Our recent poll found that the majority of people will not stop sending their children to Irish dancing in the wake of the three sexual abuse lawsuits

Three lawsuits alleging sexual abuse with the CLRG competitive Irish dancing community were filed on December 4 in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Read More: Male Irish dance teacher alleges sexual assault in re-filed lawsuits

Two male Irish dance teachers, one of whom is deceased, and two Irish dance schools were anonymized in the three lawsuits that also named CLRG, IDTANA, and the Mid Atlantic Region. 

The three male plaintiffs, two of whom were minors at the time of their alleged incidents, were also anonymized as Jack Doe, John Doe, and Pat Doe. Most of the alleged incidents occurred at Irish dance competitions or during Irish dancing practice.

While the nature of the lawsuits has many parents of Irish dancers concerned, other parents and Irish dance community members are keen to let both sides get their due process before any conclusions are made. Others aren't sure how to proceed.

In our recent poll, we wanted to see if the sexual abuse lawsuits would prevent you from sending your children to Irish dancing.

The majority, 78 percent of respondents, said that no, the lawsuits will not prevent them from sending their children to Irish dancing.

16 percent of respondents said that yes, the lawsuits will prevent them from sending their children to Irish dancing.

The remaining five percent said they weren’t sure yet.

Read More: Irish dance teachers allegedly sexually abused minors, claim two New Jersey lawsuits

Here are some of the responses we received:

No, the sexual abuse lawsuits will prevent me from sending my children to Irish dancing

Happens everywhere:

This type of situation happens in every instance - from school, to boy/girl scouts, to sports, to dancing.

No matter where you send your child these days you need to be there with them and pray they say something tight away

Then I’d have to keep them home from school, church, sports, other types of community added recreation- but I would need to educate them on what to be aware of and What’s not ok, how to protect themselves, how to help their friends, and how to report what doesn’t feel right.

It is a rare / one-off situation, with massive media attention that will drive correction of any limited issues in this regard and any minimal real concern people should have for the potential of these cases.  They can happen anywhere, churches, sports clubs, youth organizations, etc. Very few real predators, and with heightened awareness and prevention people should not be afraid to pursue these wonderful activities.

I would also have to not send my kids to church, school, Scouts, sports teams, theater groups etc.  this is not a problem exclusive to Irish Dance. All parents can do is pay close attention to what is going on around our kids and let them know they can come to us if anyone makes them uncomfortable.

Sexual abuse of male minorsin the Irish dancing communities has been rampant for some time.  As usual, the Irish turn a blind eye to it as we did with the clerical abuse in the Church in Ireland.  The whole, current Irish dance scene , as it relates to girls is marred by the outrageous dress, make-up, wigs, body bronzers, false eyelashes...while there is yet no allegation of sexual abuse against girls, the parents of thee dancing girls are projecting a sexual connotation and presentation of their daughters as cosmetic entities.  Shame on them.

I trust and respect my daughters teachers and have no reason not to. I have not stopped sending her to school everyday despite all of the mass shootings in schools and that risk is way higher than her being abused in a dance class being attended by 15 other dancers.

Parents responsibility

Sadly, the threat of sexual misconduct runs the gamut of activities; parents must be vigilant no matter what activity a child is in

I will be present at all sessions

There are always errors in the world, but the benefits out weigh the negative, but I will always be there for competitions.

These activities are important for children's development. It is important that the necessary due diligence and research is done by parents first. Dance schools need to have correct child welfare statements in place and carry out regular police/garda vetting checks on all staff.

My children will tell me all

My child was in Irish dance  from the age of 6. From my experience these children were always accompanied by family. My child was always by my side.  Safe

As to the sexual abuse of boys and minors, parents have not maintained parental control and responsibility for their boys.  Again, shame on the parents not exercising proper parental control and watch over their sons at all times. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.

Not all teachers:

It is not all dance teachers!! Great sport to be in. I did it for 25 years and never saw abuse, maybe verbal if you didn’t practice

It's a bad apple - not all the rest of our wonderful teachers and staff. Would you pull your child out of any sport activity or classroom if a teacher/coach in another State was an jerk?

