Winter semi-formal withheld from student body


Dirty dancing pictured in a yearbook of old.

By Cyrus Lyday and Emily Diamond

Due to growing concerns within school administration, there will be no winter semi-formal at Cleveland for the second consecutive year.

Dances in the past have been notoriously unconventional. Two years ago at the last winter semi-formal, police came and took students away in handcuffs, leading to last year’s cancellation. Homecoming 2015 was billed as a way to gauge whether students would behave and deserve a winter semi-formal this year, but students behaved “marginally better [than years past],” said Vice Principal Kevin Taylor, who used the word “brutal” to describe the dance.

Taylor identified three main factors that went into this decision: inappropriate actions, costs, and speed of departure following the dance.

“It’s hard to justify to parents that their kids are going to be safe when there is a large group of kids grinding on each other. Parents expect civility. In some cases it almost turns into harassment,” said Taylor. “We have an expectation here and kids don’t follow it. A number of years ago we had ‘No grinding’ t-shirts, we did a whole campaign. It’s worse now than it was back then.”

A dance can cost upwards of $6,000 if it is held off-site, and the school budget hasn’t increased despite a surge in student numbers. It is less expensive to hold the dance on-site, in the gym specifically, however there are complications to that strategy too. If it is held on-site, Cleveland needs to personally staff the dance and personally pay those staff members.

“Another thing that is always a concern is that students don’t get picked up until almost midnight. That leaves one or two adults, usually me, here until midnight. Parents, seriously, the dance is done at 11. Come get your kids,” said Taylor. This is an even larger concern if the dance was to be held off-site, as “not all our students can afford or have cars to get there.” Taylor went on to describe loitering around the dance as “safety” and “liability” issues.

Despite the cancellation of winter semi-formal, homecoming and prom will remain. “Cleveland is pretty steep in traditions,” said Taylor.