Paddling high school students for revealing prom dresses? Are we nuts?

I am not sure why schools add more to their plate by taking on such idiotic and unnecessary tasks as inspecting high school seniors’ prom dresses.  Yet, here is another newspaper story about a school system getting itself overheated over a prom dress — and I would bet that the dress in question would have been allowed at most Atlanta schools.

This is the prom dress that an Alabama school ruled was unacceptable and gave the student a choice of suspension or paddling for wearing it. (Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

This is the prom dress that an Alabama school ruled was unacceptable and gave the student a choice of suspension or paddling for wearing it. (Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

(In fact, the dress would have been allowed at my Catholic high school where friends wore far more revealing ensembles. The nuns never said a word, figuring that we got to doff our uniforms once a year so why not let it go.)

I have no problem with reasonable restraints on what teens wear to school, but I would defer to parents on senior prom night, which is a four-hour event typically not even held on school property.

In addition, we are supposed to be treating high school seniors as adults, yet we want to tell them what formalwear is acceptable? I just think this is a waste of everyone’s time and a losing battle.

Let mom and dad duke it out with the girls. If the parents approve of the gown, the school should stay out of it unless the dress is made of clear plastic wrap, chain link or explosives.  I went to a formal affair at a fancy prep school once and there was a mom whose gown was literally three scraps of materials.  She showed more skin than all the teenage girls combined. Some people don’t have any sense at 17 or at 47.

The punishment at this Alabama school for a prom dress offense was either suspension or paddling. Another example of insanity. If we are paddling 18-year-olds for wearing revealing prom dresses, we need help. This story was sent to me by a regular Get Schooled poster, who included this note:

I thought I would share this news story about a girl punished fro a skimpy prom dress. The choice of the punishment was suspension or a paddling. I know you’ve covered similar stories.. As a parent if I lived in that community, I would be absolutely beside myself if my daughter had to choose between either of those choices for a punishment. But that is just one parent’s opinion. These are seniors in high school for crying out loud! I think a dress code is fine BUT draconian punishments are ridiculous.

Anyway, here is part of the story from the Anniston Star. Take a look at the whole thing, if you have time:

Erica Deramous was not trying to make a statement, disobey school policy or flaunt herself. She just wanted to enjoy her senior prom.

She was suspended all the same.

“I feel it’s stupid because I got suspended for nothing,” Deramous said.

As high school seniors in Calhoun County and across the country continue to board limousines and purchase corsages in the coming weeks for their proms, many will come under the scrutiny of school administrators with varying interpretations of what is and is not appropriate formal wear.

Deramous was one of about 25 Oxford High students who were disciplined for violating the dress code at her school’s prom Saturday. The students in violation were allowed to stay at the prom, but the following week, each was given the option of receiving corporal punishment or accepting a three-day suspension from school, Oxford principal Trey Holladay said.

“We’re using the same policy we’ve had for the last five years,” Holladay said. “Being a parent, I want to make sure girls and guys act accordingly. We’re a high school and our community has certain expectations of what is appropriate.”

132 comments Add your comment

chris bates

April 4th, 2010
2:47 pm

What year is this 1950? How can this type of backward behavior by school officials be condoned by a community, a state, a legal system? Paddling is corporal punishment that is not allowed in any area that’s in the modern times within the past 25 years. How is this possible to exist?

This is like some strange David Lynch movie… Isn’t this the same area where Deliverance was filmed?

csquared

April 4th, 2010
2:51 pm

we should be paddling HS Administrators and principals that have time to waste on this nonsense. Sure, you can enlist in the military and go get your head blown off or drive a car, but don’t wear a revealing prom dress? What school system has time for this nonsense? I’m sure it’s because their seniors all test 2400 points on the SAT and have perfect 4.0 grades in their classes and there’s nothing else for them to do.

Sally Forth

April 4th, 2010
3:06 pm

It’s like the Harper Valley PTA. Actually, it’s just another example about why public education is ridiculed in this country. Don’t these administrators have more important things on their agenda?

