Blog Post

Father-Daughter Dances No Longer PC?

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A Staten-Island grade school has become the laughing stock of the country after it cancelled its annual father-daughter dance because it is not inclusive enough of transgenders and those who are gender nonconforming.

The New York Post reported on the dust-up which occurred at PS65 where school officials decided to scrap the father-daughter dance because of new Department of Education guidelines which direct schools to eliminate any “gender-based” practices such as the dance unless they serve a “clear” educational purpose.

“Until we understand what we are legally permitted to do, we need to table this event,” the school’s PTA president Toni Bennett wrote to a private school-parents group on Facebook.

According to CBS2, the principal of the school , Sophie Scamardella, is hiding under her desk and refusing requests for interviews.

However, she did send a letter to parents which has been described as “confusing” in which she said the dance, which was scheduled for this Friday, was postponed until sometime in March because they wanted to find a bigger venue to fit everyone who will be invited.

“The DOE . . . has strict guidelines about how we present information,” Scamardella wrote. “They have a ‘gender neutral’ policy that must be adhered to at all times.”

Some parents “have taken to Facebook to challenge this ruling,” she added, but “there is no challenge.”

LGBT activists were delighted with this decision.

“Father-daughter dances inherently leave people out. Not just because of transgender status, just life in general,” said Jared Fox, the DOE’s LGBT community liaison. “These can be really uncomfortable and triggering events.”

He added: “For a young trans girl, to be able to go to a father-daughter dance can feel very affirming because in this instance she’s recognized as a daughter.”

Schools are allowed to hold father-daughter dances, he said, “as long as there’s messaging that they’re inclusive to everybody.”

Parents reacted with fury to what they see as political correctness run amok.

“All this gender crap needs to just stop,” mom Akaia Cameron told the Post.

“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,” said Matthew West, a 32-year-old father of two daughters. “They should leave it the way it was — father-daughter, mother-son.”

Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America told Fox News' Todd Starnes that she was heartbroken and deeply concerned by the cancellation.

“It’s not in anyone’s best interest to throw a wet blanket on any kind of a program in which schools are trying to strengthen the father-daughter relationship The people that are hurt by this are young women,” Nance said.

“The whole point of that was to teach her how she was supposed to be treated -- what it feels like to have a man honor you and give you respect and open a door for you and show you love and kindness. I am so grateful for those times between my daughter and my husband. I want that for every single young woman in this country.”

According to Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins, there was no reason to take such a radical stand because PS65 already had a very inclusive dance planned that allowed mothers and other mentors to take part.

“That didn't matter to Scamardella. In her mind (and the mind of most liberals), the worst thing schools can do is let kids in on the secret that some students have men for fathers -- a shocking concept, I'm sure, to the modern human race. As an educator, surely Scamardella is aware that not a single person on planet earth has ever existed without a mother and father -- no matter what they call themselves now. But this is public education, unfortunately, where ‘feelings’ are the new science,” Perkins said.

“What's next,” he asks, “outlawing Mother's Day and Father's Day? We're letting a small segment of society -- .6 percent! -- dictate the terms of our conversation and, more alarming, how we raise our kids.”

Fortunately, other schools in the area are not following the lead of PS65.

“At PS 30 and 83, a dance ‘to celebrate your little girl and the father figure in her life’ will go on,” Perkins reports. “And at PS 232 in Queens, the Daddy-Daughter Dance already happened. The Bronx is even going so far as to plan and ‘Mother/Daughter Spa Night’ in April. Alert the PC police!”

Schools should do everything they can to support healthy parent-child relationships, not cause uproars like this which some children may interpret to mean there’s something wrong with a healthy relationship between a father and daughter or mother and son.

We can only hope that the avalanche of negative publicity this decision brought to PS65 has already convinced other school administrators that in spite of the radical elements at play in our culture today, political correctness still has some limits.

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