Current dance trends and music lyrics are often inappropriate for school events, and following typical school dress codes would make most prom dresses unacceptable. One group of Ohio administrators tackled these thorny issues and came up with guidelines the entire community could agree on.
With today's fashion trends encouraging students to bare more than before, and dance styles becoming more risque, what role should school leaders take in defining acceptable standards of dress and behavior for school dances?
In the fall of 2000, a principals' group from several districts in the north central region of Ohio that meets monthly to discuss education topics such as curriculum, instruction, high stakes testing, leadership programs or retreats, and improving relations with the juvenile court system, decided to tackle these issues.
The group of principals shared what they considered acceptable dress and discussed their difficulty in dealing with prom attire, as formal apparel is not addressed in the student dress code. For a principal to use the traditional Board of Education approved dress code would render almost all prom dresses as unacceptable.
Additional discussion took place regarding music lyrics considered inappropriate for school dances and what should and should not be considered acceptable student behaviors at any school function. Music lyrics involve more profanity, a higher level of promiscuity, and in some cases promote violence and vandalism. Music seems to encourage a level of behavior, including dance, that appears risque or even obscene. Behavior was reviewed with respect for both safety and acceptable actions for high school age students.