DigALittleDeeper

April 4th, 2010
3:11 pm

The students are a little too old for paddling and I would call it an act of sexual assault. The most important issue for prom should be checking for alcohol and drugs, which can have a real affect on their student body.

DB

April 4th, 2010
3:12 pm

Oh, good grief. If the dress was inappropriate, then they shouldn’t have been allowed to attend the prom. But to allow them to go, and THEN punish them? That’s just STOOOPID.

I know there are some very conservative private schools that require the girls to submit a photo of themselves in their dress to the administration before the prom. If the dress is deemed unsuitable, the girls and her parents are told, and another dress has to be procured. But that’s a private school, and presumably the families knew what they were signing up for.

But having 25 girls disciplined for inappropriate dress?! Someone definitely has a screw loose — and if the picture above is any indication, it wasn’t the students.

What is WITH Alabama and their proms?!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dresses teens and Tiffany, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Paddling high school students for revealing prom dresses? Are we nuts? http://bit.ly/cZkPNr [...]

csquared

April 4th, 2010
3:25 pm

I’m with you DIG, my daughter’s not getting suspended and if you’re unfortunate enough to lay hands to her, better the cops get you before I do. Photo attached of Trey Holladay, http://tinyurl.com/ycz9aky, who i would bring charges against were it my child.

hryder

April 4th, 2010
3:47 pm

The solution is simple. NO PROMS!

irisheyes

April 4th, 2010
3:49 pm

I understand a school not wanting the girls who come to prom to look like they just got off a stripper pole, but this is WAY TOO MUCH. If the dress shows off too much, have a chaperone there with pins/tape/whatever to try and fix it. If it can’t be fixed, then don’t let the girl into the prom. Suspension (or paddling) is going off the deep end in this instance.

I totally agree about making sure there is no drugs or alcohol. I’m curious if these administrators were so worried about the girls showing off their knees that they ended up missed the group of guys bringing in a couple of bottles of daddy’s liquor.

irisheyes

April 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

Should be “missing”, not “missed”. I’d hate for the grammar police to have to work overtime on this lovely Easter Sunday!

colin richards

April 4th, 2010
3:56 pm

These are the same people that admire that venomous ingnorant rabble rouser, Sarah Palin, and hate the United States of America, and our Commander in Chief. They despise our country and call themselves Christians and Patriots, but they are the farthest from either.

DD

April 4th, 2010
4:14 pm

If the dresses were so inappropriate that it required suspension or a paddling, HOW can the administrator justify allowing them to attend the prom. This is absolutely crazy.

Decatur Taliban

April 4th, 2010
4:20 pm

I’m glad that the standards that I grew up with are still being adhered to in Mississippi and Alabama. I’m glad that there are states and counties left that aren’t afraid to use corporal punishment as it should be used. And to people like csquared I’ll bet you didn’t know that GA state law still authorizes it’s use but administrators here in metro Atlanta are way too wimpy to use it, because they fear being personally sued.

David S

April 4th, 2010
4:32 pm

If there were no government schools and all were private/charity schools, you would know their policies right up front, there would be contracts, and the violation of those contracts would be a crime. If you didn’t like it, you could chose another school or pull your child out.

Just another example of how a private system with no government involvement would eliminate yet another of the millions of conflicts that a government system inherently fosters.

chris

April 4th, 2010
4:33 pm

Only in Afghanistan and Muslim countries do we need to worry about such foolishing Decatur Taliban. And Colin just because people disagree with the socialist policies of the President doesnt mean we hate America. It seems we were having this debate with President Bush was in office when your crowd was babbling hatred and ill will to him too. Get real. As far as this school system goes -no words to describe this insanity but a growing trend in our nation that everything is now being policed from what we eat to what we wear to what we say – WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!.

csquared

April 4th, 2010
4:36 pm

they have good reason to fear being sued, it’s called common sense. There’s no way jury is going to condone an AFTER THE FACT punishment. If the dress is allowable for the PROM, then they go. If it’s not, then they GO HOME. they don’t get to go to the prom and then decide punishment. and my comment stands Taliban, you want to be less of a wimp and lay hands on my 18 year old for a prom dress, go for it. I’d gladly serve that 2-3 years.

