The following statement was issued today by the Rhode Island ACLU in response to the Cranston sex discrimination controversy. The issue arose when a local parent-teacher organization, with initial support from the school, organized a “father-daughter dance” for girls attending the school, and a “mother-son” outing to a Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game for the boys:
"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 This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of 'girl' and 'boy' activities and is contrary to federal law.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.
"We commend the school district for its resolution of the matter, and are sorry to see some people turning it into a political football – a game that they may think only boys should be interested in."