NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials opted to postpone the father-daughter dance at a school in Staten Island because it excludes other genders, claiming city policies forced them to scrap the tradition.
Some parents say being politically correct has gone too far. As for the disappointed girls at PS 65, they say they’ve been getting ready for the dance for months.
“I’ve got my shoes, I got my dress,” one student said.
“It’s really fun! I go with my dad, I see my friends,” Victoria Cugini said.
This year’s dance was supposed to be on Friday, right before Valentine’s Day, but the school’s principal directed the Parent-Teacher Association to reschedule it because of the Department of Education’s gender-neutral policy. It was originally put in place a year ago and requires school events to include all types of students and families.
“It’s kind of a let down,” 5th grader Angelina Lubo said. “At least I could still spend time with my dad.”
“It’s supposed to be father and daughter,” grandparent Traci Javois said. “Father and daughter need to have a relationship, you know, feel good.”
“It’s father-daughter dance, not a grandmother slash son slash daughter dance,” another parent said. “Absolutely not.”
The dance has been rescheduled for March, and will be open to the entire school community. Some parents say being politically correct is getting in the way of reinforcing a special bond.
“It’s almost as if they’re taking it away,” father Matt West said.
“You have to see my daughter’s face everytime we walk in,” dad Gregorio Rosario said. “For us dads that we have the time, I actually make the time for it because we work at night. It’s a pleasure.”
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said the father-daughter dance should have been allowed.
“People are very upset with this,” Malliotakis told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “They feel that it is government intrusion at its worst. It is a political agenda that’s being pushed where there aren’t many students that are affected, and if there is a student who is transgender in an elementary school then let’s accommodate that student.”
“It’s come to the point where it’s ridiculous. Everything has become politically incorrect,” she said. “There’s ways we can accomplish both goals here. We can be inclusive and accommodate students who are transgender but we don’t need to eliminate all gender-related activities in our schools.”
She sent a letter to the city schools chancellor urging officials to reconsider the new guidelines.
CBS2 reached out to the principal at PS 65 as well as the PTA president. Both declined a request for interview. In a letter, the principal told parents they’re now looking for a bigger venue to fit everyone.
“If there’s a situation that’s going to make a child uncomfortable, feel left out, sad because they can’t attend that’s not what we want,” parent Roxanne Ingroe said.
While some little girls have their dance shoes ready to go, they don’t mind waiting so others can join them.
“It’s fair because we have mother-son bowling sometimes,” Angelina said. “If girls wanna go bowling too, besides mothers, they can’t really.”
It wasn’t immediately clear how the decision will affect other city schools. Nearby PS 30 has a flyer for an upcoming “F.U.D.G.E.” Dance — Fun With Uncles, Dads, Grandpa, Etcetera.