Our story about an ongoing parent debate over dirty dancing at the Montgomery Blair homecoming dance prompted a lot of comments last week, many of them decrying helicopter parenting or insisting that kids will be kids.
But parent Alison Edwards suggests that change is not futile and it’s not just “old fogies” unhappy with the status quo. Many students, too, were turned off by the overheated moves on the dance floor, she said.
In her post on the school’s PTSA listserve, she wrote:
My 9th grade daughter went to the Homecoming Dance last Saturday night with two of her girlfriends, but they ended up leaving early, in large part because they felt uncomfortable with all the overtly sexual moves on the dance floor. They said that the chaperones did nothing to discourage this, and in fact they did not seem to be monitoring the students’ activities very closely at all.”
One of the girls in my daughter’s group noted the irony of encouraging decency by banning jeans, and then turning a blind eye to indecent behavior on the dance floor. It seems to be okay for kids to simulate sex acts in public as long as they are well dressed.
In the dozens of responses that followed, parents chimed in about lax monitoring and on over-crowded gym. With more than 1,000 tickets sold, the dance was bumpin,’ so to speak. Students reported crowd surfing, as well as grinding and general chaos.
Parents also questioned the power dynamics involved. Are we dealing with consenting adults here? Or are some of the guys - or girls - coming on too strong?
An advisory committee for the principal has been tasked with finding ways to make the next dance more inclusive. And some parents are holding out hope that Blair can host a more “classy and magical” event in the future.
“I realize that I cannot change society any more than I can hold back a wave in the ocean, but perhaps making it possible for my daughter to enjoy her school dances is an achievable target,” Edwards wrote in an e-mail.
She posted to the listserve one suggestion for the future:
Would it not be possible to have two DJs on the same night, one in the cafeteria and one in the gym, playing different styles of music? That is a solution I could support, even if I don’t personally approve of grinding. That way you’re not breaking up the party into two, but you are spreading out the crowd and giving kids like mine something to enjoy.
With 1,000 people each paying $15, I can’t imagine that we couldn’t cover the cost of two DJs, with the incremental additional cost of security and custodial services not that much greater since it’s all in the same facility at the same time.
You can sign me up to chaperone in the room with the more varied playlist--otherwise forget it, because my kid won’t come.
Your suggestions are welcome; please post them below.