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Schools decision to refuse girls right to say no if boys ask them to dance, challenged by pupil's parent

The Independent logo The Independent 12/02/2018 Sarah Young

a group of people standing around a table © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A mother has been left outraged after her daughter’s school introduced a policy that states students aren’t allowed to say “no” when asked to dance.

Natalie Richard, from Utah, was speaking to her sixth-grade daughter about the upcoming Valentine’s Day dance at her school, Kanesville Elementary, when she was told about the controversial rule.

Her daughter explained that teachers had told the students, aged between 11 and 12, that they had to say “yes” when someone asked them dance.

In disbelief, Ms Richard said that she must have misunderstood what they were saying. 

However, after speaking to the school she soon realised that the statement was accurate.

“The teacher said she can’t. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said, 'Excuse me',” Ms Richard told Fox 13.

Shocked by the policy, the mother took her concerns to the school principal but was simply told that that’s just how they organise their dances.

Lane Findlay with the Weber School District confirmed that it is in fact a rule, but added that it’s meant to teach students how to be inclusive.

Natalie Richard says that this method sends children the wrong message (Fox 13) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Natalie Richard says that this method sends children the wrong message (Fox 13) “Please be respectful, be polite," Mr Findlay said. 

”We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance."

However, Ms Richard believes there are other ways to teach children how to be accepting and that this method sends the wrong message.

“It sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say 'yes'; sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say 'no',” she explained.

“Psychologically, my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can’t say 'no' to a boy.

“That’s the message kids are getting.”

After Fox 13 posted the story on its Facebook page, hordes of alarmed parents commented in agreement.

Many were worried that teaching children to believe that “no” is an unacceptable answer could make them vulnerable.

“This is a terrible policy,” one person wrote.

“Inclusiveness is not nearly as important as teaching children that they have no obligation to allow anyone to touch them or invade their personal space if it makes them uncomfortable.”

Another agreed adding, “This sends the wrong message. Anyone should have the right to say 'no.' Teaching children how to say no respectfully is a more important lesson.”

As it stands, Kanesville Elementary say that the rule remains in place.

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