A homecoming dance was recently canceled at a high school in Vermont. The reason? Twerking. The principal and dean of students blamed Miley Cyrus for the provocative dance trend and why they called off the dance.
According to The Washington Post, Mount Anthony Union High School's principal, Sue Maguire, and the dean of students, David Beriau, explained that they wanted to "try to engage the students in a discussion about how to find the balance between free expression and appropriate school behavior at dances."
The letter, published in the Bennington Banner, stated "since Miley Cyrus took the stage 'twerking' at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, our students' dancing behavior has crossed the line of what we can condone as appropriate behavior at a school. Twerking is dancing to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving a low squatting stance and thrusting movements. Students do not face one another or remain with the same person for the length of the song."
The Washington Post also reported that inappropriate dancing was the reason other schools have called off dances -- "back in 2011, Skaneateles High School in New York canceled a winter dance because of sexually charged dancing."
While I am not a fan of "twerking" or Miley Cyrus, I can't believe that schools are canceling dances — a pinnacle part of many children's childhoods — because of a pop star's antics. What will we cancel next? School football games because of foul language and aggression? Cheerleading competitions because of skimpy uniforms? (Although the dance was canceled, school officials said in their letter that “everything else planned for homecoming is continuing. We plan on having spirit week, the pep rally, and of course, the homecoming game.”)
Miley Cyrus may have put twerking into the spotlight, but such dance moves have been around for years. I remember teachers reminding students at my Catholic high school to "leave room for the Holy Spirit," and one of my elementary school teachers used to repeat a line from "Dirty Dancing" at school dances: "Remember, this is my space, and this is your space," mimicking Patrick Swayze as he taught Jennifer Grey to dance.
I do agree with the principal that provocative dancing is inappropriate and I feel it should be discussed at home. Classrooms have become all about testing that we sometimes forget there are many other aspects of education that shape our kids' futures. Homecoming dances are a way to celebrate school spirit and friendship outside of the classroom. Plus, canceling dances will not stop kids from twerking — they'll just find another place to do it.