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Our times: ‘A father-daughter dance doesn’t represent who our parents are anymore’

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/06/17

A snapshot of our world today, from The New York Times: 

The annual father-daughter dance at Benito Martinez Elementary School in El Paso is a highlight on the school calendar. Candy-color tablecloths camouflage cafeteria tables, and strobe lights transform the gymnasium into a dance floor. The girls, from kindergarten through fifth grade, don dresses and pose for pictures with their dates. Many of the 300 guests stay for the grand finale: a slow dance to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses.”

This year’s welcome sign, directing attendees to cotton candy and a dinner catered by Chick-fil-A, included an addendum. Above the word father in the all-caps declaration “Father Daughter Dance” was a list of other possibilities: “Uncle/Grandpa/Brother/Friend.”

“We tried to make sure that even if the girls didn’t have a dad at home or a dad that could make it, that we had somebody who would step in,” said Greg Hatch, the school’s principal.

Father-daughter dances, long-held and much-celebrated events across the country, are shuffling to get in line with the times, which more frequently include same-sex couples, single mothers and other less traditional family arrangements. Many schools are permitting other male role models to attend. Others are going so far as to change the name entirely, ditching any mention of “father”— and in some cases “daughter” too.

At Crocker/Riverside Elementary School in Sacramento, the event is now known as a “family dance,” with students able to bring adults of their choosing. School officials made the decision shortly before the annual dance last fall, when a handful of parents complained. “We have a lot of single parents, two moms, two dads,” said Patrick Kuske, president, at the time, of the parent-teacher association. “A father-daughter dance doesn’t represent who our parents are anymore.”

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