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!!"
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.'