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Debate Erupts Over Bump-and-Grind Dancing at Plymouth-Canton P-CEP Homecomings

On Patch and Facebook, people are exchanging opinions (and some debate) over what to do about high school students and dirty dancing.

The issue of so-called dirty dancing at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools' recent high school homecoming has from parents including some who complained at Tuesday's school board meeting and one who wrote a letter to Plymouth Patch asking parents to join in demanding decency.

One Patch reader, identified only as Cupsandmagnets, wrote "Our daughter went to the Homecoming dance with one of her friends and the same thing was happening there. They were both so disgusted, they left after twenty minutes. There has to be an easy solution to correct this problem. Hoperfully, part of that solution starts at home with the parents."

Parents are also debating the issue on Canton Patch's Facebook page. Here is an excerpt from the comments:

"Unfortunately this is not something new and not something contained at . My daughter graduated in 07 and said it was happening at all of the dances when she went to the Park. Not that it makes it right, but it was happening back when I went to high school in a different school system," Heide Leskun wrote on Facebook.

Brenda Yoder suggested the dances are too large. (Editor's note: Even before the three homecomings, the school district had begun limiting dances to students who attend P-CEP.)

"When you have that many kids packed into a venue you will get a segment that behave badly," Yoder wrote, adding that she isn't sure "what the answer is" but her son "has no desire to attend these events because of these kinds of things."

John C. Nichols wrote to suggest "The staff and volunteers should have ejected the students on the spot."

Denise Richard Parko wrote that she chaperoned at the homecoming dance and "was horrified" by what she saw while watching the dancers, including some so skimpily clad, she wrote, she saw "butt cheeks and even crotch. The dresses on about 15% of the girls were very inappropriate!!"

Pointing fingers

While Jim Visnaw and others said it's not the school's fault fingers are being pointed — "I put most of the blame on the parents that allow their kids to wear 'explicit' clothing," Visnaw wrote. "These parents also haven't taught their children what is appropriate behavior. Aren't the chaperones supposed to discourage this behavior?"

Parko pointed out that in chaperones were assigned to block off hallways and serve refreshments. "I went in on my own and it sounds like others did too" she wrote.

Amy Kennedy suggested finding some kind of multi-level strategy "... and if we could give them back a great memory of homecoming dances where they are having appropriate fun and a night of dressing up and elegance — that would be such a gift for them.

Stephanie Phares Stoliker wrote that she is "completely disappointed at the lack of consequences these kids received. When did this kind of behavior become acceptable to other adults??? There should be a "zero tolerance" policy (and not just on paper, but followed through with at the actual functions)!!"

Seeking a middle ground

Annette Masserant saw more middle ground, writing, "This type of dancing is everywhere — TV, movies, internet you name it. The trick is how to keep it at an acceptable level because I don't think parents or school officials can stop it."

Former Rockette Lisa Miller Kolb suggested re-assessing the dress code. "As a former Rockette, I know that the 'fingertip length' of a skirt is easily fudged. A simple roll back of the shoulders and 'fingertip length' is barely covering one's booty! Now, as a parent, the guideline should be 'X' number of inches above the knee. I'm not saying they need to dress like nuns, but preferably not like street walkers either."

Kim Harper wrote that "this kind of stuff should not be tolerated and it needs to be addressed severely … before prom comes around."

One student's opinion

Meanwhile, back on Plymouth and Canton Patch home pages, one recent P-CEP graduate offered this:

Joshua Bair noted he is studying the science of Business Health Administration at Central Michigan University, "and yes, I agree that some students take it too far, but wake up already. They are teenage high school students who are at their homecoming. Can you admit that when you were a 17 year old, you never did anything that would be considered disgusting by your own parents? Chances are you were doing the same exact same thing back when you were in high school, so do not criticize the school officials for you trying to control other parents children. I did all of the exact same things these kids did and PCEP was one of the best experiences of my entire life. I would have not gone to any other high school. You can be overprotective over your own child, but do not ruin these kid's high school experience because of your own middle-aged morals. Let the kids be kids. Let them experience and learn on their own and loosen the reigns. Restricting your children will only hinder there chances of being ready for the real world. It's high school, so let them have fun."

