Prom is a privilege


Ashlynn Anderson

A group of friends congregate at prom. Many students were unable to attend because of attendance issues.

They say it’s “a night to remember.”

She has the perfect dress, the highest heels, and even higher hopes.

He has the tux and the fancy shoes– ready to be on his best behavior, of course.

They made the dinner reservations, bought the flowers, and maybe even practiced their smooth dance moves a couple times.

Prom is a night to celebrate. It’s a night to just be a kid in high school.

This year’s prom, however, almost became a “night to remember” for different reasons.

Several students came close to remembering prom as the event they weren’t allowed to attend.

The week leading up to prom, many students were pulled aside and told they would not be permitted into the dance for various reasons.

While some faced eligibility and behavior issues, many were prohibited due to their attendance records.

This news enraged the affected students, resulting in parental involvement and much backlash.

Many students argued the short-notice restriction was extremely unfair, having bought dresses or made arrangements with dates.

While these circumstances are unfortunate, one should question why the blame and heat is being placed upon the administration.

At the beginning of each school year, students are required to sign a statement confirming their understanding of the handbook, which addresses dance policies relating to attendance, eligibility, and behavior. While many students would admit to not reading the handbook, this gives them little reason for excuses.

In addition, many of these same students faced similar situations earlier in the year, when the homecoming dance approached.

One would assume most students were aware that one’s attendance, behavior, and eligibility would have an effect on their participation in high school activities, and would therefore question the recent backlash.

The Echoes does understand that certain administrative action could have prevented some of the conflict.

The handbook could be more specific in addressing the required criteria for dance attendance.  The somewhat vague term, “administrative discretion,” could be clarified.

Early-on discussions of attendance policies would be beneficial, but not necessary when outlined in the handbook.

However, students need to be held more accountable.

If one chooses not to attend school regularly, then he or she should not be surprised when privileges are taken away.

A student who is not eligible should expect the same consequences practiced in every other school activity.

Every action has consequences.

Despite popular belief, prom is a privilege, not a right for high school students. One must work hard before he or she can play hard.

While the majority of these students did end up being allowed to attend prom, the issue should not be brushed aside until the next dance.

The Echoes encourages the administration to stick to its policy, making students accountable for their own high school education and experience.

But really, students should just save themselves and the school the hassle by showing up to school in the first place.