One of the top prom songs for 2013, according to MTVstyle, is Sky Ferreira's Everything is Embarrassing. It certainly reflects the behavior leading up to the River Ridge High School dance last week when a tardy student, obliging teacher, rigid principal and strong-willed parent combined for a brouhaha that left a teary-eyed teenager escorted from the event.
There is plenty of blame to go around and valuable life lessons for all.
A junior who could not attend the prom now knows that deadlines matter. She was left on the outside looking in because she failed to purchase her $75-per-person ticket before sales ended May 10. It led a deputy to bar her from the May 17 prom at Lowry Park Zoo because only ticketed guests were allowed inside.
But she isn't the only one who could benefit from this teachable moment. Principal Maria Swanson could learn a thing or two about compassion. She declined to let the student buy a post-deadline ticket, in part, because she was peeved that members of the senior class had been tardy in ordering their caps and gowns for commencement. Next time, she should target her punitive measure at the appropriate audience.
Teacher Tammy Casanova would do well to consider the implications of her behavior when she invited the teen to attend as a volunteer and then failed to notify the administration. It's not known whether Casanova genuinely wanted to help the student or simply sought to be obstinate. Either way, her decision set in motion the events that led the teenager to be humiliated at the prom when she was escorted off the premises by law enforcement.
Casanova, who is retiring, also is accused of allowing a pair of 20-year-old men — one of whom was suspected of being intoxicated — to attend the affair as helpers and to socialize with the high school students. That poor judgment brought a suspension and an ugly end to her career.
The actions of the girl's mother, Diana Byrnes, are troubling as well. Rather than emphasizing to her daughter, Caroline, the importance of purchasing a ticket in a timely manner, she badgered school officials for a week that her child was being treated unfairly. The lesson here shouldn't be about shifting blame toward others.
Maybe everyone involved should offer up an additional song to the prom play list. Here's a suggestion to add a tune from the Christian punk band, MxPx:
C.T. Bowen is Pasco/Hernando editor of editorials.