Blog Post

NJ School Forced to Cancel “Cross Dressing” Fashion Show

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist A New Jersey elementary school was forced by irate parents to cancel a fashion show in which all girls and boys were expected to dress in women’s clothing to celebrate women’s history month. Fox News is reporting that the fashion show, scheduled for this Friday at Maude Wilkins Elementary School in the Maple Shade School District of Burlington County, New Jersey, was set up as a contest to celebrate women's history month. According to the school's principal, Beth F. Norcia, the purpose was to have children dress up as women through various periods of American history.  The trouble started with a 16-page packet sent home with students by teacher Tonya Uibel informing parents that all students in her third grade class would have to participate in the activity, since it would be graded as an "end of unit" assignment. The packet contained suggestions of how students may dress, including fashions from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s like bellbottoms, poodle skirts and cheerleader outfits. Photographs of fashion icons like Twiggy and Madonna were also included. "If your child is a young man, he does not have to wear a dress or skirt, as there are many time periods where women wore jeans, pants and trousers,” she wrote. “However, each child must be able to express what time period their outfit is from. Most of all, your child should have fun creating their outfit and learning about how women's clothing has changed!" One parent, Janine Giandomenico, told she contacted Uibel after her nine year-old son came home "in tears" after getting the assignment. "My son was very upset. He said, 'Mommy, please don't make me do this'," Mrs. Giandomenico said. Because her son has a social interaction disorder known as Asperger's syndrome, she was afraid he would expose himself to ridicule from other students if he participated in the show. "My husband and I are very open-minded, but this is a decision for my son to make when he's old enough to understand it," Mrs. Giandomenico said. "I thought it was wrong. I felt like I had to say something." She also said she found it "very odd" that the event was scheduled to coincide with an anti-bullying "Day of Silence" organized by the gay activist group GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) which calls for students to remain silent during class to protest the abuse of gay students. On her Facebook page, Mrs. Giandomenico says she has always given the Maple Shade School District high grades for the work they do with children in spite of their increasingly political correct agenda. “Because of that, I have overlooked the Politically-Correct-insanity that has changed 'St. Patricks Day' to 'Leprechaun Day', and Christmas to 'Winter Holiday', or 'Good Friday' to 'Spring Day'. . . but now they’ve gone too far!” As a result of the outrage, the principal sent a letter home to parents announcing the cancellation of the show and apologizing for "any confusion or frustration" the assignment may have caused. In a thinly veiled attempt to cover up the motives behind the show, Ms. Norcia wrote: "I wanted to clear up any misconceptions about the clothing show. It was never our intention to have boys dress up as women. There are many different time periods that had women and men dressing in pants, suits, and even sweat suits. Students were just asked to dress as a time period, not as a woman. The children were then being asked to identify their time period of dress." However, the original letter did indeed direct students – both male and female – to dress like women. The only distinction made was for boys who did not want to wear skirts to choose an era when women wore pants, but they were still expected to represent “women’s fashion.” Maple Shade Township School Superintendent Michael Livengood told Fox News the whole incident was a misunderstanding. "I wish the letter had been clearer and had been worded differently," he said in reference to the original letter sent home to parents. "But it was a misunderstanding. It was meant to demonstrate students' awareness in women's roles, and along with that, their changes in fashion over time." Schoolchildren are now being asked to draw pictures of women’s fashions instead. Another parent, Warner Todd Huston comments on the blog, Publius Forum: “How is dressing like a woman from any era going to teach him about history? Why not let him do a report, poster, or other project on this subject? . . . My son is adamantly opposed, and I don’t see how forcing my nine year-old to cross-dress in front of the entire school body is going to teach him anything about Women’s History. “ . . . Forcing grade school boys to dress up as women makes no sense whatever. Pushing the gay agenda while feminizing our young boys through a cross-dressing day? This isn’t your parent’s grade school celebration, for sure. And people wonder why homeschooling is growing so fast. Stuff like this most certainly should answer that question.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®