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NEW: Gallo Fighting Cranston’s ‘Father-Daughter’ Dance Ban

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

 

Last year, the Cranston School Department received national attention when it cancelled father-daughter and mother-son dances in an effort to comply with state gender discrimination laws.

The decision was met with stark opposition from parents and led to the school committee asking its local representatives to address the issue at the State House.

Now, State Senator Hanna Gallo is attempting to do just that.

In a bill submitted to the Senate Committee on Education, Gallo is seeking a change in state law that would allow schools to provide activities for students of one sex “provided that reasonably comparable activities are provided for students of the other sex.”

“I understand that the superintendent was acting out of an abundance of caution when he announced the cancellation of the dances,” Gallo said. “I also understand the reaction of the parents of school children in the face of having a wonderful school tradition so abruptly cancelled.”

The bill has been co-sponsored by Senators Frank Lombardi, Erin Lynch and Daniel Da Ponte.

“Events such as these dances are important traditions and we should be able to ensure that they can continue to be held without schools or school administrators running afoul of the law,” Gallo added. “I don’t believe the intent of these events was ever to be overtly discriminatory, but we all have to live with the language of the law. This bill, if approved and enacted, should ensure that these events can continue without weakening our resolve to oppose discriminatory activities.”

Gallo said the reaction to the dance cancellations last year both in Cranston as well as in other communities around the state “clearly shows how important these traditions are,” and feels the language in the bill she submitted will “allow those traditions to continue without fear of violating the law.”
 

 

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