No Winter Formal

By Ellie Mortenson and Isabella Donofrio

No need for fancy dresses or classy suits this winter. Administrators have made the executive decision to forgo the winter semi-formal dance for the second year in a row.

“The decision was determined by the administrative staff in consultation with other participants in the building and parents,” said Kevin Taylor, vice principal.

According to Taylor, holding a dance off site can cost approximately $6,000 and it is, in Taylor’s words, “difficult to justify spending that amount of money with the current school budget.” It also raises issues with students being able to get to a different venue. Having the dance inside the gym does eliminate a high cost, but still requires problems with workers to set up the decorations and tear them down afterwards.

The premise of holding the winter semi-formal was based off the behaviors of students at the annual Homecoming dance, and although Taylor described behaviors at that dance as “marginally better” than previous dances, there were still concerns with inappropriate dancing and safety and harassment concerns. “As school officials, it is difficult to say to parents, ‘Send your kids to the dance and it’s ok to grind on each other in a big group.’ Parents have an expectation of safety and civility,” Taylor remarked.

The threat to safety is also recognized by some students themselves. “I think these are fair concerns. A lot of people think the worst behavior at dances is just dirty dancing, but it goes a lot further than that. There are people who don’t feel safe at school dances, because of fear of sexual assault, which happened at a dance last year,” said Student Body President Monica Arnone. “That’s just unacceptable. I want everyone at Cleveland to feel safe, and if taking away a dance can make the students feel safer, then I can live without the dance and I hope others can too. I think the students do deserve a dance as a whole, but we need to prove it on a deeper level than that we just want it. We should work hard and behave better at Homecoming so we can all feel safe, and only then can we deserve a dance.”

On the other side of the spectrum, some students argue that these reasons are not legitimate enough to cancel the winter semi-formal dance. “I think it’s true that we could have behaved better with the privileges we were given, but I think we still deserve a second dance,” said freshman Brody Kreiter.

“I think that that the administration’s concerns are valid. However, I think that the majority of the students behave well at the dances,” said Talia Deady, senior class president. “Also, I think that a lot has changed within the students, because when Winter Formal was originally cancelled [last year], a lot has changed in the student body.”

Deady’s comment is a popular complaint among students who believe that the people who were causing issues at both Homecoming and winter semi-formal have graduated and it is unfair of the administration to assume upon their actions what will take place if there were a winter semi-formal. “I think that is unfair to be punished for what seniors who have graduated did two years ago,” said sophomore Olivia Holtman.

Winter semi-formal’s cancellation may prevent some safety hazards, but it’s definitely not a popular decision among students, who view it as punishing the entire student body for the crimes of a few.