Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taking a Break From School Dances

This morning I announced to students that we are cancelling school dances for the remainder of the year. The Prom in May will be the only exception.

I arrived at this decision following considerable feedback from parents, faculty and staff, and students. All of this feedback was directed at the 'style' of dancing common among students in high schools across the nation; students and adults alike are uncomfortable with 'grinding' as this style of dance is called. It is inappropriate, demeaning, and, does not represent our values in both school and community.

I do not blame students: they are reflecting the increasingly coarse, vulgar popular culture they inhabit. We as adults, however, have a responsibility, a moral obligation I would assert, to stand-up and convey the message to students that this practice is not permissible and cannot be condoned.

We have tried to convey this message in the recent past with little change for the better. We need to take a break in order to: 1) get  the message across that we are serious 2) give student leadership a chance for sustained conversation on this topic with the student body and 3) discuss proposals for different, appropriate dance structures and guidelines in the future.

I ask you as parents/guardians to discuss this decision with your student. I ask for your support and that you encourage your student to be a positive force in conversation as we reflect on where to go with dances in the future.

Thank you,

Jeff Maher