For students at one California high school, there will be no more dropping it like it's hot, no more leaning back and definitely no more dipping it low.
That's because their principal has canceled the rest of the school year's dances, citing his concern over what he describes as an increase in "freak dancing" — students grinding their hips and pelvic areas against one another.
Principal Jim Bennett of Lemoore Union High School in Lemoore, California, is the man behind the "Footloose"-esque plan, which he implemented after warning students at a winter formal dance last month to lay off the suggestive dancing. When students kept grinding, Bennett pulled the plug on all future dances, including next month's Sadie Hawkins dance, which is a fund-raiser for the school's Future Farmers of America club, and the junior and senior proms in the spring.
"I've never really paid attention to the way students were dancing, but somewhere along the line, this dance style crept in from wherever. At first, two or three kids tried it out, and we stopped them. But now they outnumber us," Bennett said. "I call it vertical lap-dancing. But some of it isn't so vertical; I had one young lady on all fours grinding into the crotch of her date, right in front of me. We can't have students dancing like that in a public place. So that's what drove the decision."
Bennett did say that all dances could be rescheduled if the students agree to give up the dirty dancing.
"There will be no more dances at Lemoore until the student sponsors of the dances abide by two conditions: Number one, no freak dancing, and number two, the administrators don't have to assure number one," Bennett said. "Whether or not that will work, we'll have to see."
This isn't the first time a high school principal has canceled dances due to student behavior. In 2003 Ray Murray, principal of Nevada High School in Nevada, Iowa, canceled his school's homecoming dance following a week of pranks by the students. Several teachers' homes were toilet-papered, a washing machine and dishwasher were left on school property, and the windshield on Murray's van was smashed.
Parents objected to Murray's decision and rented out an off-campus building for students to have their homecoming dance.
"If parents would like to take over dances and rent a hall somewhere, they can do whatever they want," Bennett said. "This isn't part of my educational mission; I didn't go to college for this."
Bennett said he thinks a compromise will be reached and that the dances will go on as planned. And he wants people to know that he's not anti-music or anti-dance.
"My wife and I love to go out dancing. I like any type of country music that's danceable," he said. "But I don't really listen to the radio. And the DJs at these dances are playing songs with the F word in it or describing sexual activity. There's plenty of other songs out there."