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ACLU: Not Every Girl wants to be Cinderella

Steve Brown of the ACLU said the father-daughter dance issue is old news, resolved four months ago when the school district "recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal

Steven Brown, director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the father-daughter dance ban isn't about state law versus federal law regarding gender discrimination in schools.

"The school district was fostering blatant stereotypes that are not allowable in this day in age," Brown said in a telephone interview.

"Arranging for a dance for girls to go to and a ballgame for boys to go is a tradition that may have worked in the 1950s but it doesn't necessarily play out the same in 2012," Brown said.

"Not every girl wants to grow up to be Cinderella," Brown said. "Some might actually more enjoy playing baseball. But these types of stereotyped events promote an opposite impression. It's Ozzie and Harriet stuff. It shouldn't be happening in this century."

The ACLU wrote a letter to the school district about the father-daughter dances after a parent contacted them. The parent reportedly was upset that her child couldn't go to the dance and was unhappy with alternatives the district offered her.

The district implemented the ban about four months ago and the matter was deemed resolved at that time, Brown said. 

“The controversy that has suddenly arisen in a political campaign over father-daughter dances in Cranston is old news – the matter was amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago. And it was resolved for a simple reason: the school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of “girl” and “boy” activities and is contrary to federal law."

Brown said it's not true that federal Title IX rules makes a clear exception for father-daughter dances. Any gender-specific event must have something "legally comparable" and a dance and baseball game do not meet that standard.

Brown said he has never attended a father-daughter dance. His daughter has grown up. And if there was a father-daughter dance?

"She would have complained and wanted to go to the baseball game."

Read more on the father-daughter dance ban:

Mayor: "Utterly Disappointed" with Father-Daughter Dance Ban, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"mayor-utterly-disappointed-with-father-daughter-dance-ban"} -->

