The sensible attempt by the Loudoun County schools to end public displays of sexually explicit dancing at school events ["Loudoun's New Move: the Tussle," front page, Oct. 22] highlighted the confusion about freedom of speech, which is constitutionally guaranteed, and freedom of expression.

Laws, morality, social norms and simple etiquette limit our expression all the time. As the virtues of moderation and public demeanor become increasingly viewed as roadblocks to the expression of our baser nature, the more nearly impossible it becomes to inculcate in children, teenagers and adults the notion that human beings have inherent dignity.

The teenagers' disingenuous argument that adults misunderstand "the grind" and that it is simply a harmless dance with no sexual content does not wash. Adults have been teenagers and know the sophistry teenagers will use to justify methods for getting a thrill.

I was chaperoning a dance at my son's high school in the mid-1990s when a couple commenced "the grind." There was no mistaking what it was about. I was incensed by the discomfort that this couple instilled in the evening, yet I was not permitted to put a stop to it because the school administration and adults had abrogated their responsibility to correct such tawdry public behavior.

Parents who encourage their children to protest efforts to correct a situation that long ago went beyond the bounds of good taste will exact a heavy price in society. As those children become adults, they will probably be unable to distinguish free speech from bad taste and exhibitionism. My kudos to Loudoun County for attempting to stop an obvious problem that has been allowed to go on far too long.

WILLIAM P. COLLINS

Alexandria