Before Homecoming Day arrived, I knew I would inevitably be disappointed. I even planned my evening so I would only be at the actual event for one hour, which was sufficient to catch a couple of good songs, and hang out with my friends, but not exhaust my patience.
However, I was unaware that I would have been better off staying outside in the lobby than actually buying a ticket to enter, for instead of the promised one gymnasium of lights, basically the entire dance area was lit up.
Now, by no means is this a plea to the administration to facilitate a nightclub atmosphere where students can do whatever they want. I actually applaud the school for finally taking action against the inappropriate behavior of some students.
Trust me, based on my previous experiences at school dances, nothing is more uncomfortable than when you’re trying to have fun with your friends and other students who are dancing provocatively interrupt you. What I see and hear every day in the hallways is disturbing enough. I didn’t need those events to be further brought to fruition in my free time.
So last year I was actually supportive of the addition of extra administrators to put some restraint on the student body, and when I heard of the changes to this year’s Homecoming, I wasn’t too concerned. In my opinion, a few lights would by no means hurt my experience. If anything, it would allow me to avoid contact with people I couldn’t have seen previously.
However, what I walked into on Sept. 22 was a bit excessive. I know that inappropriate dancing has been an issue in recent years, especially due to parents now being aware of what occurs, and a quick Google search tells me that CHS is not alone in this problem. Numerous schools across the nation have had to take measures against provocative behavior, even resulting in a “Footloose” style shutdown of some schools’ dances.
However, I feel that there are smaller, but equally effective, measures that could be implemented to combat this issue,without taking away from the dance’s environment. For example, at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, IL., the school implemented a system of wristbands, where each dancegoer is required to wear a wristband and if an administrator catches a student behaving inappropriately the wristband is taken away. The second time the student violates this rule, he or she is evicted from the dance.
This system clearly outlines a simple system of discipline for students, while not drastically changing the atmosphere they are accustomed to. It is also better planned then simply turning on all the lights, and could have saved the administration from having to experiment with these policies. If implemented here, it would be a better-accepted solution.
At Lake Zurich High School in Illinois, the administration sent a letter to parents and students explicitly stating a new dance policy that would not tolerate the “dance style known as grinding.” Even with this outright ban on inappropriate dancing, ticket sales at the high school were not significantly affected. If the school had been clear with its policy regarding the topic, I’m sure the Homecoming dance would not have been such a surprise to the student body.
Although my Homecoming night turned out to be no better or worse than usual, I know this new policy has caused some students to rethink going to the Homecoming dance altogether. While I fully understand that administration has to address the issue of inappropriate dancing, if milder policies had been more gradually implemented, I know I, as well as most of the student body, would be much more accepting of it.
Just as stressed in the staff editorial, I believe that if communication between administration and students had been stronger, the surprise that was Homecoming this year would have been replaced by acceptance, and both staff and students could have properly enjoyed the festivities.