Prom is an exciting milestone for high school students. It’s a time when teens can dress up, have fun with friends, and let loose before they head off to college or the workforce. For juniors, this may be their last opportunity to attend prom. However, many school policies do not allow juniors to attend the dance unless they are in a certain club or participate in another school-sponsored activity that evening. Furthermore, some schools don’t allow underclassmen to go because of concerns about alcohol consumption and teen drivers on the road. Nonetheless, many schools have been willing to make exceptions for exceptional juniors who want to attend prom. After all, it is an experience that most will remember for the rest of their lives! Read on for information about whether can juniors go to prom. If so, how?
Can Juniors Go To Prom?
A recent article in Time magazine asked parents to weigh in on whether their high school juniors should be allowed to go to prom. The article, written by Richard Rubin and published on May 16, 2013, states that:
Junior-Only Prom Events
- “Junior-only events are growing in popularity. They are often held at a junior high or middle school and include dances, senior proms and dances and other creative programs. They’re a lot of fun for the kids, but they can also be an issue for parents. The idea is that the event is separate from the ‘real’ prom. But some parents object to their children being excluded from the senior prom as well as other school events.”
- “Some parents have complained that it’s not fair to exclude their children from all school events because they don’t want their kids to go to any more than one prom. Others wonder why they should pay for a prom if their kids aren’t allowed to attend it. And some say they don’t want their kids to spend $200 on a dress when they can get one for free at Goodwill or thrift store.”
- “Parents who want their kids to attend prom are increasingly turning to after-prom social events and school dances. In some cases, the junior prom is held at the senior prom. Some schools allow students to attend both events. Others have separate junior and senior proms.”
- “In many cases, the junior prom is a fundraiser for another school event or program. Parents who object to their children going to the senior prom may be choosing not to support a fundraiser for their own kid’s classroom or extracurricular activities.”
- “Many parents say they don’t mind if their kids go to a junior-only prom and don’t want them excluded from all school events.”
- “There’s no right answer as far as I know,” says Judy Thomas of Littleton, Colorado, whose daughter will be attending her first high school dance in May, but she plans on having two separate dances: one at her daughter’s high school and one at her daughter’s junior high. “It’s a matter of opinion,” she says. “I do want my daughter to go to prom. I just don’t want to pay for it.”
- “My son has been planning a junior-only prom since he was in the fifth grade, and I think it’s great that he gets to have his own event,” says Lisa Sussman of West Hartford, Connecticut, whose son is turning 16 this month. He’s not going to the senior prom because he doesn’t want his friends there.”
- “I think it’s great that kids are doing their own thing,” says Natalie Cottrell of Spring Hill, Florida, whose daughter will be attending her first high school dance in May after being home-schooled for two years. “We’re happy that she’ll have a special night without having to spend all that money on a prom dress.”
After-Prom Activities For Juniors Only
- Parents are increasingly restricting the after-school activities of teens. They are limiting their kids’ time spent on the Internet, curbing their use of social media and banning them from going out at night with friends.
- As a result, some parents are asking: Should high school juniors be allowed to go to prom?
- The most common response from parents is no, not if they aren’t old enough to drive or sign a legal contract.
- But some parents say yes, especially if the teens in question have good grades and aren’t known for being reckless or wild. They say that teenagers need some freedom in order to grow up and prepare for adulthood. And they argue that prom is such an important event that it should be reserved for seniors only — unless a student wants to take his date’s parents’ permission first, of course.
- “I’m all for giving kids more freedom as they get older,” said one parent of a senior. “But prom is such an important event that it should be reserved for seniors only. I don’t want my daughter to make a mistake and go with someone who’s not right for her.”
- A few parents say yes, but only if their teen has been in a serious accident or at risk of dropping out of school. “If my daughter had to drop out of school because she was in an accident and got pregnant, then maybe I would let her go to prom,” said one mother of a senior. “I don’t want her making the same mistakes that I did.”
- But most parents think teenagers can handle going to prom themselves — even if they’re juniors. “High school juniors are old enough to make their own decisions,” said one mother whose daughter is a junior. “Besides, they’re independent enough now that they can drive themselves there if they want.”
- Another mother thinks it’s okay for her daughter to go to prom, no matter what her age is. “She’s not a baby anymore,” she said. “I don’t think I should have the power to control what she does with her life.”
- A few parents say they would have no problem letting their high school juniors go to prom — as long as the senior in question is going with an adult friend. “If my daughter goes with an adult friend and someone makes a pass at the friend, then I’d let her go to prom,” said one father of a senior. “But if it was just some kid who was interested in my daughter, then I’d probably say no.”
- Just one mother thinks she should be able to stop her junior from going to prom if she wants to. “The truth is that if my daughter goes and gets hurt or has sex with someone who isn’t right for her, then I’ll stop her from going,” she said. “
Prom is a big milestone for high school students. It’s a time when teens can dress up, have fun with friends, and let loose before they head off to college or the workforce. For juniors, this may be their last opportunity to attend prom. However, many school policies do not allow juniors to attend the dance unless they are in a certain club or participate in another school-sponsored activity that evening. Unfortunately, many schools have been willing to make exceptions for exceptional juniors who want to attend prom. After all, it is an experience that most will remember for the rest of their lives!