Cupsandmagnets responded by writing, in part, "No one is trying to create a 'Footloose' no dancing policy. But if the students who are paying for the dresses and tickets, etc. are embarrassed by the behavior of many of their classmates, then their is in fact a bigger issue to deal with here.'

Mike October 14, 2011 at 01:22 AM
What about the sex on the dance floor? My kid said it was pretty scary in the middle.
Cupsandmagnets October 14, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Geez Mike, Your friend Joshua Bair says let the kids have a good time. I mean come on, didn't you have sex with girls on the dance floor at your high school dances ?! Don't place so many restrictions on these poor kids !
Amy October 14, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Chaperones and school staff do have both the authority and the ability to enforce reasonable standards, pretty much the same way parents could handle a group of teens in their home. First step - warn inappropriate students and/or send them home. Second step - if there are several groups of inappropriate dancers, too many to speak with individually - turn on the lights and turn off the music. They will get the point. Try again, and if it continues to be out of hand, end the dance for the night. My hope is that if/when the schools take this kind of approach, there will not be outraged parents upset because their children were sent home or the dance was "ruined" by school staff or chaperones enforcing appropriate behavior.
bridget October 14, 2011 at 02:59 AM
you don't have to be apart of the big crowed at homecoming i go to all three each year. i went into the crowed all of once and i hated it. that i my personally opinion. i convince my friends to hang out and dance with me out side of the crowed and have our own fun. parents shouldn't let their kids not go because of the dancing because you don't have to grind each other or what ever my friends do . the dancing is not what homecoming is about. it is about having fun and goofing off.
Mike October 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Yes Joshua has a bit of growing up to do, and figuring out what responsibility really is. Back just after we discovered Fire and the Round Wheel, dancing was dancing. Sex was after the dance, not in the middle of the dance floor. Perhaps Video cameras should be employed so the parents of out of control kids can see what they are doing in public.
ThinkCritically October 14, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Here we have a well-intentioned system that has fatal design flaws that lead to this behavioral decline. Turns out the system is a very slow social machine, producing some occasional good results, but lots of bad outcomes. Kids are taken from their parents early on and stuck with other kids of the same age. Have you ever taken a moment to think about what kind of social disadvtange that is, and the types of problems it creates?I've always been amazed for those that think the cold unloving school has priority over parents, and some don't think the school has its hands on the kids early enough. Public schools are a poorly supervised environment where all of society's worst attributes are emphasized, whether that is grinding on the dance floor, drug abuse, or even blatent dishonesty. Year after year, in an environment that comingles education and social blight, kids start off well, but start to decline, because they are given ample opportunity to decline, and peer reenforcements for bad decisions. School authorities are gaged by political correctness, and frequently enforce a world view that is in direct conflict with what's at home. Kids develop skill for playing their parents to get away with bad choices. Who should be surprised that the public school factory produces a group of low class Internet porn culture, getting worse with each generation.
Amy October 14, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I would like to know this as well.
Amy October 14, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Bridget - I agree with you. Many, probably most, of the students are reasonable and responsible. All the more reason to hope that school staff can solve the problems.
RedWings1340 October 17, 2011 at 08:07 PM
I graduated from P-CEP 3 years ago and can say that almost 80% of the students at the dances danced this way; it was something to be expected upon purchasing your ticket. I remember hearing from my younger sister when she was in middle school that kids were dancing like this at the dances where kids wore relatively normal clothing, not skimpy dresses and opened buttoned-down shirts. While I understand how parents are upset with what goes on at these dances, I can almost assure you that if you stop allowing them to dance like this at the homecoming dance itself, the energy will just be carried over into an after party where even more questionable behavior takes place. While I was participating in this dancing it wasn't seen as something sexual, it was just how we danced - and yes - some students did take it to the extreme, but there are always a few kids who take it too far. Hearing my sister's description of the dances now has me mortified mainly because I don't want to think of my little sister seeing the same things I did. It's unfortunate that this is becoming such a hot topic because ultimately the students will suffer the most. Students at P-CEP have already had pep rallies taken away for homecoming weekend, don't make it dances, too. Like Josh, I had some great years at P-CEP and some of my fondest memories are from homecoming. The parents of the students at P-CEP should realize how fortunate they are to send their kids to a school as unique as P-CEP.
