to encourage inclusiveness among students. “Please be respectful, be polite,” Findlay said. “We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance.”
According to the school, their administration makes an effort to make students feel comfortable Before the dance, students are given cards to fill out, giving them a space to choose five people they would like to dance with. The elementary school’s leaders hold that if there’s anyone on the card that makes a student feel uneasy, they are prompted to speak up.
“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,” Findlay added.
As Richard — alongside several Facebook users who caught wind of the story — pointed out, this rule “sends a bad message” to students and to female students in particular. As far as numerous parents are considered, taking away a girl’s option to say “no” tells them that they must always say “yes” to boys.
“It sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say ‘yes’; sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say ‘no,’” Richard explained. “Psychologically, my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can’t say ‘no’ to a boy.
“That’s the message kids are getting,” she added.
Concerned Facebook users chimed in after Fox 18 posted the story to their Facebook wall. “I think it is ridiculous. It teaches kids they don’t have a choice over their personal space and their own comfort,” user Murray J Meents wrote. User Michael Russell added, “Teachers must say yes to a pay cut.”
As of now, the rule stands. What do you think of the elementary school’s rule? Tell us your thoughts in the comments and SHARE this article.