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Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:37 PM

School policy forbids kids from saying 'no' when asked to dance

One mom is fighting back on behalf of her 11-year-old daughter.

Alicia Hobson’s 11-year-old daughter, Azlyn, was counting down the days until the Valentine’s Day dance at her Utah middle school.

“She was so excited she could barely sleep,” Hobson told TODAY Parents, noting that the sixth grader picked out her outfit a week ahead of time.

"It was supposed to be the best day ever," Hobson, 37, said.

But it wasn't.

That afternoon, when Azlyn got home, she had an "emotional explosion" in the kitchen, while recounting how a boy who makes her uncomfortable had asked her to dance.

“She politely said, ‘No thank you,’” Hobson revealed. The problem? At Rich Middle School in Laketown, Utah, it's against the rules to say "no," and principal Kip Motta allegedly intervened when he heard Azlyn decline the invitation at the dance.

“He said something like, ‘No, no. You kids go out and dance,’” Hobson revealed. “He basically shooed Azlyn and the boy off onto the dance floor.”

https://www.today.com/parents/sixth-grader-utah-couldn-t-say-no-when-asked-dance-t174793

29 replies, 1210 views

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Reply School policy forbids kids from saying 'no' when asked to dance (Original post)
demmiblue Feb 2020 OP
LizBeth Feb 2020 #1
milestogo Feb 2020 #2
meadowlander Feb 2020 #12
PETRUS Feb 2020 #13
silverweb Feb 2020 #16
RKP5637 Feb 2020 #3
TeamPooka Feb 2020 #4
2naSalit Feb 2020 #20
TeamPooka Feb 2020 #24
2naSalit Feb 2020 #26
Takket Feb 2020 #5
Ilsa Feb 2020 #6
2naSalit Feb 2020 #21
Archae Feb 2020 #7
dewsgirl Feb 2020 #8
KT2000 Feb 2020 #9
frazzled Feb 2020 #10
meadowlander Feb 2020 #14
frazzled Feb 2020 #15
meadowlander Feb 2020 #28
Drahthaardogs Feb 2020 #17
meadowlander Feb 2020 #27
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2020 #11
Hermit-The-Prog Feb 2020 #18
maxsolomon Feb 2020 #19
EllieBC Feb 2020 #22
2naSalit Feb 2020 #23
gratuitous Feb 2020 #25
Silver Swan Feb 2020 #29

Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:41 PM

1. Instead of wrapping it in a lesson all being nice by accepting, we can teach the children that not

everyone will be on the same page. That is ok. Do not take it personally, accept it as a lesson in life to move on and find the one comfortable.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:42 PM

2. That's how it was when I was a kid.

It's just a dance.

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Response to milestogo (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:54 PM

12. It's not "just a dance". It conditions girls to think that they shouldn't say "no"...

that avoiding hurting other peoples' feelings is more important than listening to their instincts.

Add this dance to thousands of other similar situations, plus everything they are told in the media and by their peers and you end up with women who smile, grit their teeth, and nod their way into and through horrific experiences of rape or sexual harassment.

The "teachable moment" here isn't "do what you don't feel comfortable doing, little girl, to spare other peoples' feelings". It's that "sometimes people say no, little boy, and that's not the end of the world".

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:56 PM

13. Thank you. nt

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:40 PM

16. +1000!!

Thank you! That needs to be said much more often.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:49 PM

3. Stupid policy!!! n/t

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:51 PM

4. Is this at The Handmaiden's Academy?

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:12 PM

20. Utah. ...nt

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:22 PM

24. same thing

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:28 PM

26. Agreed. ...nt

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:52 PM

5. That's barbaric. Any person should have the right to say no

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:58 PM

6. Training their girls to be passive. nt

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:12 PM

21. Subservient.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 05:58 PM

7. I'd like to know...

Why the boy made the girl uncomfortable.

We had a boy in my grade 5 class who was pushy and liked pinching girls' butts.

Finally he was expelled.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:01 PM

8. Yikes 😳

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:15 PM

9. I can see both sides of this

Let's be honest - there is a social structure in classrooms and it will be played out in circumstances such as this. Maybe the boy was just a nerd and she would be uncool if she was seen with him - we don't know. If he does inappropriate things, she should report him. Otherwise, maybe this is just an attempt to make everyone feel included and help people who are shy.

These events reinforce the existing social structure or can be used to mix it up a bit. I hope the girls are allowed to ask the boys to dance too. Anyway, I don't see this as an earth shattering event and the mom can prevent her daughter from going to dances if she wants.

I knew a nurse who was stationed at the state mental hospital many years ago. They held dances there for the patients and the nurses were required to attend and dance with the patients. She loved to tell stories about that because it was the strangest dance she ever attended. It was also a treasured memory.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:17 PM

10. Sixth grade girls ...

To this day I remember being in sixth grade. It was Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t wait to see the cards (maybe one from a secret admirer or better yet, a boy I had a bit of a crush on). We had all decorated shoe boxes with hearts and cut-out doilies to receive them, and when I arrived at my desk, my box was overflowing. I opened it and was immediately crushed: 3/4 of the valentines were from a boy who was, well, let’s just say pretty sorry looking and notably slow. I was mortified.

I got ribbed mercilessly that day (“Johnny X lovvvves you!” ) and wanted just to hide. If there had been a dance, I’m sure that poor sad sack of a boy would have asked me to dance with him. And though I was generally kind, I probably would have said no.

