Congressman David Cicilline is siding with the vox populi critical of Cranston’s ban on such gender-specific events as father-daughter dances.
“I think that’s crazy,” Cicilline said during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Roundtable. (The segment will air Friday at 5:40 and 7:40 am.)
Asked by guest panelist Tim White about his reaction to the Cranston ban, Cicilline said,
”I have to be honest. I haven’t read the analysis of why they [the RI ACLU] think it violates state law, but it’s hard to imagine why those traditions violate state law. It’s hard for me to comprehend what state law would prohibit father-daughter dances.”
Cicilline worked in the ’90s as a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU.
Steve Brown, head of the local ACLU chapter, offered this comment as part of a statement yesterday:
“The controversy that has suddenly arisen in a political campaign over father-daughter dances in Cranston is old news – the matter was amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago. And it was resolved for a simple reason: the school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of “girl” and “boy” activities and is contrary to federal law.
“PTOs remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet. Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella – not even in Cranston. In fact, one of them might make a great major league baseball player someday.”