Staff Ed: Parents raise unnecessary concerns about freaking

November 17, 2008 — by Ben Clement, Alex Sclavos and Kelly Lamble

After the recent Homecoming dance, some parent chaperones expressed outrage at the manner in which students chose to dance, a form commonly known as “freaking,” a sexually suggestive form of dancing. While this style of dancing may be offensive to parents, parents should understand that there is no way to change teen culture.

Inappropriate dancing is everywhere. It is a huge part of mainstream entertainment and is prevalent on TV through music videos on channels like MTV and VH1. When teens are influenced so strongly by different forms of media, parents can hardly be surprised when their children emulate what they see on TV at dances.

Trying to stop a certain kind of dancing may give parents peace of mind, but it will have negative effects for the school. If the administration tries too hard to regulate what students can and cannot do when dancing, attendance at school events will plummet. The school already has enough problems generating school spirit, and high school should be about the experience. This means that enforcing unrealistic rules at dances will only further harm the poor state of school spirit. There is no way to change an entire generation’s culture, so parents should adopt another method instead: if you don’t want to see how students dance, don’t come to the dances.

The amount of concern over a simple type of dancing come from the fact that Saratoga is a sheltered community, a term that not only applies to students, but to their parents as well. Other public schools located in lower income areas have dancing that is far more provocative than what parents deem inappropriate at Saratoga High dances, yet no one makes a fuss at these schools.

The dancing at Saratoga High is worse only in comparison to private schools that are traditionally stricter about dancing. Many private schools will often go to great lengths to keep their dances “clean,” which hurt their dance attendance, but at the same time are understandable because many parents send their children to private schools for the wholesome, religious values they offer. Parents who wish for the same restraint at Saratoga High should not expect it: Saratoga is a public school and cannot be held to the same standard that private schools maintain for dances.

Overprotective parents need to realize that inappropriate dancing is not the most serious problem faced at here. The school energy would be better spent focusing on more important problems, such as eliminating drinking at school functions. If the administration continues to enforce a no alcohol policy at dances, parents should be content that their children are able to have fun in a safe, monitored environment.

In comparison to the more serious problems that the administration is forced to deal with, inappropriate dancing should not be a priority, because it isn’t harming anyone, and it is an unstoppable part of modern teen culture.

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