MTHS bans ‘grinding’ at dances

Nick Vlahos

At Metamora Township High School, “grinding” is grinding to a halt. Officially, at least.

During its regular meeting Thursday night, the District 122 board approved a policy that regulates etiquette at school dances. The new policy forbids grinding, a dance style in which one or more partners stands behind another and rubs or bumps bodies.

Only face-to-face dancing will be allowed at the four or five events Metamora sponsors each school year. The policy’s first test will come during the 2012-13 term’s first dance, scheduled for Aug. 17.

“We just didn’t think the style of dancing the students are doing is anything to make your parents proud of,” Metamora Superintendent Randy Toepke said. “We have a higher expectation for our students. This was an opportunity for us to clean it up a little bit.”

According to Toepke, there was no incident that prompted the policy, which he said is based on one in effect at Washington Community High School. But Toepke said he heard numerous parental complaints regarding dance-floor behavior.

Violators of the no-grind policy will be asked to leave the premises and not return. Offenders might be banned from future dances.

“I think the focus needs to be that this is not a club,” board member Amy DeFreitas said. “As much as you want to feel like you’re in some sort of club setting, you are not old enough to be in a club.”

The school played host to a no-grind dance in the past. But according to DeFreitas and Toepke, attendance didn’t match other dances.

“They made it very clear that’s not the way they wanted to dance,” Toepke said about the students.

The new policy will be included in students’ handbooks and will be emphasized when classes resume next month, Toepke said.

Dancing at school-sanctioned events has become increasingly ribald as the academic year progresses, officials said. Board member Claudia Christ said the future of the school’s prom might be endangered if the dirty dancing continues.

“As an educational institution, there’s a social responsibility we should be teaching our students,” Christ said.