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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Senior Prom Cancelled...

Things have come a long way since I attended the Senior Prom. Evidentially too far for Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, NY.

The letter from the school's administrator about the reason to eliminate the Senior Prom is an eye opener as is the response to a parent who objects to the cancellation. Both are pretty long letters but worth the "education".

Just some of the highlights:

"...We have in hand a signed contract for the rental of a residential house in Southampton. The details of this lease are as follows:

#1) It is a residential house in a residential area. The owner is leasing it for sixty persons.

#2) The time of lease is from early Saturday morning to noon on Sunday, approximately thirty-six hours.

The cost is $300.00 per student plus $100.00 for “security,” a total of $400.00 per student.

No food or amenities are provided by the owner for the cost.

A down payment of $10,000.00 has already been made, with the following amount of $10,000.00 to be paid by April 1 st. It seems that the total amount of money for the rental of this house is $20,000.00.

There is no indication anywhere that there is any type of supervision. Nor is there any indication of responsibility for liability.

Forty-six Seniors have already paid their down payment for this one particular “house.” They have received no rules or guidelines for these thirty-six hours. We are informed that there are other houses in the Southampton area that are rented under similar conditions

"...Over the years parents have become more active in creating the “prom experience,” from personally signing for houses for a three day drug/sex/alcohol bash, to mothers making motel reservations for their sons and daughters for after prom get-togethers, to fathers signing the contract for Captain Jim’s booze-cruise out of Huntington for an after prom adventure. We have become convinced that some parents support this type of activity, some tolerate it, prefer not to see it, or dismiss it as part of growing up.

"...Then comes the rejoinder: yes, but why let a few spoil it for the rest! First of all, it is not just a few ..."

"...One could use the argument which insurance personnel would advise, namely, why attach your name to something which is so prone to problems and over which you have little effective control. Good logic (and financial policy)! This argument becomes even more cogent, given the rise of a sue-happy population and a cadre of unscrupulous lawyers looking for deep pockets (KMHS has experienced both). However, KMHS is not liability-shy. We are willing to take on the risks for programs that fulfill our educational mission. The culture and practice of the senior prom on Long Island can no longer justify its place in our mission, not just in our liability

"...Long Island, known in some circles as Wrong Island, is an alcohol culture. It starts early and never ends. Because of our affluence and arrogance everything has to be exaggerated - bigger, better, more, over the top. Our students do not learn how to drink socially. Their goal is to get roaring drunk as quickly as possible and boast about it the next day


Fred said...

Being a graduate of a Long Island high school, I can certainly vouch for the last paragraph. At least I had reached the legal drinking age back then.

But, as a parent, I'm especially vigilant concerning my own kids. It's a different world.

Anonymous said...

After seeing an episode of MTV's "Sweet Sixteen" show and reading other articles about the way prom has turned into an expensive, excessive binge-fest, I have to agree with the school for cancelling prom. However, I had to laugh at the first letter where they encourage parents to NOT rent "American Pie" in order to see what they mean. I also like that they slightly blame what's going on in high school and colleges on that movie and "Animal House".