Senate hears bill to save father-daughter dances

The cancellation of a father-daughter dance in Cranston last year caused such upset that a state senator has submitted a bill that would allow the traditional event to resume.

"It's being proactive rather than reactive. This will allow for both genders to be able to have activities. So, if it's a father-daughter dance it wouldn't say 'father-daughter' so that an uncle or a neighbor or another role model in that child's family could be at that dance," said Sen. Hannah Gallo, D-Cranston, the bill's sponsor.

It was a complaint by a single mother that brought the American Civil Liberties Union into Cranston last year. The reaction against the cancellation was the impetus for a radio station to sponsor its own father-daughter dance, which attracted a large crowd.

One of the ACLU's arguments against the event was that it reinforces gender stereotypes. Gallo's reaction is that the parents will be able to decide what activities will be part of these celebrations.

"Girls still continue to want to dance, and boys still know all the stats on baseball. They're into their cars. It doesn't have to be a dance. It doesn't have to be a baseball game. It can be whatever the parents that are running the PTO, whatever they want they can do," Gallo said.

Her bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.