‘A bad message’

School faces criticism over Valentine’s tradition in which girls can’t refuse boys who ask them to dance

(LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images)

A Utah school is facing criticism from parents over an annual Valentine’s Day dance for sixth-graders in which girls are barred from refusing boys who ask them to dance. School officials at the Kanesville Elementary School in Ogden have stated that the tradition is meant to encourage inclusion and kindness, but mother Natalie Richard told CNN affiliate KSTU that she grew concerned after her sixth-grade daughter told her that she wasn’t allowed to say “no” to a boy.

“The teacher said she can’t. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said, ‘Excuse me?” Richard recalled. “[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.’ Psychologically, my daughter keeps coming to me and saying I can’t say ‘no’ to a boy. That’s the message kids are getting.”

In response to complaints from parents, the Weber School District sent a statement to CNN explaining that administrators had “advised our schools to eliminate any sort of language in the instructions surrounding these dances that would suggest a student must dance with another student.”

“In the best interest of our students, we are re-examining the procedures surrounding these dances and will make any necessary changes to promote a positive environment where all students feel included and empowered in their choices,” the statement read.

Read the full story at CNN.

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