Thursday, December 15, 2005

High School Prom: 21st Century Style

The temptations to drink, take illicit drugs and engage in premarital sex are plenty strong enough; they certainlt do not need to have parents' active assistance.

Here are excerpts from a letter announcing the cancellation of spring prom at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, New York. The letter was written by the principal, Brother Kenneth Hoagland, and I hope it stirs up a whole lot of school officials to either follow Brother Ken's example or at least begin a crackdown on the bacchanalia that proms have become.

"Over the years parents have become more active in creating the 'prom experience,' from personally signing for houses for a three day drug/sex/alcohol bash, to mothers making motel reservations for their sons and daughters for after prom get-togethers, to fathers signing the contract for Captain Jim's booze-cruise out of Huntington for an after prom adventure. We have become convinced that some parents support this type of activity, some tolerate it, prefer not to see it, or dismiss it as part of growing up. Some have expressed the view that it is better to lose one's virginity and get drunk before going to college, so that parents can be around to help.

...Aside from the bacchanalian aspects of the prom-alcohol/sex/drugs-there is a root problem for all this and it is affluence. Affluence changes people. Too much money is not good for the soul. Our young people have too much money. Sounds simple, but it is true. When Jesus said that it was very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, it shocked his hearers and it still shocks us. Wealth is powerful, not only in terms of possessions, but in being possessed by it. Wealth changes personalities, priorities, principles. The prom has become the occasion of conspicuous consumption-from dress, to limousines, to entertainment.

...So, too, with the senior prom. We have come to the conclusion that it has a life of its own which is no longer commensurate with the goals of Christian education. And so we dropped sponsoring it."