Alicia Hobson, the mother of 11-year-old daughter Azlyn, is fighting back after her daughter complained about being forced to participate in a school dance.
As Today reports, Azlyn was at a Valentine’s Day dance when she was asked to the dance floor by another boy in the school and kindly refused.
“She politely said, ‘No thank you,’” Hobson said, per the report.
But her daughter couldn’t say no, per a school policy that removes her choice in the matter.
“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,” Today reports.
“He said something like, ‘No, no. You kids go out and dance,’” Hobson shared, recounting the story. “He basically shooed Azlyn and the boy off onto the dance floor.”
According to Hobson, her daughter “hated every minute” and was “so relieved” when she could finally leave the situation (after the song had ended).
In a lengthy post, the mother railed against the school for the policy and stated in all-caps “NO MEANS NO.”
Check it out:
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.
This boy has been quoted as publicly saying something very disturbing of a sexual nature. 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. Her body is her body and if she doesn’t want to dance with someone, that’s her prerogative.
I understand that the spirit of the rule is give the kids the confidence to ask other kids to dance without the risk of rejection, but guess what? In life, you get rejected all the time. They need to get used to it and learn how to cope with their frustration. Girls HAVE to learn that they have the right to say no and that those around them have to respect that. I’m not going to quietly stand by while my daughter and all of her classmates are being wrapped up in rape culture. No way.
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. Well, here we go.
I have reached out to the principal. He told me that he is not changing the policy. He said my option is to either accept this policy, or keep my daughter home from school when they have a school dance. I emailed the superintendent and told him the response I got from the principal and asked him if he has anything to add to that, but he has not responded. He has been copied on all emails since this incident happened and is well aware of the situation, but has not said a word so far.
My next step will be to contact the Utah Board of Education. I appreciate the support I’ve gotten from everyone. I’m so angry right now for all the kids in that school. Why can’t they just have a fun school dance and not be forced to dance with kids they don’t want to dance with? What if my daughter doesn’t feel safe with the boy who asks her?
This policy makes a lot of kids uncomfortable. The principal stated to me multiple times 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.
“That’s unacceptable,” she added, concluding the post. “Do better Rich Middle School.”
The story quickly made its rounds online after people commented on the policy.
Another mother, Keegan Connor Tracy, tweeted: “My daughter said her school has this policy for dances.”
“I told her unequivocally that she is under no obligation to obey this and they can deal with me if they think otherwise. Her body and her space is her own and the choice of whom she allows in is hers alone,” she added.
My daughter said her school has this policy for dances. I told her unequivocally that she is under no obligation to obey this and they can deal with me if they think otherwise. Her body and her space is her own and the choice of whom she allows in is hers alone. https://t.co/fwLFCk8qIb
— Keegan Connor Tracy (@keegolicious) February 29, 2020
Here’s how some other people responded:
Oh, hell no.
— Anel Lopez Gorham (@AnelLopezGorham) February 29, 2020
Yeah no. That’s teaching future women that we cannot say no. That we have to just deal. No. That school can suck it. Let my child come home and tell me they were forced to dance with someone they didn’t want to.
— •Spook• (@The_QueenRegal) February 29, 2020
Learning how to say and to accept a polite "no" to an invitation are fundamental, and this is a bad policy that will harm girls and boys.
— spookynameliz (@coolnameliz) February 29, 2020
And teaching the future men of the world that they are entitled to a yes when it comes to dealing with woman and being in their personal space. Both equally harmful and disgusting.
— Emma Elizabeth (@emma_elizabeth) February 29, 2020
Your body; your boundaries. Always, and no matter what.
— Callanite 🇬🇧🇺🇲🇨🇦 (@Callanite) February 29, 2020
I would definitely deal directly with the principal about this one.
— Nathaniel #DemsUnited2020 #Fight2020 (@nate_fight2020) February 29, 2020
It's a really stupid policy
— The Doctor (@delta8488) February 29, 2020