Saint Patrick's Day Saint Patrick's Day Saint Patrick's Day

Rules in place to protect promgoers

Many schools are imposing strict restrictions on prom attendance. While administrators cite safety as the primary reason for such restrictions, many graduating students are not happy with the babying behavior.

For most promgoers, the rituals for this special night include formal wardrobe, taking photos, riding together with friends, and the purchase of corsages or other small trinkets of affection. But many students now find they have to go through a checklist of potential don'ts before they can receive entry to the prom.

Age limits

Age limits are imposed on many things, including entry to movies and clubs, to purchase alcohol or tobacco products and to obtain driver's licenses, to name a few. Such restrictions have, in many cases, been put in place to keep young people from engaging in risky behavior. Students going to the prom may find that their school places restrictions on who they can they bring as a date, especially according to age. Many schools set a cut-off where individuals age 21 or older are not allowed to attend. This is likely because it limits the chances of alcohol being introduced into the dance. Also, for legal reasons, there may be restrictions on students under the legal adult age bringing someone older to the dance.


Although many males and females may be following the fashion trends currently dictated by Hollywood and beyond, not all choices may be acceptable at school. In 2010, more than a dozen students at Oxford High School in Alabama were disciplined for dress code violations thanks to their choices in prom gowns.

Students may find dress code policies prohibit dresses that are too short above the knee, ones that show cleavage below the breastbone or materials that are sheer or too revealing. Depending on the school, there also may be limits as to what girls and guys are allowed to wear, such as no tuxedos or suits for the girls and no dresses for the guys.

Schools that impose a dress code may mail home advisements of the policy, or it may be up to the students to find out the restrictions from administration.

Alcohol screening

In an effort to prevent drunk driving injuries and fatalities, some schools have implemented alcohol screening procedures. Alcohol-related crashes are one of the leading causes of death come prom time. Also, alcohol is said to reduce people's inhibitions, which can increase risky behavior, such as having unprotected sex.

Students who attended the Saratoga Springs High School Prom in 2011 had to submit to an alcohol screening to prove they had not been drinking before entering the prom. Passive alcohol sensors as well as coat and bag checks were used prior to and during the dance to detect alcohol consumption. The school stated that the policy was put in place after two students were hospitalized and 21 were disciplined after engaging in underage drinking at a prior dance.

These are not the only restrictions some schools implement. Across the country, dates have been banned after criminal background checks turn up past misdemeanors. Some schools require parents prescreen potential not-from-the-school dates, or these students must be vouched for by their own principals.

Some students and parents say that these restrictions are beneficial for the safety of the classmates. Others argue it is a violation of personal rights. However, if the students don't agree with the policies, they have every right not to attend the prom.