American Scene: R.I. Schools say dad-daughter dances violate law

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CRANSTON — A Rhode Island schools superintendent has ended the district’s father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames to comply with a state gender discrimination law, prompting some to complain that the move is an example of political correctness gone awry.

Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung said Tuesday he was “utterly disappointed” that the Cranston schools superintendent nixed the events in what the mayor called “the name of political correctness” after the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union complained last spring.

The ACLU complaint in May came on behalf of a single mother whose daughter had no father in her life but was precluded from attending the father-daughter dance, ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown said Tuesday.

In a letter to school organizations last month, Superintendent Judith Lundsten said that school district attorneys reviewing the complaint found that, while federal gender discrimination laws exempt such events, Rhode Island law does not.

TEXAS

Town’s rental ban to get second hearing

DALLAS — A Dallas suburb’s long, expensive fight to ban illegal immigrants from renting homes will get perhaps its most important hearing Wednesday before a largely conservative group of judges with the power to influence the national immigration debate.

Farmers Branch was sued four years ago after it passed an ordinance allowing the city building inspector to evict any illegal immigrant renters. Its case will now go before the full membership of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comprised of 10 active judges appointed by Republican presidents and just five by Democrats.

So far, no court has allowed Farmers Branch to enforce any form of the ordinance.

PENNSYLVANIA

New civil suits allege priest abuse

PHILADELPHIA — Eight new civil lawsuits allege the Archdiocese of Philadelphia covered up child sex assault allegations made against seven Roman Catholic priests.

The lawsuits were filed Tuesday by a total of nine plaintiffs.

Michael McDonnell and Andrew Druding said the abuse they suffered as children still haunts them. They said they wanted to go public to help other victims.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said their clients decided to come forward when former archdiocesan official Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty of child endangerment and received a three- to six-year prison sentence. The 61-year-old is the first U.S. church official convicted of endangering children by keeping predator priests in ministry.

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