Cranston, RI – A complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) put an end to father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames at Cranston schools. The ACLU rallied against the district after a single mother contacted the agency because she felt her daughter was excluded from going to the dance since she had no dad in her life. District Superintendent Judith Lundsten announced that the long-standing events would not be sponsored by the school anymore, in order to comply with a state gender discrimination law.
While the ACLU may be thrilled with the removal of the dance and the ballgame from the district calendar, not all local residents are pleased. Mayor Allan Fung stated he was utterly disappointed with the educational facility’s response to the complaint and feels district officials caved into political correctness, according to WWLTV.
In a letter sent to school organizations, Superintendent Lundsten had this to say:
“I acknowledge that many of these events have long traditions and for many parents, these types of gender-based events are not an issue. However, this is a public school system and under no circumstances should be isolating any child from full participation in school activities and events based on gender. Please be all-inclusive when planning your events.”
School Committee member Andrea Iannazzi said the committee is going to consider sending a resolution to the Rhode Island General Assembly asking them to change the state statute and allow such events in the future.
According to Associated Press interview excerpts republished by the Providence Journal, ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown commends the district for making what he considers the right choice in banning the father-daughter dance and mother-son ballgame. Brown also believes such activities played into gender stereotypes. He added that not all girls enjoy dancing and not every boy is a baseball fan. Earlier this year the American Civil Liberties Union battled with the same district over a prayer banner.