Attending the high school prom is such an exciting milestone in any young girl’s life.  Who can forget the thrill of being asked by one of the cutest guys in school?  And those memories of shopping for the perfect prom dress will last a lifetime.  But what if your dress had to be reviewed by the school board before you could actually make your grand entrance?  How fun would that be?

That is exactly what’s happening this year at a local Pennsylvania high school.  Delone Catholic High School has instituted a new policy where “prom moderators” are required to pre-approve each female student’s gown.  It is called the “appropriate attire” test, and many DCHS students are more than a little unhappy about the new policy.

The policy covers both boys and girls, but it seems to focus largely on choosing prom dresses that are more in accordance with the more stoic fashion traditions of “Catholic values and moral integrity”, according to the wording of the guidelines. Dresses that show too much cleavage, leg, or skin will be deemed inappropriate.  What is this?  The 1950’s?  To make matters even worse, the approval process must take place several weeks prior to the actual event.  This means that each young lady can only wear the single gown that was given the thumbs-up by school administrators.  There will be no last-minute costume changes. 

Oddly enough, the DCHS policy even goes so far as to state that all students and their dates must adhere to “gender-specific formal wear.” Apparently, the nuns and priests want to see boys in boy-clothes and girls in girl-clothes.  No young lady will be given the option to wear a top-hat-and-tails, and no young man can show up to the event wearing a lacy camisole with a pair of stiletto heels.  Apparently, high school is no place for free expression, certainly not at DCHS anyway. 

The underlying concern not specifically stated in the antiquated school policy is that sexy clothes leads to drinking, drugs, and sex.  But many parents who attended proms in the 80’s wearing dresses made from yards of Taffeta know all too well.  The dress has little to do with whether or not the student will engage in a night of debauchery.