Adults “Freak Out” over “Freak and Grind” at School Dances.

by Deborah Block, Director, Back to Basics

And with good reason.

For children who have not learned how to partner dance – a school prom can be a daunting challenge…Since they don’t know how to lead and follow and have no concept of personal space they tend to adopt what they see in popular media – – the freak and grind. Some use the excuse that it is simply a form of self expression or cultural norms but that is just an excuse since they actually know no other alternative. As a result schools across the country are taking matters into their own hands. Some are empowering students with actual skills while others are trying to curb innappropriate conduct with rules and contracts. Either way, it is making headlines. Many cultures around the world use solo and partner dancing to highlight rights of passage, rituals and even casual celebrations but for those who aren’t exposed to it growing up, it can be too hot to handle when they are thrown into the fire! Here are some examples of what parents, administrators and chaperones are doing to prevent that “spark” from turning into a wild fire:

  • In order to attend a dance at Walnut Hills High School in Evanston, students must sign pledges that they will not dress
    provocatively or engage in lewd dancing. Their parents must sign, too. “Grinding, bumping, fondling, humping, licking, booty dancing, rolling, kicking, mashing, shoving, wallowing, disrobing, sexual kissing, freaking, jacking, and whatever a chaperone deems improper and/or indecent will not be permitted.” Students who break the rules will be removed from the dance and assigned Friday School detention for the remainder of the year.

• In Guam high schools, National Honor Society members have been threatened with a suspension for dancing in an inappropriate manner.

• At Dunwoody High School in the Atlanta area, students were told that if they were caught “dirty dancing” those who violated the policy would be sent to a “timeout” room if caught.

• Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, Mich., linked dance attendance to passing a quiz about dance floor behavior.

• A Brown Deer, Wis., high school has thrown students out of dances, sent letters home to parents and threatened to suspend youths caught dirty dancing.

• Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia canceled school dances beginning next fall until students can propose rules.

• Dances have been canceled at schools nationwide, including in suburban Los Angeles; Iowa City, Iowa; Anchorage, Alaska; and Bethany, Ky.

• Administrators at Union Grove High School in Wisconsin are aiming to curb risque moves at their January winter formal. To assure that students do not get too footloose, school brass have issued official dance rules. As seen below, the rules outlaw “sexual bending” and the touching of breasts, buttocks, or genitals. Leg straddling is also verboten. Additionally, students are on notice that “Both feet must remain on the dance floor at all times.” The dance “will be videotaped to insure the safety of all students attending,” and so administrators could presumably review the film for provocative moves that were initially missed by monitors.

reprinted in part from The Cincinnati Enquirer

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