"Controversy over a popular dance style known as grinding has finally cropped up in Maine's largest school district." Finally.

Yes, Principal Mike Johnson of Maine's Portland High School has banned "grinding and other forms of inappropriate dancing" at the homecoming dance this weekend. Explains Kelley Bouchard of the Portland Press Herald, "Some students are threatening to boycott the annual event because grinding — dancers holding each other close and rubbing pelvises, usually with the boy standing behind the girl — is the only way they know how to dance." Other schools in Maine are apparently enacting similar restrictions. And despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary (did I mention the headline is "Grinding ban has students griping"?) there is actually one serious element to this story. In their explanation for canceling nearly all school dances, Windham High School administrators said,

We regret to say that given the extent of the inappropriate touching, and our inability to discern what is consensual and what is sexually assaultive behavior, we believe we can no longer ensure the safety of your children.

I can see how it might be hard, at least initially, for dance chaperones to tell whether grinding is consensual. But why not use the opportunity to educate students about etiquette and respecting boundaries (and adults about kids' dancing styles), rather than forcing kids to go dance in venues where they're not supervised at all? Unless of course the school administrators want to be the villains in an awesome teen dance movie, in which case, carry right on.

Grinding Ban Has Students Griping [Portland Press Herald]