Sexually provocative freaking and grinding at high school dances continues to be a concern for some parents and students, prompting the Juneau-Douglas High School site council to revisit dance policies it helped put into effect last fall.
The centerpiece of the new set of rules - "Past 45, no jive" - means a girl who is dancing with her back to a boy can't bend over more than 45 degrees.
The high school's dance policies came under fire at a JDHS site council meeting last month, prompting the committee to revisit them, said site council member and JDHS parent Teri Tibbett. That committee heard from about 20 people last month and intends to meet again this month to come up with recommendations for the full site council April 6.
The new rule is less restrictive than the old "Face to face, keep some space" guideline, but was intended by the students who helped craft it to be a compromise.
Principal Bernie Sorenson has said the old rule was being ignored, even after a crackdown led administrators to kick out large numbers of students from dances. Sorenson tasked the student council to come up with a solution.
Alex Botelho, a JDHS senior who was part of the team that drafted the new policies, said many of his classmates brushed off the old rule.
"I'm not really quite sure where it's going to go," he said. "As a student, I think they're not necessarily making the greatest choice on the site council. I personally didn't see (the old policy) as effective. Really, the rule wasn't enforced, I didn't see it as enforced. It was just sort of written off by the students."
Botelho said the new policy has been tested, and fewer kids are getting booted from dances.
"In my eyes, the dancing has been toned down a little bit," he said.
Other additions the students came up with included a swimsuit rule that bars touching each other anywhere a swimsuit would rest, and students must stay on their feet and they can't lie on the floor.
Tibbett, whose own daughter spoke up about the policies, said she is trying to stay neutral on the topic for the time being.
Freaking and grinding are not a new dance phenomena. In pockets all over the country, battles have raged among students, parents and school officials for years over whether or not to let kids move their hips as they choose at school dances. It's led to all out bans on school sponsored dances in some cases.
The debates usually revolve around taste and generational differences about what is acceptable or not, but sometimes get into safety and well-being concerns in more extreme cases.
One California high school recently banned dances altogether after discovering evidence that the freaking and grinding had gone a few steps past sexually provocative. Chaperones found a used condom on the dance floor and students giving lap dances in a bathroom, reported The Marin (Calif.) Independent Journal.
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