— -- A single mother in Georgia said she was banned from attending her six-year-old girl's elementary school father-daughter dance after she tried to go dressed up like a man.
Amy Peterson said her daughter, Gracie, was looking forward to having her mom play the role of her father, given that her dad is out of the picture, ABC affiliate WSB reported on Monday. But the school in Henry County, Georgia, forbade them from attending the annual dance.
"To me, I’ve identified myself as her father and her mother because that’s what I’ve done for six years," Peterson told WSB. "She was okay with it. She was excited that her friends were going to get to see this."
Peterson said she filed paperwork a month ahead of last Friday's dance to let the school know that she would be attending.
But Peterson said she received a phone call from the school’s principal about an hour before the dance telling them not to come, according to WSB.
"She [the principal] said, 'No. I forbid you to come and if you show up we will turn you away,'" Peterson said, recalling the conversation. "How do you explain that to a 6-year-old? You can’t go to a dance because you don’t have a male role model in your life?"
Peterson said she believes the school handled the situation poorly.
The Henry County school district defended its decision in a statement.
"The school is cognizant that different dynamics exist across households in our school system," the statement read. "There are multiple parent engagement events and opportunities to participate with their kids annually at this school in an effort to make that connection and build school spirit."
But Peterson said the policy makes children like Gracie feel left out and compared the school's behavior to bullying.
"They're already being bullied. Why be bullied by the school too?" Peterson said. "Why is she being punished because she doesn’t have a dad?"