School tells sixth-graders they can't say no when asked to dance

Published: Feb. 9, 2018 at 12:54 PM MST
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A Utah mom is upset about a school policy in which sixth-grade girls can't say "no" when boys ask them to dance.

The mom says it sends the wrong message to the young students.

"Oh no, no honey. You guys are misunderstanding again. That`s not how it is," said mother Natalie Richard.

When Richard`s sixth grade daughter told her she couldn`t say no if a boy asked her to dance at Kanesville Elementary School’s Valentine`s Day dance, she didn`t believe it at first.

"The teacher said she can`t. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said excuse me?" Richard said.

So she took her concerns to the school principal.

"He basically just said they`ve had this dance set up this way for a long time and they`ve never had any concerns before," she said.

Lane Findlay, with the Weber School District, confirms it`s a rule, but it`s meant to teach students how to be inclusive.

"Please be respectful, be polite,” Findlay said, the district’s community relations specialist. “We want to promote kindness and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance."

"I do see it from their perspective when it comes to that, but there are many other ways to teach children how to be accepting than with a social dance," Richard said.

She says forcing students not to say “no” teaches them the wrong lesson.

"Sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say ‘yes,’” she said. “Sends a bad message to boys that girls will — can`t say ‘no.’"

Prior to the dance, which is voluntary, students are told to fill out a card, selecting five people they want to dance with. And the administration says if there`s someone on the card you feel uncomfortable with, the student is encouraged to speak up.

"If there is an issue, if there`s students that are uncomfortable or have a problem with another student, I mean, that`s certainly something that can be addressed with that student and parents," Findlay said

But Richards says rejection is part of life and at the end of the day, this policy is sending impressionable children the wrong message.

"Psychologically my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can`t say ‘no’ to a boy,” she said. “That`s the message kids are getting."

As of now, the rule remains in place.