But that would have been wrong, and cruel. What would have been the harm of allowing him a single dance in such a controlled setting? He really was so sad in every way. If he had seen it as an opportunity later to pursue my affections further, then I could politely say no thanks. But really, social dancing in a school setting is not a threatening space (except to your ego). We should teach children to be kind to everyone, even the unattractive dorks like Johnny X.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:59 PM

14. Leading on "unattractive dorks" isn't any kinder than just saying no in the first place.

The kindest thing you can do for someone is showing them the respect of being honest with them in first place - not condescendingly saying "yes" and then dumping them another day.

Teach your kids to communicate effectively and to assert appropriate boundaries not to "be nice to people who make you uncomfortable because you feel sorry for them".

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:32 PM

15. Eh

White lies are sometimes the kindest way to proceed.

I don’t buy into the “uncomfortable” business. Life presents many uncomfortable situations, which we all must learn to negotiate. Thinking only of your own comfort is tantamount to being rather selfish, isn’t it? What about the publicly rejected boy’s discomfort, and how that might affect him?

Now danger or threat is another story. But dancing for 3 or 4 minutes in a school gym with teachers and parent chaperones present hardly presents a threat to anyone.

We’re not talking about harassment or assault here. We’re talking about a few minutes of bopping around to a tune. Be kind and consider another’s discomfort as well as your own. You’ll get over it before seventh grade even starts.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:36 PM

28. We negotiate uncomfortable situations by having appropriate boundaries

not by sacrificing our comfort and ignoring our instincts.

Twenty years of being told "let the creepy boy touch you... you don't want to make him feel bad now do you?" is what leaves young women poorly equipped to deal with genuinely threatening situations. It also teaches the boy "You are entitled to dance with whichever girl you want because your feelings are more important than her comfort."

Kids need to start learning the script to deal with this situation. You don't need to make it personal or cruel. You just say "Sorry, I don't feel like dancing right now" and move away.

And boys need to learn that some girls will say yes and some will say no. We don't all have to like each other and that's OK. And we're certainly not entitled to touch other peoples' bodies or take up their time if they don't like us just because othewise it makes us feel bad. Today's "why won't any girls dance with me!" boy who doesn't learn that lesson is tomorrow's incel mass shooter or serial rapist.

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:42 PM

17. Rember this when one of your kids or grandkids is the "different" one

It WILL happen. When it does, remember...no kindness or pity for the misfits.

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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:29 PM

27. I was the "different" one.

And I could certainly tell the difference between someone who was being kind because that's who they genuinely were and someone who just felt sorry for me or was being pressured to be nice to me by someone else.

Trust me, it feels a lot better to get no Valentines than a box full of pity Valentines from people you know don't really like you but were forced to do it by their parents or teachers.

I don't remember all the people who ignored me, but I definitely remember all the people who went out of their way to underline my difference with their fake sympathy. And not fondly.

Respect and authenticity will take you a lot farther in life than phony condescension, sorry "kindness and pity".

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 06:47 PM

11. Wow. Girls aren't allowed to say no.

What's wrong with that?

The parents need to get in that principal's face and explain to him about things like autonomy.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 07:59 PM

18. I'd be done with that "school" right after telling them to go fuck themselves with cacti.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:07 PM

19. The rejection is crushing, as well.

The entire proposition is fraught.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:16 PM

22. No one is owed a dance.

Just like no one is owed your time or attention or sex from you. Literally no one for any reason and they also aren’t owed a reason!

That’s the lesson that needs to be learned. There’s lots of rejection in life. You might not get on the sports team you want or you might not get into the university you want. You might not get the job you want or the promotion you want or the person you want to be with. This is called life.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:16 PM

23. An important factor...

it's Utah which is ruled by the dominant religion and that is one of their things, modern day Handmaid's Tale. Girls aren't to ask a boy to dance or for date and they can't have bare shoulders or midriffs. It's kind of amazing they are allowed to show their ankles.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 08:25 PM

25. Maybe we need to back up a step or two

First, is it only boys who can ask girls to dance, or can girls ask boys? How about boys asking boys or girls asking girls? Let's take a look at the social function of the dance. Is it so that we get all you little 11-year-olds paired up in eternal and everlasting relationship, or is this a chance for all of you to learn how to behave in this setting? Why don't we ease off on some of the pressure, and say that nobody's looking for their forever wife or husband here.

If anyone can ask anyone else to dance, everyone has the chance to say "no" when asked. Let's talk about why someone might say no, shall we? The person you asked hates your guts. That's one reason he or she might say no, but it's not the only reason. The person being asked is tired, was just out there for three or four songs and wants to sit this song out. Or maybe - and this is just spitballing here - maybe there doesn't have to be any reason at all for someone to say no.

Now what? You asked, the person said no for no apparent reason. You can get stuck on that or you can say to yourself "Perhaps another time," and move on. I don't think it's asking too much of 11 year olds to shake off the disappointment. Everyone's going to be disappointed at one time or another in their lives. Which leads us back to the social function of the dance: Learning how to behave yourself. Being turned down for a dance is not the end of the world. Let's talk about this a little bit before we throw everyone into the cauldron and see if we can't set things up so that everyone has a better chance of having a good time.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Fri Feb 28, 2020, 09:06 PM

29. When I was eleven, back in 1957

I was taught that it was okay to decline a request to dance, but if you did, you needed to decline any other invitation to dance to that song.

That may seem strange now, but it worked for me. I generally decided that it was just a dance, and would dance with any boy who asked.

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