Though tough, new dance policy cleans up unneeded behavior

November 20, 2009 — by Apeksha Sharma

As students geared up for the various activities associated with Homecoming last month, administrators armed themselves with flashlights, breathalyzers and a new, school-wide dance policy.

In the days before the dance, assistant principal Karen Hyde visited English classes to warn students about the problems with inappropriate dancing. She explained the horror some parent chaperones expressed about behavior during recent dances. Hyde, along with students in the leadership class, presented a list of rules on blue slips of paper, all of them surprisingly specific, not to mention graphic. Then she said administrators would punish students with a black mark on their hand for a first offense, followed by a call home on a second offense in which student have to explain their behavior. But the question going into Homecoming was: Would this be enough to influence a change in behavior among students?

Some students said the new policy felt like a joke at first, as students aren’t used to being given such harsh and embarrassing punishments for dancing and having a good time. A good portion of the shock may have also been caused by Hyde’s frank imitations of the now-illegal dance moves during her presentations.

But everyone should face facts: The policy is not asking too much of students. A clean school dance is all that the administration demands. As Hyde succinctly put it, “This is a school activity, not Club Ice.” Many forget that dances on campus are still subject to the school’s rules and that a request to not “tripod” is a fairly reasonable one. Perhaps it would be easier to say that the behavior in school dances should be similar to daily behavior during school. Going down on all fours in the middle of a biology lecture would undoubtedly be frowned upon.

However, student adherence to such a code deserves a certain degree of leeway when it comes to flashlight-wielding chaperones. However polite assistant principals Joe Bosco, Brian Safine and Hyde are as they wedge themselves into circles of dancers, their often-unwelcome invasions are still resented by many students who find themselves in the spotlight every five-or-so minutes.

The new policy proved to work surprisingly well at the Homecoming dance, as no students were given the humiliating task of demonstrating their moves to parents, or having one of the administrators do it for them. If a blue slip of paper can clean up the act on the dance floor, then more power to the administration.

This policy, though explicit and oddly specific, is not trying to limit the fun that dances provide, simply eliminating dancing that ceases to be dancing. It is just trying to appease all who attend the dances—parents, teachers, and, yes, students too. Although administrators may have gone too far when they invaded groups of dancers, the new code did work, and the dance was still a heck of a lot of fun.

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