EG Candidate Mark Co-Signed Father-Daughter Dance Letter To Cranston

In her role as president of R.I. NOW, School Committee candidate Carolyn Mark co-signed the letter with the ACLU urging Cranston schools to stop supporting gender-specific events.

Carolyn Mark, East Greenwich School Committee candidate, co-signed the now-famous letter sent last May to the Cranston School Department decrying a father-daughter-type dance at a public school there, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"updated-after-aclu-complaint-father-daughter-dances-no-more-in-cranston"} -->. Mark signed the letter, along with the ACLU's Stephen Brown, in her capacity as president of R.I. NOW.

The letter was in response to a mother’s complaint that the dance unfairly excluded her daughter, who she said had no adult male to accompany her.

“She called us to express concerns about an upcoming event that has been scheduled by the school PTO group. Although we do not expect anything to be done before that event takes place, both the ACLU and RI NOW share her concerns. We are therefore writing to request that you intervene to address this matter for future activities,” read part of the letter sent to former Cranston School Supt. Peter Nero and dated May 2, 2012. (Copies of the letter and the district's response were obtained from RI Future’s Bob Plain and are attached, right.)

At the time, an internal decision was made by Cranston to end the practice of father-daughter activities. The issue only became public on Monday, when Cranston candidate Sean Gately talked about it on WPRO’s Matt Allen Show.

Carolyn Mark, , responded to questions about her involvement in the Comments section of :

“When I learned that a single mom was feeling excluded from an event that, perhaps unwittingly, was framed in a way that would preclude non-traditional families from feeling welcome at the event, it concerned me. It also concerned me that the events the school was planning for the kids were stereotypical – a dance for girls, a sporting event for boys. In my capacity with RI NOW, I felt it appropriate to join with the ACLU in asking the school district to remind the community that school-based events need to be inclusive, which they readily agreed to do. And BTW, no school has to cancel its dances - they just need to reframe events so that everyone feels welcome,” she wrote.

In another comment, Mark wrote: “It’s not that I don’t think that fathers and daughters shouldn’t have opportunities to go to school dances together. I think that can be a lovely thing. But, I don’t think events should be framed in such a way as to make children feel uncomfortable if they don’t come from a traditional family and have no father to bring to the dance. That’s all. It matters what we call these things. I think East Greenwich has done a good job moving in the direction of being increasingly inclusive in these types of events.”

At least three of the four East Greenwich public elementary schools have non-gender-specific events for boys and girls. As mentioned in , Frenchtown has girls and boys night out events.

At , according to Principal Neil Marcaccio, they have an event called a family dance. “It’s all inclusive,” he said.


solomon September 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM
aww here we go.... "I'm picturing some little girl left out of the "what are you going to wear to the dance?" and "wasn't the dance fun last night?" conversations at school... ouch. " How many years have F & D dances been going on? What about the little boy that wants to go to the father / daughter where is his comfort for not being included? He doesn't play sports and the obligatory trophy for t-ball just doesn't suffice. Let's get everyone to feel bad then maybe they will conform. cripes.
Joe The Plumber September 22, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I do not read one personal attack on this discussion. And if not why did you feel the need to issue your warning. Elizabeth who is determining if a comment is disagreement, a criticism or a personal attack? You? Be careful, that kind of warning defeats the very purpose of this website.
Elizabeth McNamara September 22, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Joe the Plumber, I deleted a comment posted sometime before 8 a.m. Sept. 22. For the record, I am the who determines if a comment is a personal attack. That's part of my job as EG Patch editor. I moderate this forum.
cathy butterfield September 22, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Well said!
Bill Pett September 23, 2012 at 01:44 AM
As the editor of our Patch, I think Elizabeth knows quite well what the very purpose of this website. In my experience it is normal for there to be such restrictions to be enforced on an online discussion. Making personal attacks has also been called flaming and it is not only not part of robust discussion, it gets in the way of discussion. If personal attacks are banned, writers have to take the time to think carefully about the arguments they mean to make. Name-calling, flaming, whatever you call it, it's just intellectual laziness.


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