“It’s Grind Time!” That is the slogan for the dance Lake Zurich High School students organized after administrators style of dancing at the school’s Homecoming dance.
LZHS is not alone in its decision to implement dance regulations at school-sponsored dances, the movement to ban the sexually suggestive style of dance known as “grinding” has spread across the country.
Although rumors and threats of a “no-grinding policy” traveled to Palatine, administrators at both Palatine and Fremd High Schools said they have not banned grinding at school dances.
There are no new rules to prevent Pirates, Vikings and their dates from bumping and grinding on the dance floor. However, students are expected to act appropriately.
“It’s not that we don’t have the grinding here,” said Palatine High School Assistant Principal Mike Alther, “But we’ve never had to make a rule to prohibit it.”
After rumors of a “no-grinding policy” swirled throughout the school, dozens of PHS students threatened to ditch the dance. “There was a period of time the style of dance was progressing in a direction we didn’t want it to go but we have chaperones there, this is not just an empty gym full of kids,” said Alther.
“The trends have changed over the years,” said Fremd High School Assistant Principal, Eric Dolen, “But no, we’re not doing anything different than what we’ve done in the past.”
Each year school administrators get together to discuss student activities, such as school dances. This year, Alther said grinding was a topic of conversation at that meeting but Palatine and Fremd ultimately decided a ban was unnecessary.
Lake Zurich High School opted to implement new rules, strictly prohibiting sexually suggestive dancing, a decision that may have back fired. As soon as word broke of the “no-grinding policy,” LZHS students banned together to organize their own alternative event in protest of the school new rules.
Students plan to ditch the school’s dance and throw their own dance, “The Real LZ Homecoming” on Saturday, Oct. 6, the same night as the school’s schduled event.
The student rebellion started with a Facebook group, “The Real LZ Homecoming” where a handful of students immediately started to promote the event and fundraise using the slogan, “It’s Grind Time.”
To rent a banquet hall and hire a DJ and for “The Real LZ Homecoming,” students started selling t-shirts and tickets advertising, “There wouldn’t be any rules. GRIND ALL YOU WANT.”
In less than a week the Facebook group gained more than 1,500 members and raised more than $1,0000 in just two days.
In a letter sent home to parents, LZHS administrators stated “grinding” has become increasingly popular and increasingly inappropriate at the school dances.
“In most cases a student stands directly behind their partner. He/she then places their hands either on their partner’s hips or around their midsection. At the same time, he/she presses their pelvic region against their partner’s backside. As the music plays, the students then thrust or “grind” to the beat of the music. Sometimes, the person in front will even bend over as they dance, placing their hands on their knees or the floor.”
Taking a different approach, administrators at both Palatine and Fremd chose not to write a special set of rules for school dances.
“We just want it to be tasteful,” Alther said, “We have certain expectations and if anything gets inappropriate we intervene right away and the kids respond.”
Dolen said he wants the students at Fremd to learn how to make the right decisions on their own.
“You don’t want to have a checklist to say you can’t do this, this or this,” Dolen said, “I think you’re always better off without that.”
But given that freedom, Dolen admits, some kids do choose to act inappropriately, “Obviously some kids are going to get off track and we want to place them in the right direction,” Dolen said that’s why teachers, administrators, chaperones and police officers are at all of the school dances. While giving students the freedom to make their own decisions, Dolen said, “It gives them a chance to say no to peer pressure.” Schools should guide their students, Dolen said, but kids need to start making decisions for themselves.
“They’re entering adulthood and they have both legal and social rules to abide by,” Dolen said, “We want them to grow up making decisions to navigate the adult world appropriately.”
Fremd High Schools Homecoming dance is Saturday, Sept. 22, Palatine’s dance is scheduled one week later on Saturday, Sept. 29.