The principal of a Roman Catholic school in New York state has canceled the spring prom, citing the increasingly out-of-control spending that accompanies the event.
Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland, the principal of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, N.Y., wrote a letter to parents citing a litany of problems that he says have developed over the years: Students putting down $10,000 to rent a house in the Hamptons for a weekend bash. Pre-prom cocktail parties followed by a trip to the dance in a limousine loaded with liquor. Fathers chartering a boat so their children could go out on a late-night “booze cruise.”
“It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity’s sake—in a word, financial decadence,” Brother Hoagland wrote last month. “We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility. [Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy.”
The move has brought a mixed reaction from students and parents. Some parents are considering organizing a prom for their children without the sponsorship of the 2,500-student school, which is owned by the Marianists, a religious order of priests and brothers.
A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2005 edition of Education Week