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Sunday, May 09, 2010


Local Proms: Neenah Rocks, Appleton Area Dances Need Improvement

For those parents and students who are troubled by permissive attitudes about inappropriate and offensive "grinding" at school dances in Appleton and elsewhere, there is good news. Nearby Neenah, Wisconsin has demonstrated at its last prom and other dances that "class" can still be part of school functions. Classy behavior without an abundance of grinding appears to be the norm at Neenah High dances. I congratulate Neenah High students, parents, and school officials! Whatever you all are doing to create that classy culture, I hope we can import it to Appleton, where we still have more of a problem with permissiveness toward bad behavior.

I know people are horribly offended to be told that their behavior or their children's behavior is inappropriate. Some can't imagine that in an earlier, more decent era that some "accepted" public behaviors today would have gotten a young man slapped, thrown out, and possibly suspended or even arrested. Some can no longer imagine why the so-called "dance" form of grinding is inappropriate and offensive, why it creates a hostile and unsafe environment for some kids, or, for example, why some young women would feel sexually assaulted to have an unknown male grab her from behind and begin grinding his hips against hers. This can now be done without fear of punishment of even noticeable objection from others. This kind of behavior, however, is much closer to sexual activity and sexual assault than it is to appropriate public dancing. Some parents and young people have spoken out on this issue, but school officials have had a hard time doing anything more than letting committees of popular "pro-grinding" students make predictable comments on the few complaints received. (Am I wrong? Am I missing some more serious action? I hope so - let me know.)

Many young people and their families have simply chosen to avoid school dances to keep away from that kind of atmosphere.

I had heard that this is just how it is going to be everywhere, but reports from trusted eye-witnesses at Neenah dances indicate that much better behavior is possible in school dances. Congratulations to Neenah, whose school dances rocks. Appleton's still need improvement. But be careful about expressing such an opinion for it suggests that somebody isn't doing their job when it comes to maintaining a safe and wholesome environment for our kids, and that's pretty darn offensive to some. So be it.

As for the Appleton area prom, the defense will surely be offered that the prom is not really a school event since it's done off school property by a third-party. But the schools still promote it and make it the Appleton prom, and surely can't be without responsibility for the nature of the event.
The issue is more serious than most parents realize and may have legal repurcussions. School leaders have their heads in the sand as they ignore the legal ramifications of their inadequate efforts to protect children.

Read this recent discussion on the grinding issue where we find significant statements from people like a Menomonee Falls School Board president:

"As the Menomonee Falls School Board president, there are a few things I would like the readers to understand: 1. This discussion was not initiated by adults, but by students who want to dance and were uncomfortable with what is passing for dancing at school events. 2. Grinding has been around forever, but this is a newer style that has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years or so at high school dances. In talking to parents, they seem to have an image of grinding as the type of dancing seen in "Dirty Dancing" starring Patrick Swayze in 1987. The recent style of grinding is where the guy often doesn't need to do anything more than lean back, move his hips and hold the girl's waist or hips as she backs into him often bending forward even sometimes to the point of placing her hands on the floor - then the bumping and grinding takes place. And according to students, this is sometimes only the beginning. 3. Our police department is concerned that this new style of grinding qualifies as sexual assault. I’m concerned for so many reasons, but I do think most of our students engage in a toned down version of grinding and don’t really think of it as all that sexual - at least not any more than any other pair engaging in couples dancing from the beginning of time. It’s the most extreme, blatant examples that actually do look like a sexual act that people would like to eliminate. We have wonderful kids at Menomonee Falls High School and most of our students dance appropriately. I’m proud of them for participating on the dance committee and trying to be part of a solution that will make the dances fun for all the students."
But even the more "toned down" versions are problematic and could have serious repercussions some day. That School Board President is trying to be too positive.
Disgusting that this is allowed in schools.
The article and comments are clearly those of ignorant people that have no sense of reality. There is nothing good about Neenah's dances...and I'm a student there. I've also been to Appleton's prom and it is a wonderfully positive experience.
Actually, the information is drawn from multiple 1st-hand witnesses. I think it's quite reliable. But if Neenah dances have much more trouble than meets the eye, well, too bad.
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