Should high schools sponsor dances?
I'm afraid that if anyone has been wondering whether I am an old man who is losing touch with the younger generation, I am about to convince them. But if anyone decides that is the case after this post, I want them to know that I am not alone.
I recently came to the conclusion that high schools should not sponsor dances. But I came to that conclusion after a discussion with my daughter-in-law, Kelly, and she is definitely not old and out of touch. She's 33-years-old, intelligent, beautiful, and she also happens to be a probation officer at a high school in Iowa. In the last few weeks we have both had the "pleasure" of chaperoning homecoming dances at our respective schools.
In 1992 I became the sophomore class advisor at our high school, and despite the fact that I have been more than willing to give the position up to anyone who wanted it, I have been the advisor ever since. My one big responsibility in that position is being in charge of the homecoming dance. Of all the responsibilities I have in my job, that is the one that I am least comfortable with. Running a dance is just not my cup of tea.
For the last several years, there have been things that have gone on at the dances that have made me uncomfortable as the guy in charge. "Sex on the Beach," "I'm Too Sexy for My Shirt," and songs like that have always gotten a huge response from the kids, and although that bothered me, I dismissed it as simply being part of teenaged culture. This year, however, I was more aware of them than ever. Back in August on one of my posts, Anonymous implied that high schools promote high school sex. In a reply to Anonymous, I scoffed at the idea. But as I walked through the mass of bodies grinding back and forth at our homecoming dance, and listened to the words of the songs (when I could understand them), I could not help but think of Anonymous, and I was grateful that he wasn't there.
When I talked to Kelly, I found that she felt a lot like I did. In fact, the high school principal at her high school had announced on the intercom on the day of their dance that there should be "no inappropriate dancing." Good luck! The most popular "dance style" among teenagers today is for the male to stand as close as possible behind the female and for both of them to grind up and down in a motion that reminds me of what a friend of mine once said about dancing: "Dancing is expressing vertically what is best expressed horizontally."
One might suggest that those in charge of a dance should outlaw that particular dance move. But is anyone naive enough to think that these young people with hormones oozing from them wouldn't come up with something that might even top that one? And trying to enforce anything like that would be impossible. Even at our small school, there are 300 kids massed together in a dark room. Trying to walk 20 feet from the outside of the mass toward the middle is almost impossible. If a chaperone at a dance was going to try to keep students from dancing too close to one another, or to keep them from dancing "inappropriately," that chaperone would soon begin to feel like the little Dutch boy.
I do not mean this as a condemnation of our teenagers today. Sex is a huge part of our culture, and kids are constantly bombarded with it by our media. They are at a stage of their lives where that has to sound pretty darned good. The day of the sock-hop is gone; the day of the grinder is here. I'm also not arguing that kids should never be able to dance, but I am arguing that schools should not be in the business of sponsoring dances and the behavior that is bound to occur.