A New York City elementary school has canceled its upcoming annual father-daughter dance over new school district-issued guidelines concerning transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
The dance at Staten Island’s P.S. 65, set for Friday, was abruptly postponed until March 2, when it will be open to all students and their families, the New York Post reported.
“Until we understand what we are legally permitted to do, we need to table this event,” PTA president Toni Bennett reportedly wrote in a Facebook post.
A spokeswoman with the New York City Department of Education told the Post that PS 65 Principal Sophie Scamardella instructed the PTA to change the event “to ensure all students and families were welcome to attend.”
“We have clear guidelines in place that require school-related events to be inclusive of all students,” the spokeswoman said.
The DOE issued new guidelines regarding transgender and gender nonconforming students last March, saying schools should eliminate any gender-based practices that have the effect of marginalizing, stigmatizing, stereotyping or excluding students regardless of whether they are transgender or gender-nonconforming.
Jared Fox, the DOE’s LGBT community liaison, said that while father-daughter dances are not explicitly verboten, they “inherently leave people out” and should be reworded to include everyone.
“These can be really uncomfortable and triggering events,” he told the Post.
Parents and students who spoke with CBS New York said they were disappointed with the decision.
“It’s kind of a letdown,” fifth-grader Angelina Lubo said. “At least I could still spend time with my dad.”
“You have to see my daughter’s face every time we walk in,” dad Gregorio Rosario said. “For us dads that we have the time, I actually make the time for it because we work at night. It’s a pleasure.”
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