While the school has stated that this measure is to save kids from the pain of rejection, the mom says it teaches them nothing about consent.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 19, 2020. It has since been updated.
In this day and age, how difficult is it for someone to understand that "no means no"? Apparently, there are still people out there who don't understand the concept of consent.
A Utah school launched a controversial policy that prohibits kids from refusing another kid who asks for a dance. And a victim of this policy was an eleven-year-old girl who was not allowed to refuse the guy that had earlier made her feel uncomfortable.
A school should not only make its kids competent but also contribute to their holistic development. Parents send their kids to a particular school because they trust it and expect it to take good care of their security and also teach them how to become better judges of society and people. But turns out, Rich Middle School in Laketown, Utah, has a totally different take on it.
The school organized a Valentine's Day dance and Azlyn, 11, was excited to attend it. However, her experience at the fest left her mother, Alicia Hobson, shocked and angered. Alicia took to Facebook to share what went on on the day and the school has since gone on to receive massive flak for the said policy.
Hobson told TODAY, “It was supposed to be the best day ever” before Azlyn turned down a boy’s request to dance. In her post, she revealed, "A kid at school that makes my daughter uncomfortable asked her to dance at the school dance on Valentine's Day. She tried to say no thank you, and the principal overheard and intervened and told her she's not allowed to say no and that she has to dance with him."
Apparently, the school believes that this policy will help students keep the pain of rejection at bay. While Alicia understands the school's concern, she is of the opinion that policies like these rob girls of their voice and further a misogynistic culture where girls aren't allowed to say no.
To add to her worries, "This boy has been quoted as publicly saying something very disturbing of a sexual nature," she revealed. However, "It doesn't matter if it's true or not. It doesn't matter if rumors are terrible and should be dismissed. That's irrelevant. The point is that this kid makes my daughter feel uncomfortable. She should not have to stand close to him with his hands on her if she doesn't want to. She has the right to say no to anyone for any reason or no reason."
According to TODAY, “She politely said, ‘No thank you,’” to the boy when the principal, Kip Motta, intervened and basically ushered them to the dance floor. “He said something like, ‘No, no. You kids go out and dance,’” Alicia revealed. “He basically shooed Azlyn and the boy off onto the dance floor.”
"I've told her over and over, since her school started having dances that she has the right to say no, and if she gets in trouble for it, I'll fight like hell for her," said Alicia. And the Utah mom is doing just that. She got in touch with the principal and superintendent but to no avail. "I have reached out to the principal. He told me that he is not changing the policy," she revealed. "He said my option is to either accept this policy, or keep my daughter home from school when they have a school dance."
Furthermore, it seems that it's only Alicia who is fighting for her daughter and other kids as well because as per her post, the principal of Rich Middle School has revealed "that my family is not the first to complain and that many kids have felt uncomfortable with it, but they just checked their kid out of school or submitted to the policy." Alicia, however, is not ready to give up. After receiving no solutions from the principal, she is now planning to get in touch with the Utah Board of Education.
Ever since she shared this incident, she has been receiving support from parents, some of whom have also shared their own experiences and others have sternly called out the policy.
As Alicia carries on with her fight for a better society for our kids, we wish her more power and courage to carry out her revolutionary campaign.
NO MEANS NO!
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by DepthofField