Prom Without Grinding? Waukesha Schools Could Enact Ban Soon
The Waukesha School Board is looking at ways to keep dirty dancing out of the high schools.
Waukesha School Board Member Karin Rajnicek was shocked when she learned what grinding was – and that it happens at school dances in Waukesha.
“I had to Google grinding,” Rajnicek said. “I prayed actually after I saw what it looked like and what people were doing because I wanted those images out of my head. … We wouldn’t let it happen during the hallway during school, we wouldn’t let it happen at an activity after hours or at an athletic event or any other time.”
Grinding is essentially a dance involving close contact and simulated sexual moves. Other high schools have cracked down on the dirty dancing, and the Waukesha School District could institute a ban before prom. The policy still has to go before the Waukesha School Board, although it was discussed Tuesday night at the Policy Committee meeting.
The district is formulating a policy that would prohibit the behavior to give the high school principals the board’s backing on the dance prohibition. Students may have to sign a paper stating they will follow the rules and face possible ejection from the dances if they do not.
“We could just simply say grinding isn’t allowed,” Superintendent Todd Gray said. “Personally I think that is something the principals should be addressing regardless of whether there is a policy or not, especially when it reaches a point of not being good for kids in terms of being obscene.”
Some Students Threaten Boycotts
In December, a student came to the school board with a petition from 80 students saying they will not come to school dances if a ban is enacted.
“I understand there might be 80 kids who wouldn’t come, but that shouldn’t force us to allow the behavior,” Gray said. “If you can’t do something inappropriate and that means you are not going to come, that’s life. … If this is offensive to people and it is not appropriate and it is causing other bad behavior, we should say you don’t get to do it at the dance. That doesn’t preclude other fun things from happening.”
Rajnicek said she’s heard from kids who plan to boycott the school-sponsored dances and hold their own dance parties instead. But she’s also heard stories of students not going to the dances because of the grinding and dirty dance because they are uncomfortable with the moves.
“I know of many parents that are not sending their kids to school dances because of this, and I will be one of them,” she said. “I will not have my kids in this.”
School Board Member Barb Brzenk questioned if the district should legislate morality, but acknowledged the behavior is a problem — especially because of the peer pressure existing in the schools.
“You just get caught up with it. That is the bothersome piece,” Brzenk said. “That is the hard part to overcome when it is part of the culture. … (But) we don’t have to tolerate it. Somewhere, somehow we have to tell them the buck stops here.”
Make Fun Memories, Instead
Rajnicek isn’t just wanting to prohibit the dirty dancing. She wants the school dances to be fun for everyone and wants to do what she can to help foster that environment.
It comes down to volunteers, Rajnicek said. She knows people who would be willing to donate time at the dance for a photo booth and dance instructors who could teach contemporary group dances in the week or two before major dances.
Other ideas she has are raffles, video game contests and food tables.
“We want there to be fun, we want there to be memories,” Rajincek said. “We want them to think of these high school experiences and think good thoughts. … I don’t want them to have bad memories. I want there to be other options because some kids don’t see this as fun. “