Are high school proms necessary?


It seems to me that high school proms are becoming an exercise in excess. Last year a Catholic high school on the East Coast made the news when they cancelled the senior prom, specifically for this reason.


Proms are different in all parts of the country. At my HS it was all student council types who went. I was very active at my school and I did not go. Lots of places it is still just a fun dance where kids dress up and go to dinner first.

It is partly overly indulgent parents to blame when it gets out of hand. No kid has the means to rent a stretch Hummer limo or hotel room on his/her own without a cooperative adult to sign for them.


They may not be necessary, but they are fun.


They can be very fun…[size=4]but all too often they create all sorts of problems. They can introduce occasions for behaviour that ranges from simply inappropriate for teen-agers to outright illegal and/or immoral–including huge peer pressure to spend excessively, dress inappropriately/act out sexually, drink/use drugs, drive in an unsafe manner, promote cliques/social exclusion, etc…[/size]
[size=3]I think each individual situation, school environment or tradition, individual participant and his/her circle of friends, their judgment/responsibility needs to be evaluated honestly BEFORE the event and then necessary and reasonable limits AND supervision need to be imposed no matter how much protest is offered. It can be our kids’ very lives on the line–and often their self esteem, reputations and integrity. Seems like a high price to pay for one night of “fun.”[/size]


As a high school senior, I think of prom as a night where you can dress up, go out and dance, and hang out with your friends before graduation. I am hoping my long distance boyfriend can come, because for me, it’s a time when I can hang out with my friends and introduce him to them and hopefully see him before our lives get insanely busy, also I haven’t seen him in almost a year and I really want to see him.

I am not getting a new dress for prom this year, as I am taking my first trip abroad this summer and have been putting my money towards that. I am excited about getting all dolled up and going. After all the stress (English papers, AP exams coming up, college acceptance/rejection letters, and other drama) I can’t wait to go.

I understand the excess and immorality that some kids get into, but my school has a way to prevent that. Our prom is on a boat and no one is allowed to get off or on anytime they want. We also all have to sign contracts saying that we won’t drink or do drugs or anything like that and be willing to submit to breathalizer (sp?) tests if asked. I would never act up or misbehave, and I couldn’t afford to anyway. One of the chaperons is my mom’s best friend, so anything I did would get back to her before you could say “grounded”:wink:

I’m excited. Now I just have to get the rest of my out-of-school guest stuff in and I’m good to go:)


I was hearing about a private school here that had something unique, an “unprom”. The girls all go to thrift shops for their dresses and your dates are assigned, specifically so that you can have the chance to socialize with people you might otherwise overlook. The kids that go there really all like the concept. I thought it sounded pretty cool.


A fun twist on the old tradition…I like it! Also liked the post above about a prom where the venue is controlled (boat).


I just always saw prom as a fun night to dress up and have one last night to spend with all of my friends before we graduate and go our separate ways. At my school, you weren’t permitted to leave until it was officially over (it was a small school though, so it was very easy to enforce that).


I remember reading an FAQ pamphlet from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. There was the usual “Why don’t JW’s celebrate birthdays?” The answer centered on Herod’s beheading of John the Baptist after he got drunk at his birthday party. The gist of it was that because one man in a drunken stupor at a birthday party did something that he otherwise wouldn’t have done (read the entire gospel account for more on this) the JW’s don’t have birthday parties.
If you don’t go and enjoy a prom dinner dance because some people over do the celebrating and do the wrong things, you become guilty of the same kind of skewed thinking as the JW’s. No party is necessary, but what would life be without celebrations?
This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.



I totally agree with you! So many parents superimpose their limited view of their own high school experience onto their children’s experience. So what if you have a really nice teen age son or daughter who is also sociable? Should we not allow him or her to enjoy an evening out with his or her friends? Should we not rent them a tux or buy them a dress so that they might not have a near occasion to sin? Why not trust that we taught them well and if they make a mistake, well it’s up to them to do what they will with their freedom. Why is it so bad to have them dress up, buy their date flowers and enjoy eating with silverware and cloth napkins? It’s fun to see your friends all dressed up. It’s fun to dance to popular music. It’s fun to ride on a bus to the country club or catering hall.


A sensible approach. Actually, I think a lot of the excesses come from parents who have gotten it into their heads that prom is supposed to be the biggest day of your life. Give me a break. I have fond memories of my prom, but if that was the best I could hope for in life, that would just be too depressing.

I didn’t buy a new dress for my prom either. I wore the same one I had used for two other formal dances. As far as I know, no one noticed, and if they did they didn’t care–and this at a very small school. My date drove a borrowed car–no limo.After it was off to Denny’s for coffee and junk food and my friend’s house for movies. It was a blast.

Necessary is a strong word. But proms are fun, and sensible kids like sanctamaria can handle them fairly well.


I hated high school prom because of all the cliquiness and frankly I couldn’t stand my classmates. I went my junior year because a good friend from a different highschool asked me so we went to his prom…I had more friends there than at my own school. I didn’t bother with it at all my senior year.


There’s a high school in the Diocese of Rockford, I think Aquin in Freeport, where dates are assigned. In fact, the young ladies go through an elaborate ritual of disguising themselves during the lottery process, so the guys have a rough way to go figuring out who is who (small school- 50 kids in the senior class). The girls still must be asked by the fellas- but they MUST ask only senior girls at the school; no other grades, no other schools.


I don’t think the contracts mean anything to the kids who are going to “indulge” anyway (not you of course!). But I like the idea of lock-in, or in this case, water-locked proms. There are move than a few held on the tour boats of Lake Michigan for that reason. I am also rather fond of the “bus” method, where everybody going to the same prom gets on a bus to head to the prom destination- not a school bus, but one of those tour buses. The buses have bathroom facilities, room for snacks, DVD players, etc. Nobody is driving, nobody is paying out for limo.

I think if parents put their feet down on being expected to pay for things out of the realm of real (extreme stretch limos, courture dresses, dinner where nothing is less than $50, $200 coiffures), and expect kids to help with the expenses (such as our charming sanctamaria is going to do), prom will come down to something out of the ordinary, but grounded in reality.


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