Stonington High School bans grinding and other 'inappropriate dancing'
Stonington — Two twerks and you’re out.
Stonington High School has instituted a new policy for dances beginning with Saturday’s homecoming dance that prohibits “inappropriate dancing, grinding and other forms of inappropriate dancing and touching.”
All students will be issued a wristband when they enter the dance in the high school commons.
If a student is found to be engaging in any inappropriate dancing, they will be given a warning and their wristband removed.
This will allow teachers and school officials to more easily identify repeat offenders.
If students continues to engage in inappropriate dancing, they will be dismissed from the dance, their parents will be called to bring them home, and they will be banned for the next dance in the school year, including the junior and senior proms.
This would constitute a so-called first strike.
If students are dismissed from a second dance in the same school year for any reason, they will be banned from the remainder of dances in the school year. This would be a second strike.
Any student who receives “two strikes” in one school year will have a “one strike” limit for the next school year.
School administrators would also meet with the parents of any student dismissed from a dance.
Students must also dress “tastefully” for all dances and if any attire is found to be inappropriate, they will be asked to leave.
All students and their parents must sign the policy in order to buy dance tickets.
For the past 10 years, the school has also used a Breathalyzer to test students for alcohol use before they enter the dances.
Anyone under the influence has their parents called to take them home and is banned from any dances for the rest of the school year.
The new dance policy has been a big topic of discussion over the past few weeks among parents and students, some of whom have objected to school officials having discretion over how they dance.
School principal Mark Friese said the style of dancing had been discussed by school officials for some time.
He said he had heard from students who were uncomfortable attending dances because of the style of dancing their classmates were using and had instead decided to stay home.
In addition, he said some parents weren’t allowing their children to attend.
Friese said it was up to the school to ensure that all students feel comfortable attending a school event such as a dance.
“Maybe I’m old school, but we just felt was time to do this,” he said about the policy. “I want everyone to feel welcome.”
Friese said he has spoken to some students opposed to the policy and after he explained how some of their classmates felt uncomfortable, they understood.
He said he also asked if they would feel comfortable dancing inappropriately in front of their parents, and they said no.
Friese pointed out that the school is not breaking any new ground with the policy as many other schools have already done so.
When East Lyme High School banned grinding and other inappropriate dancing in 2012, attendance at the homecoming dance dropped to 300 from the usual 600.
“I’m sure some kids will decide not to go because they feel they are being told how to dance,” he said.
Friese said he hopes the policy will not be needed in the future as there is a change in culture.
“There will be a bit of a learning curve. I’ve joked that I will be willing to provide swing dancing lessons,” he said.
Friese said that since the policy was announced he’s received between 30 and 40 emails from parents supporting the policy.