Students Resist 'Face to Face' Dirty Dancing Policy

Prairie High School's new dance policies may seem at first to be right out of an '80s film on teen angst, but the principal says the ever-escalating trend of dirty dancing has got to stop.

That's why the Vancouver, Wash., school canceled the popular "Pack the Place" dance scheduled for January and told students they must attend an orientation and sign a contract on how to behave properly before they will be allowed at any future dances.

"We've been dealing with this for years, dirty dancing," Prairie High School Principal Jason Perrins told "Eight years ago, it was moshing."

The dirty dancing he's referring to is overly suggestive grinding, rubbing and groping between students, sometimes simulating sex acts. Perrins said he thinks of it as "intercourse dancing" and has heard a few complaints from female students.

Video of no dirty dancing at school.

"It's sexual harassment to every degree you could imagine," he said. "Is this something you'd do on street corners or a mall?"

The problem of increasingly sexualized dancing, known as freak dancing or grinding, is something school officials have been grappling with for some time now. There are reports from all corners of the country of dances being canceled and students walking out en masse after being disciplined -- one Washington state student told a local newspaper that during the last school year, chaperons were armed with flashlights to aim at dirty dancers.

And the Baltimore Sun reported that Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md., recently revised its dance policy to include specific instructions such as "no forceful thrusting."

When All Else Fails

Perrins said the school has tried different tactics before, but nothing really stuck. They've held assemblies and put up banners on what's not appropriate. They even tried putting wristbands on the kids -- those who were dancing inappropriately had them cut off as a warning and were then asked to leave after a second offense.

Yet at every dance, school officials kick kids out, sometimes as many as two dozen. When nothing had changed at this fall's homecoming dance, Perrins said administrators decided to try something else.

Any student who wants to attend a school-sponsored dance must attend an orientation during a school prep period. Perrins said the orientation would be about 10 to 15 minutes long and include some directives from student government representatives on what's acceptable. Then the students and their parents must sign a contract agreeing to abide by school rules and that contract will remain on file for the rest of the year.

Any student kicked out of a dance from now on will not be allowed to attend future dances at the school for the remainder of the year.

While Perrins said he's gotten numerous e-mails of support from most parents, many of his students aren't thrilled. They've been calling him "old-fashioned."

Prairie High School Senior Irina Oleksiyenko, 18, said the dancing she's seen wasn't too sexy for her personally. Via e-mail, she told that she understands the principal's intentions and they are good, but the school should punish only those who don't obey the rules rather than including the kids who haven't done anything wrong.

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