With new rules about inappropriate dancing in place and the promise of more breathalyzers to weed out students who have been drinking, Arlington High School is lifting a moratorium on school dances put in place last fall.
Mary Villano, the interim principal at the school, said today that among the new rules is a requirement that students must be dancing in an upright position at all times in an effort to curtail inappropriate “grinding” that has become common at school dances.
“The girl would bend over and the boy would be behind and the more she bent over the more obnoxious it was,” Villano said.
Other schools in New England, including a high school in Great Barrington, have recently called off dances because of risqué dance moves.
Villano enacted the moratorium on dances at Arlington High School in November because of what she said was inappropriate dancing and a number of students who had been sneaking in alcohol and drinking at the school events.
The school had been suspending at least two students for drinking at every dance, and at a dance this fall she said some students were so drunk they vomited and had to be taken to the hospital.
After halting the dances, Villano said the school met with parents and students to discuss what rules needed to be changed.
While the school had been giving breathalyzers to students suspected of drinking, Villano said chaperones may also conduct random breathalyzers now. She said students also suggested watching bathrooms more closely, and gave other tips to administrators, such as keeping eyes on students who walk out of a dance to get to a stash of alcohol nearby.
“They were really very helpful,” Villano said of students. “They want to see it stop.”
Students who are caught drinking will continue to be suspended from school and put on a social probation and not allowed to attend dances. Students who violate the upright dancing rule will be asked to leave dances, according to the new rules.
Villano said some students have seemed eager for the dances to resume, but other schools that have enacted a similar set of rules have seen attendance drop at dances and it may have a similar effect in Arlington.
“It’s really hard to say until we have a dance,” she said.