By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
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.” So now, public school educrats are making decisions so as not to “trigger” less than 1/10 of 1% of the population.
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 Postreported.
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. So how do they plan to have Moms and Dads meet with teachers? Isn’t that “gender-based.”
The DOE ordered schools to “eliminate” any “gender-based” practices like the dance in a March 2017 policy update unless they serve a “clear” educational purpose.
The PS 65 shindig, set for Feb. 9, was abruptly postponed until next month after the school’s PTA realized the dance would run afoul of the rules.
“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.
Some parents were hopping mad at what they saw as political correctness intruding on a quaint tradition, now in its third year.
“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 at the school, Lily and Willow. “They should leave it the way it was — father-daughter, mother-son.”
Of PC culture, he said, “I hate it . . . People are just becoming too scared to talk.”
“It’s not fair at all,” said Jose Garcia, 37, who’s gone to the past two dances with his 9-year-old daughter, Jolene. “I have nothing against no one but I don’t think that it should affect the school, or the kids for that matter.”
A disappointed Jolene said, “They had a dance party. We got to wear dresses and hang out with our friends.”
“All this gender crap needs to just stop,” said mom Akaia Cameron, who added that her third-grader had a “great time” with dad last year.
Parents pointed out PS 65 has no gender-inequality issues, because the Stapleton school had a mother-son bowling event last year.
The school’s PTA will stage a rescheduled dance for kids and caregivers of any gender on March 2, according to the DOE.
Bennett told The Post the PTA will change the annual “Father/Best Guy & Daughter Dance” to a more inclusive theme.
Principal Sophie Scamardella instructed the PTA to change the event “to ensure all students and families were welcome to attend,” DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said.
“We have clear guidelines in place that require school-related events to be inclusive of all students,” Barbot said.
Still, while the PTA president was pointing to gender policies, the principal announced in a confusing letter to befuddled parents on Wednesday that the dance was postponed because Bennett “wanted to host it at a bigger venue.”
“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.”
The DOE’s new Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines, issued last March, were behind the change, and not any parental complaint, according to Bennett.
“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.”
But Fox said there’s no DOE policy explicitly banning father-daughter dances. Events are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
“I’m really hard-pressed to put a moratorium on anything,” he said.
Ironically, 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, Fox said, “as long as there’s messaging that they’re inclusive to everybody.”
While PS 65 adheres to new gender-neutral guidelines, other schools don’t.
PS 30, also on Staten Island, has already planned a pricey dance “to celebrate your little girl and the father figure in her life,” according to a flyer for the April 14 event. Tickets for couples cost $100.
PS 232 Lindenwood, in Queens, had a “Daddy Daughter Dance” on Thursday night, according to a school calendar. PS 83 in The Bronx plans a “Father/Daughter Dance” on June 6, as well as a May 19 “Mother and Son Field Day” and a “Mother/Daughter Spa Night” on April 27.
“People are uncomfortable with change,” Bennett said. “It’s a new policy and, let’s face facts, there are many schools that ignore it.” Yes, people are uncomfortable with change, especially if the change is pointless and idiotic.