This was published as an OP/ED in my high school newspaper.
Recently, my school instilled a new policy for dances: "face to face, leave a space."
We can’t escape it. The letter sent to our parents, the class meetings and the overwhelming decrease in attendance at Winter Ball made it clear: the “no-grinding” policy is a big deal. I struggled with this issue for a while, and tried to decide where I stand. Honestly, I don’t find sexually suggestive dancing to be immoral or inappropriate at all, however I respect the decisions of the administration and will continue to attend dances.
I’ve been attending dances at CHS since my freshman year and with the exception of the infamous “Hall Dance of ’05,” I haven’t really noticed any over-the-top or unusually sexual dancing. To say that we are imitating the style of dance seen in rap music videos is the ultimate scapegoat. If we were really dancing to the caliber of most video girls and rappers, this policy would have been instilled years ago. There is no amount of media blame that can explain why teenagers like grinding.
Grinding is sexual, yes, thus the reasoning behind it. We aren’t practicing promiscuity; dances are an outlet to release our “hormonal frustrations” in a supervised, fully clothed environment. What’s the alternative? Perhaps, if the dance policy is a means for protecting us, it should be looked at again. When the attendance at a dance is cut in half, it leads us to wonder where those forty-five kids are on a Saturday night. Are they at a party where drinking and illegal drugs are present? Maybe they’re getting their “hormonal frustrations” out in a private setting? What is the price we pay for this policy? This is where I was when my dad read the parent letter to me. I was angry, I felt blindsided, and I felt that the entire student body was being punished for the wrongs of a few students who took it too far. However, the class meetings offered me new insight.
I went into the PAC with my arms folded over my chest; my mind was already closed to whatever Mr. DePaoli had to say. I knew why the senior class was being funneled in and I knew that the majority of seniors were going to agree with me. When Mr. DePaoli explained the community opinion on grinding it occurred to me: if you think high school students are cutthroat, you have clearly never had to defend yourself to adults. No amount of criticism from the student body could ever match that of the angry moms and disgusted community leaders. Ultimately, Mr. DePaoli and the rest of the faculty have a responsibility to the community. We don’t pay for our education, they do, and they greatly outnumber us on the “no-grinding” issue.
At the meeting, Jordan Miles said something that made me want to stand and applaud, though I had changed my mind only moments before. “Honestly Mr. D., I don’t think you should have to stand up here and defend yourself, we should just respect your decision and respect you as our principal. If you and your date want to grind, go to her house and save yourself $25.00,” he said. I still think that grinding should be the least of our moral worries at Chelan High School, but the bottom line is that Mr. DePaoli doesn’t want to ruin our lives. He made a decision based on the majority of feedback he received and his responsibilities to the community, the school district and the students. I encourage all of you to attend the rest of the dances here and at least give it a chance to be fun, if grinding is the only way you can do that I just feel sorry for you. What a pathetic existence. Remember kids: face to face, leave a space.