A Utah school is under fire for a rule it has that required a girl not to say “No” to boys during school dances to prevent problems.
A sixth-grader and her family are now fighting against a rule the school has that requires students to not say “No” when asked to dance.
According to Alicia Hobson her daughter Azlyn Hobson was thrilled and nervous for the Valentine’s day dance at Rich Middle School in Laketown, Utah.
Alicia told reporters:
“She was so excited for this dance. She was telling me about it for two weeks. There was a boy at school she liked, she wanted to dance with him, she was going to have the best time ever.”
Alicia says while she wanted to dance with that boy, another boy who made her uncomfortable in the past asked her to dance, and she said “No”.
Azlyn recalled the principal running over to her:
“He was like, ‘You guys go dance. There’s no saying no in here,’”
When Azlyn came home angry from the dance, her mom Alicia wrote to superintendent Kip Motta saying:
“She ALWAYS has the right to say no. Boys don’t have the right to touch girls or make them dance with them. They don’t. If girls are taught that they don’t have the right to say no to boys, or that saying no is meaningless, because they’ll be forced to do it anyway, we will have another generation who feels that rape culture is completely normal.”
The superintendent commented on the situation in an interview saying:
“We want to protect every child’s right to be safe and comfortable at school. We believe in that 100%. We also believe that all children should be included in activities. The reason for the policy as we have had it (in the) past is to make sure no kids feel like they get left out.”
Motta told Alicia that parents have the option of excusing their children from going to the school dance if they’d feel uncomfortable about the rule, but Alicia states that that puts the burden on other students that feel uncomfortable.
The school has stated that it’s now reviewing the policy.
Alicia says a policy like that makes it hard for students, especially girls to set boundaries with other students.
She stated forcing students to say “Yes” during unwanted situations perpetuates rape culture.