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Can inappropriate dancing be curbed by the Serrano Administration?

Students+at+the+homecoming+dance+last+October+%28Daniel+Rodriguez%29
Students at the homecoming dance last October (Daniel Rodriguez)

Students at the homecoming dance last October (Daniel Rodriguez)

Students at the homecoming dance last October (Daniel Rodriguez)

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Starting this year, the administration at this school implemented new procedures at dances hoping that this would help curb so called “dirty dancing” at these events.  “Grinding” and “Twerking” are the main dances that constitute dirty dancing at this school. Proctors were required to “strike” dirty dancers by marking their wristband with a marker. If a student received two strikes they would be asked to leave the dance.

Whether these new procedures stopped or even deterred students from dancing inappropriately, is up to debate. I asked Principal Andrus whether or not he felt the new procedures were effective in stopping dirty dancing. He stated that “to an extent, I think they helped. We didn’t have to kick anyone out.” I also asked him if he knew of any new procedures that might take place at the upcoming Winter Formal Dance, and he stated that “I think two strikes is fine. I think the big thing would be that we talk to students.” I also asked Mr. Andrus whether felt there needs to be a large effort to stop dirty dancing and he said “ I have been approached by students and parents who are uncomfortable coming to our dances because of the inappropriate dancing.  We want all of our students to feel like they can attend our dances in a positive environment.”

Mr. Andrus also gave me a draft of what new procedures that might be implemented in upcoming dances. “You will see that we have added some interventions.  At 2 warnings students will speak with a dean or other administrator so that we can clarify what the rules are.  After 3 warnings, students will have to sit out for at least 10 minutes while we discuss the situation.  Students won’t be dismissed from the dance until their 4th incident.  By then, they will have had two opportunities to speak with an administrator to understand how they need to behave to stay at the dance.”

The most common dirty dance is known as grinding, which is when a male rubs his crotch on a female’s buttocks in a circular fashion. This often occurs in the middle of the dance floor, when a large amount of people congregate. Efforts to stop this dancing here at Serrano are often hindered by the fact that such a large amount of people engage in dirty dancing, that it makes it almost impossible to make everyone stop. At the homecoming dance, the new procedures didn’t appear to have the effect that the Administrators wanted, making people stop dancing in that manner. It brings up the question on whether or not a big effort should be made to stop, granted that new rules have not stopped it. Several students here at Serrano agree that the new rules didn’t do much to stop it.

There are several schools throughout the nation that have taken controversial measures to stop grinding at dances. According to the news website “The Blaze,” Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon canceled their winter formal dance in 2016. District administrators came to this conclusion citing safety concerns for students. This isn’t the only school in the United States that has canceled dances over dirty dancing. Exeter High School in New Hampshire also canceled their school dances, except for prom, after school officials claimed that “dances are wonderful to have” but that “students can’t behave that way”. According to the New York Daily News, grinding at dances had been an ongoing problem at Exeter High dances for the last two years, until the dances were canceled. Dances at the school had been canceled in the past before for other reasons, which have included underage drinking.

After the cancellation, several students came out in disagreement with the decision. Forrest Hayden, a senior at Exeter, talked about grinding, he said it was wrong to cancel a dance over it claiming, “it’s not something everybody does and if you’re engaging in that it’s kind of a conscious decision.”

I feel these schools went too far in trying to stop dirty dancing by cancelling school dances all together. School Dances like Homecoming and Winter Formal are often considered teenage rites of passage, that a lot students look forward too. It’s a time when students can hang out with their friends and get dressed up and have fun. Serrano High School has never cancelled a dance due to students dancing inappropriately and it should never be proposed as an option to help stop it. Dances provide a safe space where students can have fun in a supervised environment, where our school police officer is often present. Think about it like this, a popular activity for students at Serrano is to attend parties and drink illegally and take other illegal substances.

Even though inappropriate dancing takes place at our dances here at Serrano, at least our administrators can take solace in the fact that at least students aren’t out in the desert partying, drinking and driving, and endangering themselves. Teenagers are going to be teenagers and there’s no set of rules that has ever stopped them in history. The rules that are in place are currently good. For the most part, it deters students from dancing in an extremely vulgar fashion while leaving a warning system in place that is fair.

When I asked the Vice President of the Serrano ASB, Matt McHenry about how he felt about our current rules here at Serrano he stated that, “the rules that we have right now are fair and I could understand the school administration wanting to crack down on some of the really really bad stuff, but I do not believe any stricter rules would be able to be enforced. At the end of the day teenagers are going to be teenagers and they can’t stop everyone from doing what they want to do.” I couldn’t agree more.

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The student news site of Serrano High School
Can inappropriate dancing be curbed by the Serrano Administration?