Last week, Father/Daughter dances were being banned in schools for their lack of gender neutrality. This week, kids are being rushed into interpersonal situations with reckless abandon. It’s funny how policies concerning youth development span the spectrum on today’s educational landscape. That being said, without further ado, here is this week’s outrage. Again. But this time, with feeling!
Ahhh, those crazy Utes. And I'm not talking about Joe Pesci’s Bronx pronunciation of “youths” from the movie “My Cousin Vinny.” In this day and age, when men and women are walking on eggshells for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, comes this slice of idiocy from the Beehive State.
The powers that be at a Utah school decided to host a gala…then told the sixth-grade revelers that they could not say "no" if someone asked them to dance. Let that sink in before you read the school’s response.
"We've done it for years and no one has complained," was the administration’s excuse. Gee, how has that rationale worked over the centuries? There are too many incidents in human history that show the past is not a good source for setting precedents.
The school says the exercise is to show students how to be inclusive. Or, from another perspective, one could argue that it is a violation of an individual's right to dance with whomever they wish. Or preferably, at that age, not at all.
I had a friend who went through this recently, when their child's school encouraged boy/girl interaction at a younger age than my friend thought appropriate. At this event, students were supposed to throw their footwear in a pile, then select shoes from the stack to be matched up with a dancing partner. The purchase of flowers and couple’s photos were also on the agenda. Sorry, folks - when an elementary school dance becomes Prom Lite, it’s time to stop for a moment and reconsider.
School functions are a social minefield at the best of times. Intentional snubs, unintentional snubs, mixed signals, the usual cliques. And that's not taking into account the constant threat of zits and gaining the extra pound. Why, oh why would an administrator add fuel to that angst-ridden fire?
My idea of the perfect school dance would require all students to wear haz-mat suits with dark tinted visors. And no flowers – all kids exchange Trapper Keepers (where keeping order is always in style).
As for dancing? Nothing but slam dance – that keeps the youth bouncing from one dancer to another, in effect keeping them out of trouble.
The benefit of my solution is that it prevents interactions kids should not engage in until an appropriate age, while at the same time getting them school credit for holding a disaster drill.
I am not trying to place blame. In my opinion, it was an idea formulated with the best of intentions that had unintended consequences. A lesson from which the administrators can learn. And it happened at a school – what better place to get educated?