By Holly Williams, Current Staff
Attendance at the Charity Ball dance was down this year, with around 450 tickets sold instead of a usual 700. This significant drop in attendance may have come, in part, as a result of new school dance rules.
Planned by a committee of students, parents, and administrators, the new rules aim to encourage more appropriate conduct at school dances, beginning with the Charity Ball on February 15. Students who purchased tickets prior to the dance received a slip of paper outlining expected behavior and dress code. It was also made clear that a failure to follow these guidelines would result in warnings and then possible ejection from the dance.
“Everybody should be able to have a good time,” explained Ralph Schlass, assistant principal and a member of the new committee. “Dances are for everyone. We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable.”
Despite the good intentions, many students took issue with the new rules. The most contentious proved to be the required mid-thigh dress length for girls and the prohibition of provocative dance moves like grinding.
“I can’t believe they wouldn’t let me twerk anymore,” said West senior Ricky Gerber.
“I can’t believe they wouldn’t let me twerk.”
– Ricky Gerber, West senior
East junior Brandon Unger also felt strongly about these regulations. “It’s horrible, ridiculous,” he said.
“I believe it’s sucking the fun out of it,” added East senior Megan Drews. “There aren’t as many people here. The rules scared them.”
East sophomore Bella Jubran agreed. “It’s a high school, we need to let loose sometimes. I understand it’s uncomfortable for some people, but it’s just how we have fun. Some people choose to dance that way,” she said.
Others held just the opposite opinion.
“I think it’s a change that’s way overdue,” said West English teacher Pat McIntyre. “The rules aren’t there to make people have less fun, it’s to show respect for yourself and for the people around you.”
East senior Jean Crites said, “It’s a lot better than how it was.”
Additional changes to the dance included hiring a professional DJ, adding lighting to surround the field house, and inviting parent chaperones to supervise the event. Indeed, several parents volunteered to maintain order.
Carol Kreitzer, one such volunteer, rated the dance as a success, saying, “Everyone’s been pretty respectful. Good-natured, really.”
Schlass thought the same. “In 15 years, this is one of the best dances we’ve had. I think people are making good choices,” he said.
Only two students were asked to leave the dance due to behavioral incidents.
As for the continuation of the new rules, especially with the approach of Prom in May, Schlass said, “Our standing dance committee will meet again and talk about what went well and what we’ll change. We’ll keep trying to make it better.”
(Image: An adult chaperone observes student dancers at the Charity Ball on February 15. Photograph by Holly Williams.)