DigALittleDeeper

April 4th, 2010
4:38 pm

Decatur Taliban – the students are usually Juniors, Seniors and maybe a few younger students; old enough to get a drivers license and jobs. They are old enough in many family court systems to decide if they would like to live with Mom or Dad in a divorce.

No one on this blog has said anything about real punishment for not following the rules, but paddling and school suspension does not justify the means. In most schools, if students are dressed inappropriately they are asked to call a parent to bring suitable clothing or the school gives them something suitable.

In my opinion, paddling is okay for elementary and middle school; but once you enter high school we need to be a lot more creative. These students are being prepared for the adult world, they are no longer babies. In fact, I would say the prom is where many young adults decide to make the move into parenthood and a spanking on the fannie isn’t going to make them grow up any slower.

pjj3

April 4th, 2010
4:45 pm

Corporal punishment is alive and well in some Georgia counties.

mar

April 4th, 2010
4:45 pm

The dress looks cute but the school still has to go by its rules. If they don’t, there will be no limits. Wear the dress to a party after graduation.

Maintain Man

April 4th, 2010
4:47 pm

colin richards …. you’re liberal ignorance is showing.

Jamie Gumbrecht

April 4th, 2010
4:55 pm

This is a discussion of principle, but for added context, here’s a news story that includes video of the gal wearing her dress: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23025672/detail.html

csquared

April 4th, 2010
4:56 pm

I think we should extend corporal punishment to the GA Legislature. A public flogging day before CROSSOVER DAY for those deemed to have wasted taxpayer money and time. A true bipartisan day, where average Georgians could APPLY some corrective measures.

CONSERVATIVE

April 4th, 2010
5:13 pm

HEY………..WHAT YOU GET WHEN KOOK LIBERALS run the system…KOOKs are in charge..

ella

April 4th, 2010
5:13 pm

How is hitting someone with a board legal? I think the principal, Trey Halladay gets a kick out of this- cheaper than an S&M session huh!
I just don’t see the reveal unless her boobs were so large they fell out of the dress.
I think the NAACP and child protective organizations need to tell these schools that hit children it is 2010 and hitting has been determined YEARS AGO to NOT WORK!!

William Casey

April 4th, 2010
5:29 pm

What did Erika’s mother and father have to say about all this?

William Casey

April 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

CSQUARED— you are oh so tough on an anonymous blog. The school was foolish in its action. But a lot of parents are too. I do know that the number of unwed teen mothers is a real problem. No, there’s not a direct correlation between skimpy outfits and pregnancy but there is one between having no standards and getting knocked up.

EagleIntuition

April 4th, 2010
5:51 pm

I personally think the dress is beautiful and feminine and I love the color! I bet she looked gorgeous in it. I don’t think there’s anything about it that looks too revealing to wear to a prom. Why can’t the administrators just take the high road and leave well enough alone.

Peggy Spatar

April 4th, 2010
5:53 pm

Absolutely horrible that young adults in this day and age get PADDLED for what they wear to prom. Actually it’s outrageous and reinforces corporal punishmnet that establishes nothing except humiliation and hurt both physical and psychological! It’s abominable and the scholl should be sued or forced to apologize to these young students and another form of punishment incorporated!

Bobby Johnson

April 4th, 2010
5:58 pm

First you would not spank my daughter nor would she get suspended for some outdated law that you want to enforce on us. After I finish suing the school board then maybe we would have a man to man chat

DB

April 4th, 2010
6:06 pm

Saw the video — it seemed a little short, and while it may not have been to my taste, it didn’t seem obscene or suggestively revealing. It wasn’t any shorter than stuff you see kids wearing to the mall. Erika’s mother declared that “if she thought it was inappropriate, she wouldn’t have bought it!” which, frankly, is no recommendation at all when you look at some of the outfits kids show up to school in – parents are not automatically arbiters of good taste and decorum, these days.

