Homecoming Dance Postponed Due to Safety Concerns

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img_0570Clarion photo Ashley Lytle

The Cleveland Homecoming dance is no longer: Postponed until a later date, the decision made by the junior/senior leadership class is due to concerns for the safety of attending students.

The leadership class, which hosts the dance, cited a need to “reform the culture” of Cleveland dances, including students’ attitudes regarding behavior and sexual assault so that all students feel safe and comfortable.

“The leadership class came together and we decided we want to have a better dance. We didn’t think that two weeks was enough time to fix all the problems that we had and so we decided to move it to create more time to plan,” said Tori Teft, co-student body president.

“We recognize that some in the student body are frustrated over dance postponements and cancellations due to inappropriate actions of a small percentage of the school. That said, we, the elected student officials of Cleveland, are taking this opportunity to reform the culture of dances at Cleveland and our attitude towards behavior, sexual assault, and the need for all students to feel safe and comfortable,” according to a statement released Thursday, Sept. 28  (read the full statement below). Teachers then informed students in their classes. The statement was edited by Principal Tammy O’Neill according to the junior/senior leadership class.

The decision came shortly after a walkout that occurred on Monday, Sept. 19, organized by a small portion of the student body who were protesting the lack of a Winter Formal. The fire alarm was falsely pulled shortly after the planned time of the protest, confusing the number of supporters. The walkout had nothing to do with the decision to postpone the dance. It is however, another addition to the continued conversations regarding Cleveland dances. Last year Cleveland made international news after Winter Formal was canceled for the second year in a row.

Activities Director Eric Mirsepassi said, “Our student body is a really strong student body and it has elected conscious and socially-minded individuals who decided to take a stand against something that is a deeper issue that needed to be addressed at this school and one of the ways that change happens is by changing the culture of events that people are involved with. img_05661I think the postponement of the dance has been a very positive experience. It’s important for people to understand why we postponed the dance, which is to draw attention to the issue of sexual misconduct and sexual assault that makes students feel unsafe. It was a student-centered decision, which is really, really cool.”

The goal of leadership is to be inclusive of everyone’s feelings and respect the space of those who have been uncomfortable at previous events.They have worked hard to discuss new plans for a dance to satisfy the needs of the student body. The dance may commence in December, according to the press release, but no official plans have been made.

Students are encouraged to leave questions, concerns, or ideas about the dances in a dropbox that will be available in the SSC and main office.   

 

 

Press Release

 

Hello Warriors! As the elected and assigned student leaders of Cleveland High School, we recognize that some in the student body are frustrated over dance postponements and cancellations due to the inappropriate actions of a small percentage of our school. That said, we, the elected student officials of Cleveland, are taking this opportunity to reform the culture of dances at Cleveland and our attitude towards behavior, sexual assault and the need for all students to feel safe and comfortable.

Students, parents, and administration have expressed concerns about dance behavior. Because the first dance of the year is hosted by the Junior/Senior Leadership class, we have made the decision to postpone the Homecoming dance to a later date, likely in the month of December. This postponement allows us to develop tactics and plans to address the issue of student safety. This decision also comes as a result of decreasing attendance at the Homecoming dance in part due to students feeling unsafe. We will keep the student body informed of our plans going forward.

A drop box will be available in the main office and the SSC for any questions, concerns, or suggestions that will help ensure our ability to continue sponsoring dances at Cleveland High School. We look forward to having the opportunity to reframe and reform the culture of our homecoming dance, as this has been a long-running issue, and make it an event where all students feel comfortable and exited to be there. Thank you for your support, and please be prepared for more information to follow.