Respect Diversity + Inclusion

School cancels ‘Guys & Dolls’ dance over gender inclusivity concerns

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Story at a glance

  • A New Hampshire school has canceled its annual “Guys & Dolls” dance following complaints that the event was not inclusive of all genders.
  • The Lincoln Akerman School’s PTO, which organized the dance, also canceled the annual “Lads & Ladies” event, for boys and their mothers.
  • Parents pushed back on the PTO’s decision, calling it “unnecessary.”

A New Hampshire K-8 school this week canceled its annual “Guys & Dolls” dance after administrators received complaints that the event wasn’t gender inclusive.

In a letter sent to families Tuesday, the Lincoln Akerman School’s parent teacher organization said the dance, which was to be attended by girls and their dads or other male guardians, was being canceled over “concerns” the event excluded some students and their family members, the New Hampshire Journal reported.

The school’s annual “Lads & Ladies” event, for boys and their mothers, was also canceled, according to the letter.

“The Lincoln Akerman School PTO has received some concerns regarding the lack of gender inclusivity surrounding the Guys & Dolls and Ladies & Lads events at our school,” The PTO letter reads, according to the New Hampshire Journal, which received a copy. “These long-standing events at LAS have traditionally been separated by gender, but with the asterisk that anyone is welcome.”


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Organizers said they hoped to open the dance to the entire school next year, as it’s not currently possible to safely hold an indoor event that large due to COVID-19 concerns.

One of the primary complaints launched by parents over the gendered events was that while a dance was organized for female students and their fathers, male students and their mothers engaged in activities like fishing trips, reinforcing gender stereotypes.

“The boys had a much different event than the girls did,” PTO Vice President Candace Cimon admitted in an interview with Seacoast Online.

Other parents were angered by the group’s decision to cancel the events.

At a school board meeting this week, Charles Shannon, whose young daughter attends Lincoln Akerman School, said canceling the dance over gender inclusivity concerns was “ludicrous.”

“This is not going to help anything here, this is ludicrous,” he said. “I spend a lot of time away from my daughters … I was really looking forward to [the dance] but now I don’t get to have that. Now, I’m no longer included.”

“To cancel because of gender identity, I can’t imagine that being a valid reason,” Tony Taylor, who has two children at the school, told Seacoast Online. “Absolutely unnecessary.”


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