A Utah mom is upset that her daughter’s elementary school told students they must “say yes” if someone asks them to dance at a Valentine’s Day school party.
Natalie Richard, whose daughter is in the sixth grade at Kanesville Elementary School in Ogden, Utah, said the school is sending the wrong message to girls and boys.
“This sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say ‘yes’ [and it] sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say ‘no,'” Richard told Fox 13 Salt Lake City. (video below).
Richard asked the school principal about the dance policy, and he dismissed her complaint. “He basically just said they’ve had this dance set up this way for a long time and they’ve never had any concern before,” Richard said.
A spokesperson for the Weber School District said the “must say yes” rule was put in place to “promote kindness” because the school administration wants students “to say yes when someone asks you to dance.”
Richard said she understands the school’s intentions, but said forcing children to do something they don’t want to do is sending the wrong message.
“My daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can’t say ‘no’ to a boy,” Richard said. “That’s the message kids are getting. There are many other ways to teach children how to be accepting than with a social dance.”
Richard suggested the principal send home a permission slip for parents to sign, explaining the school dance policy, and he agreed.
While some people may think Natalie Richard is overreacting, her vigilance is understandable in light of all the sexual abuse stories surfacing in the news lately.
In January, former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in jail after being convicted of sexually molesting more than 150 girls over the past 20 years.
And just last week, former USA women’s swim coach Sean Hutchison was accused of sexually abusing world champion swimmer Ariana Kukors when she was a teenager. Authorities have since discovered thousands of nude, sexually explicit photos of Kukors on her coach’s computer.
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