Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Father/Daughter Dance Discriminatory?

In a story out of Cranston, Rhode Island, father/daughter and mother/son evens (such as dances) have  been banned in the Cranston public school system.  The reason behind the ban is a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a single mother whose daughter could not attend the dance.  Although federal anti-discrimination laws make exceptions for things like dances, Rhode Island state law apparently does not and, in fact, explicitly bans “sex discrimination... 'in any and all school functions and activities.'"

Now, as much as I can sympathize with a single mother who wants her child to be included even though the child's father is not there, why would someone want to prohibit all the other fathers and daughters from enjoying an evening together?  Would that single mother feel the same way if her son invited her to a mother/son dance?  And how would she feel if she was getting ready to take her son to said dance and the school said "Sorry - we can't hold the dance because a father whose son has no mother can't go so you can't either?"  It's  certainly "fair" but is it right?

It seems some people these days just don't want anyone to be happy or have something special if they can't have it too.  And because of that they don't want anyone to have what they don't have.  In my life I've been a single father.  I never would have imagined trying to prevent someone from having a fun evening with their child simply because I didn't qualify for that particular event.  But then - I don't think like that mother in Rhode Island or the ACLU.

Life isn't fair.  No matter what some people think, some politicians want to say, what the ACLU does - at the end of the day life is still not fair or equitable for everyone. 

Steven Brown of the Rhode Island ACLU told the local news channel “This is 2012 and they [public schools] should not be in the business of fostering blatant gender stereotypes.”

Scientific research on child behavior has proved that the absence of a father in a child's life can be the cause of many behavioral and emotional development problems.  And before anyone starts in on me read it again - I said "can".  I'm not going to get into the gay parenting thing - that's not the purpose of this post.  My point is that denying gender roles in heterosexual families is just as wrong as the "blatant gender stereotypes" Brown appears to be talking about.  Why deny children of straight parents (and those who are both still around) the opportunity to enjoy that?  If they're so inclined to destroy gender stereotypes, rather than prohibit events like this why doesn't someone promote a gender ambiguous event or a single mothers' event or a homosexual parents'  event.  No - that would allow the old fashioned family to continue doing what they see as normal.  We can't have that now, can we?

The bottom line here is that, in my humble opinion, banning a father/daughter dance to promote gender identity equality, particularly when  only one person complains about it, is ridiculous.  Even in 2012, the ACLU should not prevent an event that helps parents and children bond.  Most daughters in the country have fathers.  (And biologically they all do.)  Most sons have mothers.  (Same biological stats.)  The ACLU thinks the special status between parents and children should only count if everyone is happy.  As I said - life isn't fair.  Sometimes you just don't get what you want.  Sometimes your kid doesn't get what they want.  That's reality.

Life will never be legislated into fairness for everyone.  It simply cannot be done.

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