Students and administration reach compromise on prom

Students and administrators from Carson High drafted a policy allowing students to take outside dates to the senior prom as long as certain requirements are met.

"I feel it's something we can both work with," said Vice Principal Harvie Walker, who is acting as principal while Glen Adair recovers from heart surgery. "Everybody's happy with it."

In a meeting last week including students, parents and Board Member Stacie Wilkie, a new policy was drafted to give students the freedom to choose a date outside of the high school but also ensure safety.

The administration reviewed the draft and drew up the final policy which both parties agreed to accept.

"It was a neat process to watch," Wilkie said. "I'm really glad that the students took a stand and that the administration listened."

The school's former policy, put into effect the first of the school year, prohibited students from bringing a date who was not a student at the high school to any high school dance including prom.

In November, a group of students, led by Senior Ryan Costella, approached the administration to amend the rule to allow exceptions for prom.

The administration explained that it was a safety issue and that the rule would not be changed. Costella said Adair advised the students to petition the school board.

The students attended five board meetings and on Feb. 8, their sixth meeting, they were put on the agenda.

At that meeting, school board members expressed reluctance to override the decision of the high school administration.

The board sent the students and the administration back to discuss the issue once more to find common ground without the intervention of the board.

In the new policy, up to 70 outside dates will be permitted to attend the prom.

"Seventy should be more than enough," Costella said. "Mr. Walker's limitations were all reasonable."

Guests to the prom must be under the age of 21, currently attend high school or be a college student who is a graduate of a Nevada high school.

If the 70 spaces are not filled by outsiders who meet the criteria, the space will be opened to other outsiders who do not meet the criteria at the discretion of the administration.

All students who graduate early will be allowed to attend the prom and will not be counted among the 70 outsider slots.

Walker said the compromise was reached quickly and without much argument.

"It was a relatively painless process," he said. "I couldn't be prouder of these kids."

The students said they were also pleased with the results.

"Mr. Walker has been more than cooperative," Costella said. "He's awesome, I want to do nothing but thank him."

Costella said his prom date, who is from Carson City but is attending boarding school in Boston, has already purchased her plane ticket.

Applications to bring a date who does not attend Carson High will be available starting the Monday six weeks prior to prom. Students will be given one week to complete the application and provide a photo identification of the prospective date.

The school will have two weeks to conduct a background check by calling the applicant's parents and school. If an applicant does not pass the background check, the student will be notified.

Prom tickets will go on sale on the Monday two weeks prior to the prom. About 440 tickets will be available.


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