New dance policy threatens “dirty dancing” trend

By Wesley Bauer | Editor-in-Chief

Body revealing attire and provocative dancing have members of Associated Student Body (ASB) looking into devising policies in an attempt to clean up school sponsored dances.

After the annual Homecoming dance in October, some students and faculty members were upset by the uninhibited style of dress and dance that occurred there. Students may argue they pay to attend the dance in addition to all the other expenses involved with it and therefore should be allowed to dress and dance how they wish. However, since dances like Homecoming are school sponsored, they are subject to school rules and policies. This is exactly where the problem lies; there is no current policy to deal with dancing and attire deemed “inappropriate” by some. As ASB has looked into the sensitive issue, members have identified some areas they want to focus on in the policy they will eventually draft.

One concern some students have, including junior Juan Caballero, is the occurrence of dancing between older and younger students. Caballero said he saw older people dancing with younger students at Homecoming and did not approve of it. Intimate dancing between two students with an age difference of more than three years, or a student who is 18 and one who is not, raises concerns of sexual misconduct. This is possibly the most difficult thing to prevent at dances. Students are currently allowed to bring guests who do not attend MHS to dances with them if they acquire the required guest pass from the Dean’s Office prior to the dance. Perhaps this guest pass system could be more heavily enforced and include an age limit for those guests in relation to the MHS student they are accompanying.

Student wardrobe choices at Homecoming over the last few years have become more and more out of hand. Some girls wore dresses in which a large amount of their breasts, stomach and thighs were showing at Homecoming, which many would consider unacceptable. Similarly, some of the boys take off their shirts as the dance progresses because they get overheated while dancing. Just as scantily clad girls can make some people feel uncomfortable, bare chested boys can likewise have the same effect. Senior and ASB President Peyton Babb believes this could be avoided by preparing for the dance beforehand. She said an easy fix would be for the boys to wear a short-sleeve shirt under their dress shirts. A new policy with specific requirements for what constitutes acceptable dance attire could take care of these issues.

The generational trend of grinding has led to explicit dancing between students at the dances. The provocative dance itself, combined with unsuitable garments, can make people at dances feel very uncomfortable with their peers behaving in such an unbridled manner. An idea the ASB is considering for cleaning up the dancing include smaller things such as playing less provocative music at dances. However, a more aggressive approach being discussed would be for chaperones to mark a red “X” on a student’s hand every time they are caught breaking a rule. If a student accumulates a preset amount of these marks, they would be kicked out of the dance. Though the “X” policy is an attempt to combat grinding, it is unlikely to work. If an adult picks a student out of a crowd and grabs their hand to mark with a red pen, conflict is bound to arise.

MHS dances definitely need to be cleaned up, but ASB should avoid making any drastic changes. The dances typically only occur three times a year, and it would be a shame to discourage student attendance by radically altering the rules. At the same time, students need to be more conscious of their behavior at dances. After all, they are high school dances, not raves. Most importantly, students who care about this issue or who are worried about how new policies may restrict their freedom should be contributing to the creation of ways to make the dances acceptable to everyone involved with them. Students should share their ideas with ASB now, while policies are being discussed and their voices can still be heard.