Parents are outraged after a New York City elementary school canceled its father-daughter dance Friday over concerns the event would not be “gender inclusive.”
The Staten Island public school, PS 65, canceled the event over concerns that it would not follow the Department of Education’s Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines requiring school events to be more “gender inclusive,” the New York Post reported.
The Department of Education introduced the guidelines in a March 2017 policy update, declaring that schools must eliminate “gender-based” activities unless they have a “clear” educational purpose.
“Until we understand what we are legally permitted to do, we need to table this event,” PTA president Toni Bennett wrote to a private school-parents group on Facebook.
Parents at the school were outraged after finding out that the three-year tradition at the school was going to be scrapped.
“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 father Matthew West, 32, a parent of two daughters at the school. “They should leave it the way it was—father-daughter, mother-son.”
West added that the culture of political correctness is causing parents who disagree with the guidelines to be afraid to speak out against them.
“I hate it … people are just becoming too scared to talk,” he said.
“All this gender crap needs to just stop,” said mom Akaia Cameron, who added that her daughter had a “great time” with her father at last year’s dance.
The cancellation gained so much attention that Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about how the school’s decision to ban the father-daughter dance is political correctness gone out of control:
If this doesn’t convince you that the PC/SJW movement has lots their minds I don’t know what will. This nonsense really needs to stop. https://t.co/VhyGDRTFnt
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 4, 2018
Jared Fox, the Department of Education’s LGBT community liaison, said that there is no policy that explicitly bans father-daughter dances and that the department reviews events on a case-by-case basis. But he added that sometimes gender-exclusionary events can leave people feeling left out.
“Father-daughter dances inherently leave people out. Not just because of transgender status, just life in general,” said Jared Fox, the Department of Education’s LGBT community liaison. “These can be really uncomfortable and triggering events.”
Fox said that schools are allowed to hold father-daughter dances, as long as the messaging promoting the event is “inclusive.”
“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,” he said.
The Department of Education announced that PS 65’s PTA would hold a rescheduled dance for children and caregivers regardless of gender on March 2.