Students protest prom rule

Carson High School seniors are protesting a rule that says their prom date has to be a CHS student too.

"It's a special event, it's prom," said 18-year-old Ryan Costella. "It's not just any dance."

Costella wants to take an old friend from Carson City who attends boarding school in Boston.

"A lot of people here know her," Costella said. "It would be neat for her to go to prom with all of her friends."

As the rule stands now, only Carson High students are allowed at any dance sponsored by the school.

Costella said they do not want to change the entire rule but make an exception only for prom. Carson Senior Prom will be May 6.

However, Costella said that administrators have said the rule would have to stand.

So the seniors have taken the issue to the school board. After attending five meetings, they were assured by Superintendent Jim Parry that the issue would appear on the agenda for Feb. 8.

This is the second time the board has made such a promise.

"We were supposed to be on the agenda last time," Costella said. "I feel like we've just been turning in circles because they want us to lose our speed."

Araceli Madera, another senior, said the administration should trust them with the decision.

"We are hardworking students, we are expected to go out into the real world and be responsible adults," she said. "Part of that process is making a responsible decision about who you want to take to prom."

School officials have told the students that the rule is in place because of safety concerns and limited capacity.

But Costella said the students have come up with some ways to overcome those concerns.

"The gym can accommodate as many people as we need it to," he said. "We can use less tables or whatever."

As far as safety, he said all outside guests would have to sign a form agreeing to abide by all of the school's rules or be subject to civil charges, and the student's guardian would have to sign a form taking responsibility for the guest.

"We're not just a bunch of kids going into this unknowledgable," Costella said. "We've got a case."

School Trustee John McKenna said he trusts the students, but he also trusts Principal Glen Adair to make the decisions regarding the high school. Adair was not available for comment.

"We hire the people to run the school and we let them run it," McKenna said.

He said the school board has the power to override the principal's decision, but he does not think it should.

"I would hope that the school board backs the principal," McKenna said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's his school."

Costella said he hopes to have at least 40 students and parents at the next school board meeting to show support.

Trustee Bob Crowell said that numbers will not influence the board's decision. He does want to hear both sides of the argument, however.

"But right now, you could call me leaning toward the 'letting outsiders go' side," Crowell said.

Regardless of the outcome, Crowell said the students' effort should be commended.

"I think it's tremendous," he said. "That's how government is supposed to operate."


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