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By TORI LAWHORN, Newsome High
BY KIM WILMATH, St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer
You’ve picked out the perfect dress and shoes, and a nail shade that pops. Or the perfect suit, maybe even a tux if you’re going all out. And, yes, your parents will let you borrow the car.
The homecoming checklist takes a good part of the week before to complete: Order the corsage, coordinate pickup and drop-off times, choose a restaurant, fantasize about dancing with your sweetie, close.
Fantasize being the operative word.
Guidelines soon to be adopted for several local high schools’ upcoming homecoming dances will force students to dance “face to face, with space.”
Catchy, isn’t it?
“We basically told them we want them to dance as if they were dancing in front of their parents,” Newsome High assistant principal Paul Lindstrom said.
He appeared on the school’s morning show recently with Newsome’s student government president to inform kids of the changes -- no booty-dancing this year.
It’s an issue administrators have faced for years.
Lindstrom said it was a hot topic at a recent meeting of several area schools’ assistant principals, and that Newsome is just one of many schools advertising the “face-to-face” rule.
“It looked like they were having sex with their clothes on,” said a slightly embarrassed Tammy Earl, who chaperoned at last year’s Bloomingdale High homecoming. “I was pretty shocked.”
Earl admits it has been a few years since she was in school, but the sight of teenage girls grinding against grinning male classmates was a little unsettling.
“When it gets to a point where teachers don’t want to come supervise because they’re embarrassed to watch the dancing, it’s time to quit looking away,” Lindstrom said. “We’ll circulate (on the dance floor) and just remind students what’s expected of them.”
If chaperones see any bumping and grinding at the Oct. 2 dance, they have the authority to break it up. Lindstrom said he doesn’t foresee any problems, but if students refuse to comply, they could be kicked out of the dance.
“We’re not trying to take away any of their fun, but we want them to behave,” Lindstrom said.
You can probably guess how the students feel.
“Everyone says it’s going to be lame,” Newsome junior Megg Rowjohn said of the dance. “No one’s going.”
Well, maybe not no one. But so many students were thinking of boycotting the strict soiree that several kids got together to organize what they call “homecoming Plan B.”
Students have been advertising the dance on Facebook. It’s supposedly taking place the week before homecoming at a rented off-campus venue, but the plans are still sketchy.
One detail about it is set in stone, though: You can dance however you want.
Lindstrom said he has heard of the alternate dance, but he’s not fazed. “I don’t worry about things we can’t control. And to be honest with you, you can’t replace your homecoming.”
There’s no Plan B spirit week, he said. No Plan B pep rally or football game on a Friday night. No crowning of a Plan B king or queen.
Maybe the real homecoming, with its old-fashioned dance moves and cheesy backdrop photos, won’t be so bad, Lindstrom said.
“I’m going to both homecomings, but only because I have to for newspaper,” said Rowjohn. “If I didn’t have to, I’d go to the Newsome one,” but not for nostalgic reasons, she said. It’s because she doesn’t believe the rule will be enforced.