Dang Dances And Darn Good DPW
What to love and hate about living in East Greenwich this week.
RANT: First Dodgeball, now parent-child dances and ballgames have been banned. Has the world gone crazy? Or is it just Cranston (if you missed the story, after a year in which they already battled to keep prayer – or at least a prayer banner – in school – the school system nixed all father-daughter dances/mother-son soccer matches in response to an ACLU suit that claimed they were in violation of state gender discrimination laws)?
The thing is, I have mixed feelings about similar father/daughter-mother/son events that take place in our own school community.
On one hand, they have a sweet nostalgic aura of simpler times that bring to mind town picnics, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on a play, and going down to the drugstore for a milkshake.
On the other hand, I sorta hate them. Because, let’s face it, those were pretty sexist times. And when you have an event devoted to boys playing sports and girls dancing and the unique aspect is that it is the opposite gender parent who accompanies them, well, it seems a little pre-Title IX and Glee Club. So there’s that.
But then there’s also the reality of our world today. I don’t know about you, but the families I know are as likely to have a single parent or plural moms and/or dads – step-parents as well as gay couples – at the helm as they are a single mom and dad. In that context, these old gender stereotyped activities are just that – old. And frankly, telling kids they can’t participate in an activity because their family model does not fit some throwback mold seems, not to put too fine a point on it, just plain dumb.
So I do get why School Committee hopeful Caroline Mark may have felt compelled to sign the ACLU letter – and wonder if all those who feel this is a good enough reason not to vote for her would have the same response if, say, she had signed a letter protesting the exclusion of African Americans or Protestants or gays or zombies or (insert your own group) from a school event. Because I am not sure I see how this is any different. A specific segment of society was being banned from attending something based on their gender and the segregation had nothing to do with safety (an argument that could be made for coed sports), modesty (which is why schools don’t have coed bathrooms and locker rooms) or logic (which is why men and women should never shop together).
Also, like Ms Mark, I don’t see any reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater and scrap the events altogether. Instead, why not take a page from the New! Improved! marketer’s book and just rename them as Special Person’s Dance/Soccer Match/Concert/Bake Off/what-have-you? After all, researchers have all but finger-pointed American families spending hardly any time together as the cause for everything from higher drug use to global warming. So anything that gets us together in any configuration has got to be a good thing.
But I’m warning you – mitts off my Mother’s Day breakfast in bed!
RAVE: Anyone who tried to navigate the streets early Wednesday morning had to swerve around broken branches, fallen trees and a road strewn with twigs and leaves.
OK, it wasn’t Louisiana after Isaac. Or even our town after Irene last year.
But it was still an impressive mess after a night of heavy winds and made the morning commute more than a little hazardous.
So hats off to our public works crew who were clearly on the job early. By the time I ventured out again, it was after lunch and the streets were as clean as a Hollywood movie set of suburbia.
I know, it seems like a little thing but we hear so much about what doesn’t work in government, it’s nice to see a department that is efficient. Remember, these are the same guys who built their new digs because they could do it cheaper and then moved themselves as well. Way to go, PW!