DownUpside1 October 18, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Allowing a problem to continue out of fear of it getting worse is no way to resolve things. No parent can ever truly manage all of the events of an after party. I would hope that we all realize that. The issue here is that our children are attending a school sponsored function and being allowed to behave badly and then getting excuses when we ask to know why it is allowed to continue. I agree with the poster above who suggested turning on the lights and off the music when actions go outside the bounds of rules (which should be made clear at the time of ticket purchase). If someone's idea of a good time is to simulate sex in a public setting (a public school no less), then they don't have to purchase the ticket. A public school is not the place for that kind of behavior!
Kathy Alkire October 19, 2011 at 03:22 PM
My daughter saw that someone had left a bowel movement in the middle of the SALEM dance floor. Who does that? NOT FUNNY
Tina Waldrep October 26, 2011 at 06:28 AM
WE went to the schoolboard meeting again tonight to find out what they have begun to do about this, since we brought it to their attention at the last meeting 2 weeks ago. There were about 15 parents there, maybe more. The board will not dialogue with citizens, but we sat through 2.5 hours of dry business, to talk to them about this afterward. The response was--present this to the superintendent, Mr. Jeremy Hughes. But when we asked Mr. Hughes (who was present), to meet with us, he was not interested, but told us to go thru the proper channels! What are the proper channels to go thru when our kids are having sex on the dance floor and dancing in feces while school administrators stand by and watch? Everyone can read what people have posted here that this has been going on for YEARS...My husband and I chaperoned, girls are on all fours on the floor, or bent over grabbing their ankles in their short dresses while the guys grind their pelvises into their backsides and/or their faces...while school authority looks on. We parents who tried to break grinding groups up were told by the administrators that we had no authority to do so, and didn't have to be there! What parents are o.k. with this? My student estimates about 80% of the student body at the dance is grinding, not just a few. Kids trying to stay out of the fray get sucked in..even teachers have been grinded on by kids who think it's funny. Livonia doesn't have this problem..what are they doing right?
Bryan Bentley (Editor) October 26, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Tina, Proper channels are as follows. First you request a meeting with the school administrator/Principal. If you do not get answers to your satisfaction, you follow the chain of command into the Superintendent's Office. If you do not get answers to your satisfaction, you most definately have the right to demand answers from the School Boardmembers. You hired them with your vote, you pay their salary with your taxes, and in the end, you have the power to fire them with your vote. It sounds to me like you have properly pursued this issue through the chain of command with no satisfactory answers, and are at the last step of the long process that ends at election day for these Boardmembers. A member of the Board of Education that will not represent the will of the stakeholders of a school district is ineffectual, and should be replaced. They are your voice, and they are your evaluators for staff that educates your children. Hold their feet to the fire, and make them do the job they were elected to do. There are no hard fixes here, they are all easy, there just has to be the will to do it, and apparently, all involved would rather do nothing, and hope the issue goes away. Are you going to let them wait it out, or are you going to force them to do their jobs? They are hoping to keep passing the buck until parents get sick of getting stonewalled, and give up.
Mark Horvath October 29, 2011 at 03:12 AM
If you are interested in electing 4 new board members that can & will hold adults accountable to fix this without the need for more studies, committees and stalling, remember to vote for Mike Andro, Matt Dame, Mark Horvath and Mike Maloney. Also visit http://www.horvath4pccs.com/Safety.html to learn more about the concerns that are shared by teachers at PCEP.

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