Cranston school committee passes resolution to address gender specific dances

Father-daughter dances won't be coming back to Cranston anytime soon, after the school committee affirmed Monday night that under Rhode Island law, they are illegal.

The committee did however pass a resolution, asking the General Assembly, to change the law and hopefully make them legal.

This latest school issue comes 7-months after the district was forced to take down the prayer banner in Cranston West High School.

About 60-people showed up at Monday night's school committee meeting.

And although most weren't happy that father-daughter dances were out of the picture, people seemed to agree that unless the law is changed, there's nothing that the school committee can do.

“We have you know issues with children not having books and not having the resources that they need, and this isn't really something that significant.” said Cranston parent Nadine McAllister.

“They're approaching it in the right way, they've made this resolution, they know what direction they want to go in, and that's the most important thing.” said Cranston resident Joanne Spaziano.

Gender specific dances have been illegal in Rhode Island for at least the last 10-years, but the issue was brought up earlier this year in Cranston.

The whole issue over the dances was brought up by a single mother who took issue with the gender specific nature of a dance that happened in May.

Even after contacting the ACLU the issue seemed to be resolved, until it was brought up again recently by Rhode Island Senate candidate Sean Gately.

Gately is running against Cranston school committee member Frank Lombardi. Gately took issue with the lack of action he felt Lombardi and other school committee members had made to address the issue of gender specific dances.

On Monday night, Gately thanked the committee for bringing up the dance issue during their meeting and said he supported their resolution to get the law overturned in the General Assembly.

The resolution to petition the General Assembly was passed unanimously.

It will now be passed on to members of Cranston's legislative delegation to present to the General Assembly.

It won't be acted on until this coming January, when the General Assembly, reconvenes.