I’m still incredulous that the school officials would allow her into the prom in the first place with what they deemed inappropriate attire, if they were so outraged at the fashion.

Paul

April 4th, 2010
6:08 pm

Girls are dressing like trash more and more. If you look at the degenerative nature of society in the past 40 years, I think we should bring back decency in schools. I think *more* students should be paddled instead of being coddled. Come to school acting disrespectful or dressed inappropriately should result in an immediate trip to the school office and a harsh spanking/paddling. This would improve our nations school system, drastically and immediately. I am sick of all these mushy, let kids do as they please, then give them time-out when they mis-behave. Look where there as gotten society.

tryingtoteach

April 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

Good Grief. The problem is again a lack of trust between parents, administrators, students and teachers. I do not agree with paddling as a punishment for seniors, juniors, any children other than my own and by me only. I saw the video offered by Jamie. I do not think the dress was inappropriate but if I had information that detailed how short the dress can be and how low the dress can be, I would require my child to follow the rules. Eighteen kids did not follow the rules. Yes, weird rules. Enjoy the prom but be punished later is stupid but good grief was is even more stupid is to violate the rule and then whine, like an entitled, spoiled brat about the punishment choices. Follow the rules. Work to change them when they are stupid. Violate them only on moral grounds. I support the principal and the school on this even though they have a stupid policy. If my child were in that school, I would work to change that stupid rule and the stupid consequences. But Good Grief wearing a revealing Prom Dress is not a God given right. Going to a Prom is not a God given right.

And Maureen your wrong about this being a waste of time. Following the rules is not a waste of time but a responsibility our children need to learn. Breaking the rules when they are immoral is another responsibility too. Following stupid rules and working to change them is another responsibility. This story is yet another example of irresponsible parents and their children feeling that the rules do not apply to them. I applaud the overwhelming majority students to enjoyed a school sponsored prom by following the rules.

Derek

April 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

God, liberals never learn. First off all Ms. Downey, alot of kids don’t have parents, or parents that care. Second of all if your child doesn’t go to school there or your not paying taxes in that distict, its NONE of your business! STAY out of it, if the voters, parents, school board in Oxford want your opinion they will ask for it!! If there are rules in place at that school, and if they are a condition to be met, in order to go to a school sanctioned, GUESS WHAT, TOUGH, either follow the rules or hold your own prom. QUIT commenting on other peoples values and morals, watch out for your own! There are alot of laws, regulations and rules we all follow, some of them really silly. But if you don’t vote to change them SHUT UP!

tryingtoteach

April 4th, 2010
6:16 pm

Well said Derek, since I had two typos in my post!

A Realist

April 4th, 2010
6:22 pm

Some of these parents should endure paddling for the prom dresses that I’ve seen recently. Especially in the inner city schools

csquared

April 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

OK Bill, if you’re the principal, tell you what. put your hands on my kids, law or no law. As an 18 year old, she can press charges herself. but if your or any of your S&M friends wants to try, like I said. be my guest.
these archaic laws are why folks still regard the South with amusement.

TARMANCER

April 4th, 2010
6:30 pm

I went to school in Alabama (grad ‘77) and our school principal was Baptist and his religion believed dancing was a sin so we were not even allowed to have any proms. Can you believe that? We had to have a senior banquet. Yuck. Where you go eat a dinner in the school cafeteria prepared by the lunch ladies and served on lunch trays. Were was the separation of church and state?

Ole Guy

April 4th, 2010
7:26 pm

Clearly, the administration, namely the principal, over-stepped the bounds of decorum. As outdated as it may seem, I feel a paddling is called for in cases of repeated violations of behavioral norms. However, the young lady’s offenses, if any, were ones of poor taste and poor decisions. The principal, or whatever administrator initiated this action, may have been reacting to his/her personal code of dress rather than the established school code. Where the kids briefed, prior to the prom, on appropriate wear, or was it assumed (Ass outa U an Me) that proper dress decorum would prevail?

