A Utah Elementary School Is In Trouble For Holding A Dance Where Students Can't Say 'No' To Dance Requests

An elementary school in Utah is in trouble with parents after kids were told they couldn’t turn down another student's dance request during the Valentine’s Day dance.

Local news station KSTU reports that Kanesville Elementary School in Ogden, Utah, holds a Valentine’s Day dance every year for the sixth graders. While this seems normal, a rule has been made public that if someone is asked to dance, they have to say yes. One mother, Natalie Richard, told KSTU that after her daughter said she couldn’t say "no" at the dance, she went to both the teacher and the principal to learn more.

“He basically just said they’ve had this dance set up this way for a long time and they’ve never had any concern before,” Richard said to KSTU about the principal’s response. She then said that kids are getting the wrong message and they need to learn about rejection — accepting it and doing it.

The Weber School District sent a statement to CNN about how the dance works. Lane Findlay, community relations specialist, said the policy is meant to be inclusive and promote kindness towards other students. Attendance is voluntary, but strongly encouraged by the school, and Findlay described in the statement how students are asked to fill out cards before the dance with the names of classmates they want to dance with, half girls and half boys.

“If there are students that are uncomfortable or have a problem with another student, that’s certainly something that can be addressed with that student and parents,” said Findlay to KSTU. However, because of the policy coming to light, it is being changed.

“We are re-examining the procedures surrounding these dances and will make any necessary changes to promote a positive environment where all students feel included and empowered in their choices,” the statement to CNN said. After talking to the principal, Richard said to KSTU that permission slips will also be sent out to parents with the instructions given to students.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and teaching children they have control over their own bodies, it is important to remember that while we should be kind to others and respect their boundaries; we should also remember how some messages can be internalized in the wrong way.