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Opinion & Editorial

Academy’s New Dance Policy: Staff Members’ Opinions

When I overhear a heated debate regarding whether school dances are lame (this usually credited to the no grinding policy), I find myself surprised to be not so inclined to take up either side of the argument. It seems to me the efforts of both sides of the debate are fruitless. Trying to make someone like or dislike school dances is similar to attempting to force-feed steak to a vegetarian: it goes against who they are at their very roots, and whether they like to eat meat or not, they are still, at the end of the day, a vegetarian. Whether you are going to winter formal or not, your reasoning for doing whatever you do on the night of the dance is a matter of your personal views and values–aspects not easily swayed by any kind of policy–let alone the arguments of peers.

This is how I see it: the fact will always remain that there are going to be people that get really into school dances for the sake of dancing with their friends, regardless of the much-begrudged dance policy. On the other hand, there those who refuse to go to the dances based solely on the policy. But let’s not forget, there are so many other reasons kids would want to pass up the dance: the awkward, a-little-too-large-for-a-tiny-high-school dance floor, the burden of having to actually get ready for a dance, as well as an overall chaotic atmosphere. Some people just aren’t into that kind of thing, and that’s okay. Many kids would also argue they could have a better time hanging out elsewhere with the same friends with whom they would, otherwise, go to a school dance . Excluding the notion of any kind of dance policy, kids are going to do what they want to on the night of the dance, a fact that runs deeper than the rules outlining what one can and can’t do on the floor.

Written by Mackenzie Bell’13

The new dance policy has created more problems than it has solved. To start with, there is a true generational divide regarding grinding and the atmosphere it creates. While adults may view the style of dancing as sexually explicit and inappropriate, many teenagers view it as the norm. The new dance policy has led to a massive student protest which ultimately resulted in last year’s winter formal being cancelled. Many people left this year’s Homecoming Dance within about 45 minutes, which proves something must change with this policy. Grinding is the 21st century’s mode of dancing. The older generation should be aware of this and become more tolerant about it. Although I realize some type of policy needs to be in effect to prevent sexual activities during the dance, I don’t think that banning grinding in totality was the best option. I believe the best result would be for the teachers and students to find common ground regarding this issue and create a new policy, similar to the one that CSG enforced last year, which allows grinding but prevents it from getting out of hand. The Principal of Waukee High School said it perfectly when he stated, “I know dances aren’t like they used to be, but the world’s changed as well. It’s like anything else. We’re a mini-reflection of society.”

Written by Matt Brigstock’13

I do not find it a coincidence that the attendance for the school dances has decreased since the new dance policy was enforced. New generations always challenge the authority of previous generation by becoming more radical, and this behavior will continue for generations to come. I am sure many years from now, when we are the older generation, there will be a new type of dance that will be considered inappropriate, but that’s just how things are. Another negative effect from the dance policy is that it provokes students to create even more radical ideas, such as throwing parties. Dancing is all out of good fun. Even if a few people feel uncomfortable, that is just how things are. It is almost impossible to please everybody.

Written by Jared Harris’13

I think  attending Winter Formal is less of the dance itself, but more of what it represents. For many, high school dances provide a setting in which students can simply socialize with others. I believe, however, that years from now, when I remember high school dances, I won’t remember the songs played or the outfits worn. I will remember the time I spent with my peers, some of whom may have chosen to grind-which was their  choice. It does not affect me, and I feel I don’t have the right to stop others from expressing themselves. I will not be attending Winter Formal, however that decision does not have to do with the dance policy or the fact that WF is Sadie Hawkins. Likewise I understand the school’s decision to ban this type of dance. These dances are a time to have fun, yet I do believe how you act outside of classes affects your image even more than the impression gained at school. If students choose to dance, dress, or talk without concern of rules , it is their own choice. And by doing so, they must be willing to accept the judgment from their peers.

Written by Peri Kahraman’13

As a Columbus Academy student, who has never attended a dance, I cannot speak about the dance policy on my own behalf. I do feel most upperclassmen hold a grudge against the new dance policy and are, therefore, many undecided about whether to attend Winter Formal. Most of the underclassmen seem excited about the dance, and it will probably take a class or two until the antagonism towards dances dies down. I understand the school is trying to make dances a better place for a students, one where everyone can feel safe and comfortable, so I think the new dance policy is good and acceptable. I believe that no matter what decision the school might make regarding a dance policy, there will always be people who are for it and others who are against it.

Written by Rabia Khan’13

Being a school administrator is no easy task. Everyone wants to have your ear: students, teachers, parents, the board. Everyone comes to you with their complaints, and they’re not always courteous or polite about it. Sometimes, it’s downright rude or irrational, something you can’t listen to without wanting to pull your hair out. Still, you’re supposed to smile, listen closely, and most importantly, make everyone happy. Somehow, you’ve got to reconcile the opinions of a number of very different groups and satisfy all of them. That is your entire job.

