Last year, a high school in Cranston, Rhode Island attracted national attention when it removed a “prayer banner” that had been displayed in the school for 20 years. (This was the text of the terribly dangerous, offensive prayer: “Our Heavenly Father. Grant us each day the desire to do our best. To grow mentally and morally as well as physically. To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. Amen.”)
Now, in 2012, with the help of the ACLU, Cranston, Rhode Island is back in the news. According to NBC News, “The school system in Cranston, R.I., announced it is banning traditional father-daughter and mother-son activities, saying they are a violation of the state’s gender discrimination law, the Providence Journal reported late Monday.”
Care to read that again? A father-daughter (or mother-son) dance or related activity constitute a “violation of the state’s gender discrimination law”? Is someone making this up? Not a chance.
“Superintendent Judith Lundsten told the newspaper the decision was in response to a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mother who said her daughter was not able to attend a father-daughter dance.”
But of course! Normal life and normal society must be upended because one person is offended. Everyone’s freedoms and liberties and privileges must be removed because one person is left out. That’s the American way, according to the ACLU, and the truth be told, it has little to do with compassion for this girl who is living without her father.
But it gets worse. According to Steven Brown of the Rhode Island ACLU, “This is 2012 and they [public schools] should not be in the business of fostering blatant gender stereotypes.”
Blatant gender stereotypes? Like moms and dads and daughters and sons? Like husbands and wives and boys and girls? Like male and female? Is that what he means by “blatant gender stereotypes”? Is that what public schools should not be fostering?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.