A limousine load of “attaboys” for that Uniondale, N.Y., principal who canceled Kellenberg Memorial High School’s prom. Not unexpectedly, a lot of students and parents disagreed. Very vocally.
Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland, the principal of the Catholic high school in upscale Long Island, said he was fed up with the “flaunting of affluence” as well as “bacchanalian aspects.”
Proms, as any contemporary parent of teenagers knows, aren’t what they used to be. That rite-of-passage, adult dress-up with Dad’s car and prissy chaperones now seems like time-capsule material. Apparently in Uniondale it was not uncommon for students to rent a party house in the Hamptons. It was a given that there would be pre-prom cocktail parties and amply-stocked limos. Parents sometimes chartered boats for late-night “booze cruises.”
The problem obviously is the parents, too many of whom were using their kids’ proms as another forum for and barometer of conspicuous consumption. The right house, the right neighborhood, the right car, the right trophy spouse, the right country club and the right private school.
Realtors, car dealers and country clubs are certainly not going to weigh in.
So schools better, and Brother Hoagland did.
In effect, he said to parents: “Thank you for paying these big tuition bills. But you’ve bought more than a designer diploma for your child, and you’ve purchased more than an excellent college-prep curriculum. Your child is also exposed to a set of values that we trust will prepare them well for what they will encounter in life – including a culture of excess and vanity.
“We just didn’t think that a lot of you parents would be part of the problem.
“We hope you buy in to what we’re doing – because we’re not selling out.”