I find being in such a position to be unenviable. The task of gaining everyone’s approval is difficult, if not impossible. The new dance policy is one of the more polarizing decisions in recent memory. It’s a tough decision to make, and someone is going to be upset no matter what the decision is. These scenarios don’t come with a right answer or silver bullet. All things considered, we ought to, if not accept, at least respectfully tolerate the decisions that have been made. It takes guts to make an unpopular call and stand by it.

Writtenby Andy Li’13

It’s obvious the facuilty sees our ways of dancing to be too physically explicit and inappropriate, but in the eyes of many students it’s normal. Many students disapprove of the new rules because dances have not had  much success since the policy was issued. Grinding seems to be the dance of “today” just as the cha-cha slide or the cupid shuffle was the dance in the past. Also by not permitting grinding promotes student to have their own social events that may not be supervised by adults. Instead of totally banning grinding altogether, the school needs to make modifications to dances to insure no sexual activites happen on the dance floor while still permitting grinding. This way the students will be happy to dance as accepted by society today.

Written by Aakash Paladugo’13

While dances are a thrilling experience for many students because of their ability to ask someone on a date, there is another side to them that is more commonly seen, especially for the younger grades. Many students choose to go to dances in groups, something I’ve done many times. There are larger groups that can include up to 50 people, which I was a part of during my freshman year, and there are smaller groups that can consist of as few as four people. Some people find  they have more fun in groups than they do with a date because there isn’t as much awkward tension. Dinner is usually the most fun part of the evening with students getting the opportunity to socialize with one another in a non-academic setting. Going to the dance is also very exciting, but because there is sometimes a little bit of uneasiness, which is to be expected, students may be uncomfortable. This can lead to groups of people leaving to go somewhere else for another activity such as getting dessert or going bowling. While going with a date can be a fun time at a dance, I have found going in a group with friends to be just as much fun!

Written by Nikhil Patel’14

While a larger proportion of students may not attend  Winter Semi-Formal or plan to leave early, this lack of attendance will only remain an issue for a few years. Students may complain dances are forever ruined, but the fact is the faculty and administration had no choice but to create the new no-grinding policy. It is the path that best represents and upholds the values of The Columbus Academy, an institution which strives to make all its members feel comfortable and safe. Though students whine and attempt to rebel, this is the end-all-be-all. The policy is here to stay, and once uppers choolers accept this, their attitudes will change. They will realize if they want to enjoy themselves, they will just have to deal with it. And as the upper class student, who  experienced “pre-policy” dances, graduate, more students will have open minds about this.

Just in the past year, there has been a positive change in attitude among the students. Compared to last year’s Winter Formal sign-ups, which were so meager that the dance was cancelled, so many more people are planning to attend this time around. Clearly, students are catching on that this new environment is final, and that the only option is to change their perspectives. As they see the futility of their efforts, resistance will fade. The newly-regulated dances will no longer be considered cruel punishment, but merely just what they are: dances.

Written by Sandhya Ramaswamy’12

At this point in time, after having no Winter Formal last year, it is time for students to move on. Grinding is gone from school dances, and it is not coming back in the foreseeable future. Moving forward, dances will not be the wild party they used to be. While some reasonably resent this and others appreciate it, students must take school dances for what they are. The new dynamic of school dances is certainly different, but it is not necessarily bad. Karaoke night, for example, was not over the top, out-of-control fun. I went not expecting much, but found  it was what school dances should be to satisfy all parties. Students and teachers were relaxed and were able to have fun together. Everyone sang and danced with everyone, and there were no hurt feelings. And, the following Monday there were no awkward looks; everyone felt comfortable having made fools of themselves in a safe environment. To be clear, this dynamic does not appeal to all, and some do want the intense party environment. The fact of the matter is the dance policy is here to stay, and students might as well be positive and enjoy this toned down way of doing things rather than having no dances at all.

Written by Harry Wexner’13

The strike that got Winter Formal cancelled last year was like a temper tantrum: pointless but not without its merits. A protest like this could not have done anything. It did not shine kindly on last year’s upper classmen either, as their example was saying  there was nothing fun at dances except for grinding. Interesting legacy there. The silver lining to this black stormcloud is that the dances did go through several reforms that people feel is a good start. I hope the whole attitude towards dances will change with them.

I attended Homecoming this year and ended up dancing with friends, not thinking about others. I may have looked like a fool to outside observers, but I guarantee you I had a better time than people who were judging. Dances might actually be enjoyable if it’s not spent complaining in the corner. Nothing is ever fun unless you go with it, and high school dance policies are no exception.

By Connie Zhang’14


Photos by Elliot Nick’14


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