Melissa Cote September 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Not every girl wants to be Cinderella. That is true. They should choose not to attend the dance, which at our school is called "Ladies' Choice" dance. If they want to go to a baseball game instead, who is stopping them? Instead of running to the ACLU, maybe this parent with the complaint should have gone to a PTA meeting with some suggestions of other activities that could be held in addition to the dance, but not banning the dance. What is next? Maybe some girls want to play football. Should we ban football teams at the high school level? This is ridiculous. Cranston parents are outraged and are not going to just silently accept this decision.
Marc Nouman September 18, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Because Steve Brown's daughter knows what an embarrasment he really is so she doesn't want to be seen with him around her friends. What a coward you are Mr. Brown!
Margaret Ormond September 18, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Steve Brown needs to SHUT-UP and sit down. Enough of the "Politically Correct CRAP". Let the city, state and world be at peace.
David Genest September 18, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I agree. No one is forcing ANYONE to go to the dance. Too bad we are setting rules for the minority!!
Lisa DiRaimo September 18, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I can't even believe I'm reading this. It's ridiculous kids are being bullied, after school programs being cut, music taken away and some people are concerned about a dance and who should be able to go? REALLY? It should just be made a choice plain and simple...if you want to go you go if not stay home.
nicole fine September 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM
OK, so Cranston has found itself once again in the crosshairs of the ACLU. How many other districts in the state have mother/son father/daughter events? I am VERY curious to see if the ACLU has set their sites on those cities/towns.
RIresident September 18, 2012 at 08:03 PM
So the 'family dance' will probably be mostly girls and dads anyway. I really still don't see how Ladies' choice or Gentlemen's choice violates the law. We have to stop making boys and girls all the same. There is a reason why the girls dance has a bigger attendance than the boy's dance - more girls are into the dressing up. Not all, of course, but many of them. Otherwise, it would not be successful and it would end. Of course girls also go to baseball games, so offer both! I have defended the ACLU for years, but it's becoming harder to do that.
Mary September 18, 2012 at 08:32 PM
So you're basically saying that hundreds of girls will be UN-happy just for one girl?? There should be a group created called the OALU. The "Original Americans Liberties Union"
Don R September 18, 2012 at 09:31 PM
"Not every girl wants to grow up to be Cinderella." And running a father-daughter suggests that how exactly? Another classic non sequitur from one of Rhode Island's great all-time twits.
RIresident September 19, 2012 at 01:32 AM
The article states that the parent's child couldn't go to the dance. But, I read somwhere that she did go, with a relative. Which is it?
Ed Lowell September 19, 2012 at 02:18 AM
I find Steve Brown and the aclu to be an ENEMY of this country and what it stands for! There's always some turd looking for attention and the aclu is always there to answer the call.
keith September 19, 2012 at 02:22 AM
She did go
Small Change September 19, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Wow. Truly disgusting and horrifying. Like most, I had assumed that the ACLU opposed the dances because of complaints from single mothers, same sex couples etc. that their daughters were being 'left out'. A questionable argument, but understandable form a parent's viewpoint. However , to suggest that for a little girl to want to go to a dance with the father she loves, and that it might be the thrill of her young life, is a 'dangerous stereotype' that must be prohibited because 'in the 21st Century' we don't think that way, is truly beyond belief.
Suzanne September 19, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I wish I could have gone to a father and daughter dance with my dad, but he is dead now.
Jay Fitzgerald September 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM
True not every girl want to be Cinderella, but why is this mother punishing my two daughters and many others who DO? Again we bow and to the minority!!! How do I explain this "adult centered" foolishness to my elementary school girls...no matter how you try all they take from it is that their special night with their dad has been taken away by another little girl's mother.... Cranston should be ashamed of themselves!! CHANGE THE LAW!!!
Joe Jones September 19, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Unreal that the ACLU does this but then again the "weak" give in. I'd battle this 110% and show the ACLU to take a freaken hike !
Ruth Taylor September 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Forgive me, but I am not sure the ACLU is completely at fault. Shouldn't the school district just re-tool these activities so that they meet new guidelines and modern ways of looking at things? I feel like people often just give up and walk away from these conversations when there could be a happy ending.
KAP September 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM
This article does not state that Steve Brown's full comment, according to Turn to 10, is "Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella - not even in Cranston." I find this statement utterly insulting. What is he insinuating by stating, "...not even in Cranston"?
Jim Gamba September 19, 2012 at 01:46 PM
This is getting ridiculous!!! No one is forcing anyone to go to a dance. The father/daughter dances are some of mine and my 2 daughter's fondest memories!! What is wrong with so called old fashion traditions and values? This is just another example of a molehill being made a mountain. And another thing Steve Brown, what does spending some quality time with you daughter have to do with being Cinderella in Cranston or anywhere else? Many of the so called "old traditions" are what help to make strong family units.
Peggy Porter September 19, 2012 at 03:19 PM
This is much more insipent than ridiculous and has nothing to do with a father-daughter dance. It is about Steve Brown and the ACLU American Civil Liberties Union really being about taking away our liberties. All you have to do is read 1984 by George Orwell or Atlas Shrugged by Aryn Rand. The names of the organizations mean exactly the opposite. People need to wake up before it's too late. Remember Natzi Germany - they came for the Jews and I did nothing. Then they came for the Catholic and I did nothing? Etc. finally, they came for me and there was no one left to help. Wake up, they count on you not taking the time to do anything, because they made it so you don't have extra time for this kind of thing
mcam September 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
My dad passed away suddenly when I was in third grade just six weeks before our Fall dance, which was for Girls and their male escorts. Did I feel sad, yes, but when I look back, I am thankful that my grandpa took me, even though my heart was not totally in it. I have a special picture of us together and the one's from K-2 with my dad. It is almost 30 years later, and I would not want to see any girl have to give up their dance with dad, uncle's grandpa's for anything. It's just one night. Geez!! The problem with america is everything has to feel good, when we all know we have to deal with day to day disapointments, learn and grow from them.
Jeff Berard September 20, 2012 at 01:23 AM
"“The controversy that has suddenly arisen in a political campaign over father-daughter dances in Cranston is old news – the matter was amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago. And it was resolved for a simple reason: the school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of “girl” and “boy” activities and is contrary to federal law."" And: ""Arranging for a dance for girls to go to and a ballgame for boys to go is a tradition that may have worked in the 1950s but it doesn't necessarily play out the same in 2012,"" There you have it folks - couldn't have said it better myself. Please continue throwing your collective hissy-fits over a non-issue. It keeps circus clowns like John Depetro in business.
Robin Lionheart September 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM
If they'd just let the fatherless girl take mom to the dance, all the girls would've been happy. But some petty person just had to ruin one girl's night, so it got out that a Cranston school was breaking the law again.
Joanne maslen September 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Ok parents get together and make your own party father daughter dances don't have to end. Most take place in halls not in school buildings . Rent a hall make the food share the expense and have fun!
mcam September 20, 2012 at 06:37 PM
My parents and grandparents are probably rolling over in their graves. This is not the Cranston they left behind when they passed many years ago. They used to be proud to say they were from Cranston, they sure would not be today. Wow, this has become Providence annex, and a sad place to live.
Robin Lionheart September 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
No, the ACLU stands up for equal rights whenever our government tries to betray what this country stands for.
Gina September 21, 2012 at 02:44 PM
The “Ladies Choice” event, “Boy Choice” event and the “Family Night” event is not funded by the tax payers money. The PTO organizes these events and then the students who choose to attend pay for a tickets.

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