Dance changes on hold for now

By Emily Blystone
Few changes will be made to formal dances this year, but major changes may be coming for next school year, Superintendent Randal Lutz said.
A district committee studying formal dances earlier had considered making bigger changes this year, particularly concerning age restrictions and academic eligibility. But in the end, Lutz said it was too late to implement any major rule revisions this year.
“Changing the rules on the children halfway through the year is just not fair,” Lutz said in an email statement.
Students should be prepared for significant rule changes next year, however.
“It is my sincere belief that changes need to happen’” Lutz said. “Those changes need to be sweeping, not just a small adjustment here or there. … (Class) sponsors should plan for considerable changes for next year.”
For this year, the only significant issue that is still under consideration is whether limousines should be banned for the proms. Lutz said a decision on that issue would be made soon.
The minor changes made for this year mostly make official some attendance rules that were unofficial in previous years.
For the freshman and sophomore formals, students in those grades this year can bring anyone from grades nine through 12 who go to either Baldwin or another high school. No dates can be in middle school or high school graduates. Dates from a different high school must receive permission from both Baldwin administrators and the principal of their school.
For junior and senior proms, those same rules apply, but attendees also can bring a date who graduated from high school last year. In that case the dates must confirm their high school graduation date through a high school diploma.
Freshman class sponsor Rachel Murrman and junior class co-sponsor Susan Fagnilli said that it is a good idea to hold off changes for next year.
“Any major changes have to be made at the beginning of the year so that that people can make plans accordingly,” Fagnilli said.
Lutz also stressed that formal dances are for students “in good standing.”
“Participation at these events is not a right – it is a privilege,” Lutz said. “Baldwin-Whitehall School District reserves the right to refuse admittance to any student if we believe it is in the best interest and safety of the event.”