A mother in northern Utah is pushing for changes to a middle school policy she says is bound to create "another generation who feels that rape culture is completely normal." Alicia Hobson says her daughter Azlyn, a sixth grader at Laketown's Rich Middle School, came home angry after a Valentine's Day dance, complaining that she was forced to partner with a boy who'd previously made her feel uncomfortable. Azlyn had refused the boy's offer to dance, only to be told by Principal Kip Motta that "no" wasn't an option, the 11-year-old tells the Salt Lake Tribune. "He was like, 'You guys go dance. There's no saying no in here,'" Azlyn says. "I just didn't like it at all." In an email, Hobson told Motta that her daughter "ALWAYS has the right to say no," while "boys don't have the right to touch girls or make them dance with them."
Motta tells KSTU that male and female students are asked to accept all invitations at school dances—part of a physical education curriculum in which students are taught various dance styles, per the Washington Post—so that no kids "feel like they are left out." He adds students have avoided dancing with certain people in the past by communicating with him in advance. But Hobson counters that "in life, you get rejected all the time." Students "need to get used to it and learn how to cope with their frustration," she writes on Facebook. "We want to protect every child's right to be safe and comfortable at school," but "we also believe that all children should be included," Motta tells the Tribune, noting the policy will be reviewed. An elementary school in Ogden rescinded a similar policy after a parent complaint in 2018, per the Post. (Read more middle school stories.)