One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole lot. This isn’t just an Irish dance issue, we could and have seen this abuse of power and trust across other sports. Does it shed light on the need for action and change, absolutely, but to blame the sport for the actions of one or two, does not make for a dangerous sport to avoid. The life lessons that my daughter has from being involved in this sport for over 10 years is immeasurable.

Not all teachers are bad. The guilty need to be severely punished to the full extent of the law.

Because right now it’s only one teacher who has done the sexual abuse.

Trust in their dance school and teachers

This occurs in ALL sports, dance and clubs. Parents need to teach their children age appropriately, what is okay and was is not and to create trust and great communication with their children.We never had an issue in three different Irish dancing schools during 14 years of dance.

Because I have faith in my child’s teachers for starters.  In addition, they practice what all adults should, which is to never have 1 adult alone with 1 child.  This prevents both abuse & allegations.

I trust the teachers in my own school. However, I do believe the victims who have filed the lawsuits.

I trust our schools teachers and they are all females.

My child does not have any interaction with male teachers and i have extreme faith in the integrity of our teachers.

Let justice play out first

Because we need to decide these things on a case by case basis, whether it is a soccer coach, Girl Scout leader or Irish dancing.

First: defendant is innocent until proven guilty.  Second it’s abuse male on male of a minor my daughters are over 18

They are allegations and you are innocent until proven otherwise. I have no qualms about sending my daughter to dance.

The bad still doesn’t outweigh the good

The crimes of a few won’t Make an impact on my family I regards to our love of Irish dance

Because the majority of the people involved in the Irish dance community are good upstanding people.

Not everyone can be tarred with the same brush

False accusations

Because the accusations are untrue and are an attempt by jealous rival schools to destroy a fantastic school and a wonderful teacher.

The accusations against the man are likely fabricated. In any case, if true, then who cares?...It would be only one bad egg out of 1000's of dance teachers.

One respondent said that while they are not removing their child from Irish dancing, they are heading to another organization named Rince Tuatha Nua (RTN):

Because I am sending my kids to a different org- Rince Tuatha Nua (RTN) which is literally translated to a New Dande organization.. it was founded to weed out politics and over the top makeup and wigs.. and the teachers have a good vetting process.

Read More: NJ Irish dance teacher addresses sexual abuse lawsuits allegations in open letter

Yes, the sexual abuse lawsuits will prevent me from sending my children to Irish dancing

True Irish dancing has been destroyed. The disgusting 'pageantry' wigs, make-up, tanned bodies, non-traditional blinged-out dresses is an anathema. Abuse allegations are the final straw. Irish Dancing authorities need to held accountable for degrading this art form and exposing children to undue stress at best and the horror of abuse at worst

Not enough being done to protect children.

The organizations need to wake up and put safety measures in place.  Parents and dancers have no voice or say in anything involved with irish dance.  Very backwards!

I fear placing my child in jeopardy

I am not confident CLRG will take appropriate action and hold those responsible accountable.   Too much secrecy and politics involved.

It's not a question of giving both sides a chance to have a hearing. I cannot and will not put my child's safety at the risk of chance.

Why would I put my child at risk by exposing her to it.

childs safety is paramount

Read More: Irish dance organizations CLRG, IDTANA respond to sexual abuse lawsuits

Not Sure if the sexual abuse lawsuits will prevent me from sending my children to Irish dancing

I do not have children, but hypothetically.....Whether or not I would feel comfortable sending my children to irish dance under CLRG will depend on 1) how CLRG responds to these allegations (their first statement was shameful) and 2) what CLRG knew about these allegations and how the allegations were handled. The case filing states that CLRG had some knowledge that one of the teachers may have been using a website to solicit sex from minors. I believe the case filing also states that CLRG previously prematurely dismissed claims of sexual misconduct by the accused teachers. If there is ANY indication that any of this is true, I would not allow my children to dance under CLRG

It's everywhere

More vetting and scrutiny of dance teachers. Anyone with a history should be banned

Read More: CLRG issues second statement about Irish dance sexual abuse lawsuits

If you have any information about the sexual assault allegations within the competitive Irish dancing community, you are urged to reach out to your local authorities immediately. Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP are handling the three lawsuits that have already been filed.

If you have a story about issues within competitive Irish dancing that you want to be highlighted, email Editors@IrishCentral.com. Sources can be kept anonymous where preferred.