Oxford, at last glance, did not appear to be a town populated by a great deal of influential folks. However, the administration and the school board will be most fortunate to escape legal questioning.

Proud Black Man

April 4th, 2010
7:29 pm

Just another example of the white right and their repressed sexuality that they are trying to push on other people. And whats up with paddling? Just more evidence of the mans violent tendencies.

susan

April 4th, 2010
7:36 pm

First of all NO ONE has the right to lay a hand on MY children but me and the other parent. I remember when my kids were in jr. high. with so many Moms having to go to work, I would see the girls in the morning wearing hooker clothes and getting away with it. Because Mom and Dad were already gone and the girls wore slutty clothes. Thank God I was a stay home mom. AND this was in the 80’s. Now that was something that should have been addressed. I think the school is wrong.

Tim

April 4th, 2010
7:37 pm

Trey Holladay, the Principal at Oxford High School in Alabama. This guy has the audacity to actually give an interview justifying the right to strike teenagers. One interview shows him in a defensive stance, clasp in his wrist with his hand guarding his groin area (a sign of vulnerability and lack of confidence).

Pam

April 4th, 2010
7:55 pm

SHAME ON THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION. What ever happened to “Effective Consequences” in discippining.

gamom

April 4th, 2010
8:05 pm

Decatur Taliban – WHAT?!!!! And you are actually OK with corporal punishment? People with attitudes like yours scare me. Yes, Administrators in many distsricts in Georgia have and will paddle, but everyone one of them risk a lot in so doing. It is a disgusting and barbaric practice which often backfires! You got kids nowadays who are taught at home by their parents – don’t let anyone do anything to you and then you have these ‘educators’ who think this is the way to discipline. There is no way to know the true motivation of an individual hitting another person’s kid. It’s sick and deplorable. The Georgia Legislature refuses to address this problem. How do I know that? I have called them, written to them – THEY don’t want to deal with this, and I am not the only one in GA who feels this way.

ScienceTeacher671

April 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

I agree that the students are too old to be paddled, and I agree that if the dress didn’t comply with the previously announced dress code for prom, the student should not have been allowed to attend – which, IMO, would have been a greater punishment than a day of suspension or a paddling.

So far as the dress, it didn’t look so bad at the top. From the waist down, it looked like a 5-year-old’s party dress, which I don’t think was exactly the image the student was trying to convey…

Lookin in from the Outside

April 4th, 2010
8:18 pm

Umm….yes it is too short and YES it DOES show….i saw the video, it is too revealing, and you are only too old for a paddlin when it stops working…which is why the parents in my county voted to KEEP it in the system

enlightenment

April 4th, 2010
8:19 pm

Spare the rod spoil the prom…

Lookin in from the Outside

April 4th, 2010
8:19 pm

Nothing wrong with giving her a choice. the dress was over the line, and she got snotty about it…so therefore, pay the piper. mom needs paddled too just for being loud and arrogant

Lookin in from the Outside

April 4th, 2010
8:20 pm

Science teacher at 8:06…looks like a 5 yr olds dress huh?? guess what, she aint 5…i can give you 2 reasons after seeing video of her in that dress that proves she AINT 5…

To Lookin

April 4th, 2010
8:22 pm

If the parents are votin’ it in, they are either naive or something. No employer would paddle their employee? How does this ready children for the real world? More importantly what message is it sending to those young men and young women. Shameful and shame on your county. I don’t want my district to be run over by a bunch of parents who think this is a good idea. I don’t raise my kids with it, and I don’t want my kids ever exposed to it. Parents voting it in! That tells me one thing, they haven’t thought or dug a little deeper. Any parent that trusts someone else to discipline their children in this manner are asking for trouble and are neglectful in my opinion. There are a thousand other ways to manage children, start with using your brain

Gwinnett Parent

April 4th, 2010
8:23 pm

Kinky!Kinky!Kinky!