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It's No Longer A Rule That Students At This School Have To Say "Yes" When They Are Asked To Dance

Parents pushed back against the policy.

Posted on February 14, 2018, at 2:51 p.m. ET

Natalie Richard took issue with a rule at her sixth-grade daughter's Valentine's Day dance — that tweens were not allowed to say "no" if someone asked them to dance.

Fox 13 / Via

Richard's child attends Kanesville Elementary school in Ogden, Utah.

Several schools within the district host the dance every year, attendance is voluntary, and the sixth-graders are given cards to write down who they'd like to dance with.

"Students are instructed to select classmates to dance with and to write their names on the card," the Weber School District explained to BuzzFeed News in a press release.

"Half of the selections are girl's choice and the other half are boy's choice, and students can't dance with the same person more than once," it read.

"Students are also told by their teacher that if a classmate asks to be on their card, they should be polite and respectful, and agree to dance with that person. This applies to all students regardless of gender."

Richard wasn't happy that students, like her daughter, didn't have the option to say "no" to a dance.

Fox 13 / Via

“[It] sends a bad message to girls that girls have to say 'yes,' [and it] sends a bad message to boys that girls can’t say 'no,'" the mom told Fox 13.

Lane Findlay, a community relations specialist for the district, said the rule was meant to encourage students to be "respectful" and "polite" to their peers.

Fox 13 / Via

"We want to promote kindness, and so we want you to say yes when somebody asks you to dance," he told Fox 13.

It wasn't just the mom who was upset over the policy. Other people expressed outrage after news of the policy spread. "That gave me the chills," one person said of the rule.

@leahmcelrath That gave me chills. Teaching girls from a very young age that you can not say no because you don't w…

"Excuse me?!"

@leahmcelrath Excuse me?! No, no, no... No child should be forced to have physical contact with anyone if they don…

@laura_hudson #BishPlease this is a ploy created to normalize rape culture. My daughter can say no to ANY BOY with…

This person said that he "learned a lot from rejection."

@laura_hudson That’s funny. I learned a lot from rejection. Plus sometimes people are jerks and you shouldn’t have to dance with them.

However, on Monday, the district announced that it had changed its Valentine's Day dance policy.

"We certainly understand the concern and would never want to promote a mindset where students don’t feel like they have the option to say no," the district said.

Now schools in the district have been told to "eliminate any sort of language in the instructions surrounding these dances that would suggest a student must dance with another student."

People were happy to hear that the district had abandoned the policy, like this person who said she was "so glad" to read that the rules had changed.

@CNN 🤦🏼‍♀️Glad I read the whole story before I fired off my comment 🙃. Also glad to see the rules for the dance cha…

"The power of saying something," someone said of the change.

@AllenWatson23 The power of saying something. Thank you and some day all those young girls will thank you also.


A headline was revised to clarify that the policy applied to all students, regardless of gender.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.