Censorship at Dexter

A look back on school dances and how they are an example of over-the-top censorship at DHS

By Andy dolen


Reminiscing on the past four years at DHS, I am happy with how my high school career turned out; however, the high school experience at Dexter is noticeably different than in your average high school.

Unfortunately, we live in a bubble where we are not always impacted by things that are happening around us. This impacts the way students and their parents think a normal high school should function.

Many Dexter students have parents who are DHS alumni or have had family who have been apart of the Dexter community for some time. One of the most prominent complaints by students in the past four years has been the lack of quality during our school dances.

School dances have been a high school tradition for a long time and they are something many students look forward to during the school year as an entertaining event. It’s suppose to be a time where we can enjoy time with friends and let loose; however, this has become less of the case at DHS.

Now as I mentioned earlier, many parents involved with their students at DHS can tend to be over conservative or in other words “helicopter parents.” School dances at Dexter have become more about limiting “bad PR” for the school and administration rather than providing a time away from complete authority as they would be if it was during school hours.

Now, I understand rules are rules, and the event is still being held at a public school, but it easily could be argued that Dexter is one of the most conservative and well-behaved public schools in the area. Throughout the years, fewer students have been showing up for schools dances.

Many turned toward the administration for answers, including myself. The administration does not have complete power over the taxpayers and parents as you might think.

In talking with Assistant Principal Ken Koenig about how parents can be involved in school policy and a recent history of school dances at Dexter, he mentioned that “there hasn’t been many cases where a single parent has been directly involved in changing school policy.” Nevertheless,  many of the changes that have occurred at school dances have been due to issues with having parent chaperones. In the past, there have been conflicts with parents attempting to break up inappropriate dancing. Many students chose not to listen most likely because they were not noticeable faces or apart of the school administration.

The administration then decided it would oversee the school dances rather than having parent chaperones that may create issues, although there is not enough staff to support multiple dances throughout the school year. That help explain the amount of dances has become limited. The administration has also had reason to crack down on some events where things got out of hand, but that has not happened often. But it is not difficult to say that parent involvement in school dances has made a major impact on how they are run and the correlating effect of lack of attendance.

Koenig also mentioned how there is a constant debate between what is accepted as appropriate in an educational institution, which is part of the disconnect between parents, the administration, and the student body.

It may seem that this is be a common complaint from the average high school student, but not all schools are having this same problem, or at least to the same extent.

I asked a student from Ann Arbor Huron High School who has attended multiple Dexter dances if he could offer some insight on the differences.

“The lights are completely off during at our school dances,” said the Huron student, referencing how Dexter’s lights are kept on during the entire dance. “Most everybody” attends the Huron dances, the student added. He also gave Huron’s dances an 8.5/10 rating.

“Your dances kinda sucked,” he said about Dexter dances.

Our school does differ from the others: it’s simply not as fun. Another reason may be for the school board. Multiple members of the school board have or have had kids who went to Dexter schools, and some of these parents may be the reason for the sucky dances.

One good example of something a group of parents have done was create a website called “Clean up DHS” while seniors of 2017 were still in middle school. This blog is a place where parents can go comment, vent and attempt to exploit the “horrible” things that go on at DHS. This includes when The Squall mentioned the word “tequila” in the past, apparently promoting alcoholism by doing so.

Most of the comments are from the username “working towards a better Dexter.” The person is believed to be a school board trustee, but they have chosen not to reveal who they are. The parents might fear their children would be victimized in school by some of the things they have said, which probably isn’t false; it would just suck to have a parent like that.

Even though the last post was in 2011, many of the posts on this site came from current board members parents whose kids are still in dexter schools.

This is a good example of how the administration has been impacted to change the ways our dances are run.

It may seem like I am saying all of our high school memories could have been made at these dances, but I am not. It is the impact they have had and how they are a good example of the extreme censorship that exists here.

Profits from school dances are important for having the opportunity to throw more events at our school such as Prom. This year, the budget for prom was minimal and many were skeptical they were even going to have enough money to support the event.

Student council, along with many other seniors, spent a lot of time fundraising to find enough money to have a decent final Prom for the seniors.

In shedding some light on the culture that has let this happen, my hope is this will save future DHS students from the parents that attempt to control everyone, including the young adults that attend DHS.

Hopefully, you all can have a good Homecoming dance for once and maybe, just maybe, there will be enough interest to finally bring back a Coming Home dance.