School criticised after forcing students to accept all dance offers at the ball
An American mother was shocked after her daughter's school introduced a policy that students have to say yes if they are asked to dance.
Natalie Richard from Utah told Fox 13 she learned of the rule while talking to her daughter about her school's upcoming Valentine's Day dance.
The girl, in her final year at Kanesville Elementary School, said her teachers had told her that all students attending the event would not be allowed to turn down an invitation to dance with another student.
Ms Richard assumed she had misunderstood, but when she called the school for confirmation, she was told her daughter was correct.
"The teacher said she has to say yes," she said. "She has to accept, and I said, 'Excuse me?'".
When she approached the principal of Kanesville Elementary to voice her concerns, she was told the rule had been in place for a long time and the school had never received any complaints before.
Lane Findlay, a community relations specialist for the Utah district, told Fox 13 that the policy is meant to teach students to be inclusive and polite.
"We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance," he said.
Ms Findlay believes there are healthier ways to teach children to accept others.
"It sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say 'yes', it sends a bad message to boys that girls can't say 'no'," she said.
"Psychologically, my daughter keeps coming to me and saying 'I can't say no to a boy'. That's the message kids are getting."
Other parents were also critical of the policy when Fox 13 posted about it on their Facebook page.
One commenter called it "terrible", while another said it sends the wrong message.
"Anyone should have the right to say no. Teaching children how to say no respectfully is a more important lesson."
Kanesville Elementary told Fox 13 that the rule will remain in place.