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Daddy-Daughter Dances Renew Debate On NYC Schools' Gender-Neutral Policy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Daddy-daughter dances are a thing of the past for New York City's public schools thanks to a rule put in place years ago that's back in the headlines once more after several schools made plans to defy the Department of Education.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he thinks the dances are beautiful, but he made clear Wednesday he's standing by the DOE rule that forbids them.

"The goal is to create something everyone could participate in," he told CBS2's Jessica Moore.

MORE: Officials Postpone School's Daddy-Daughter Dance Due To NYC's Gender-Neutral Policy

In a statement to CBS2, the DOE said: "Father-daughter dances or mother-son dances can exclude certain students and types of families, and may also be inconsistent with laws that prohibit exclusion on the basis of sex or gender, and are therefore not permissible."

The department added that the policy itself isn't new, in fact it's a chancellor's regulation from 2013 requiring schools to make all school activities gender-neutral and inclusive to all students.

Some parents say being politically correct is killing quality time with their daughters.

"It's a father-daughter dance, not a grandmother slash son slash daughter dance," one woman told CBS2.

But what about female students with two mothers? Or ones whose father's have passed away or don't live at home?

"As a former teacher, I think it's a good idea," Brooklyn resident Clara Kitroser said.

Others say they disagree, saying girls can bring uncles or even friendly cops who volunteer to fill in.

"Why shouldn't someone who doesn't have a daddy or a different kind of daddy bring that? It's not about a daddy, it's about having someone," Upper West Side resident Jeffrey Moss said.

With gender-neutral bathrooms and a renewed crackdown on father daughter dances, some parents are concerned about how far reaching the DOE's gender-neutral policies really are.

"We just want to respect all our students," de Blasio said, adding that each school community should decide how to best implement the DOE's policy of inclusion. The mayor stopped short of saying father daughter dances would be allowed.

The department tells CBS2 schools are allowed to hold dances if they are off campus and sponsored by an outside organization, such as the Parent Teacher Association.

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