There is a controversy at a Staten Island elementary school over the cancellation of the annual father-daughter dance because it was viewed violative of the new Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines that went into effect in March 2017. Jared Fox, the DOE’s LGBT community liaison, is quoted as saying “Father-daughter dances inherently leave people out. Not just because of transgender status, just life in general.”
The DOE has ordered schools to “eliminate” any “gender-based” practices unless they serve a “clear” educational purpose. PS 65 said that the “Father-Daughter
dance is “gender-based” and without a clear educational purpose.
Of course, as schools struggle in build parental involvement and support in our schools, the cancellation of such events undermines such efforts. The question is how to best incorporate and support the small number of transgender or gender nonconforming students. While the dance does not stipulate who will be defined as a father or daughter, it obviously would not be compatible for some gender nonconforming individuals. But is that sufficient reason to bar a dance enjoyed by the vast majority of families — an event that is not mandatory or compulsory. The question is whether there should be accommodation on both sides to allow these events to continue while seeking to minimize exclusions for any students. It seems like a cancellation only deepens the divisions and tensions over transgender issues.
What do you think?