Someone page Ren McCormack, because a Maine high school just outlawed dancing. Gorham High School in Gorham, ME has said “no” to freaking, grinding, and twerking, and the students—many of whom are upset that they won’t get to dress up or take pictures at the lousy bonfire their school has scheduled instead—need someone to lead their uprising.
The school administration, which has now canceled all dances except for prom, made the controversial decision after previous attempts to get students to dance politely and relate to each other in a non-sexual manner failed. In fact, last year, two-thirds of those attending walked out of Gorham’s homecoming when grinding was banned, chaperones were increased, and the lighting (always the most important part because then you get to pretend the dance isn’t happening in the gym) was brightened. This year, students are vehemently protesting the fact that homecoming is being replaced by a bonfire which, if all those early ‘90s after-school specials are to be believed, is even worse for sexual activity than a dance.
The Portland Press Herald reports that while the decision has been unpopular, the issue of getting too close at dances—in middle school we had a teacher who would run around screaming “no freaking!” as we gyrated to The Cardigans’ “Lovefool”—has been one that’s plagued this country for years (inspiring both the 1984 documentary Footloose and a 2011 drama of the same name starring Zac Efron-lookalike Kenny Wormald):
In response to a ban on grinding, students at an Illinois high school held their own “anti-homecoming” at a private club. A high school in Vermont banned last year’s homecoming dance because of an increased amount of twerking, another sexually provocative type of dance that involves squatting and hip thrusting. Several years ago, officials at Skaneateles High School in upstate New York changed DJs and tried to introduce formal dances, like the waltz or the hustle, to try to get kids to dance differently, but ended up canceling dances when students wouldn’t stop grinding.
Gorham High’s principal, Chris Record, told The Press Herald that he doesn’t blame the kids for wanting to unleash their hormones all over each other in a darkened room, but instead thinks “contemporary dance culture” is at fault. He also pointed out that the decision to cancel dances after the homecoming debacle last year was made by the student council, and it was only after that decision had been finalized that school officials decided to provide students alternatives to getting jiggy with it. But students aren’t having it:
“If there’s people grinding, kick them out. Don’t ban the whole thing,” said junior Kiara Sweet.
“Word around the school is no one is going to go, and it’s going to be lame,” senior Billy Ruby said of the bonfire.
Principal Record, who’s upset that last year’s homecoming led to class disruption days after the walk-out, says that part of the reason students are so riled up is that a local radio station actually allowed them to voice their opinions about what’s happening at the school to a large audience. And while Record recognizes that the school’s dances are also fundraisers for school activities and scholarships, his first priority is student safety.
And that’s why he’s organized the alternative event, which features no dancing, but at least 100 percent more fire.
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Image via Paramount Pictures.