Homecoming: finding a balance


Photo Credit: Mrs. Cella

Students dance at the 2014-2015 Homecoming Dance.

by Jamie Russo, Staff Writer

UPDATE: As of Thursday, Oct. 15 the Homecoming Dance has been canceled due to a lack of ticket sales.  


To students, it’s a night to let loose with friends and take their minds off of the stress that comes along with being a high school student. To parents, it’s a night dependent on the trust they’ve built with their child. To faculty members, it’s a crucial event that enhances school culture.

At least that’s what its supposed to be.

Over the last few years, Glen Rock High School’s Homecoming Dance has been a topic of controversy. Students, parents and teachers all have different ideas of what they think the dance should be like. However, with views so vastly different, it has been hard to reconcile them.

“I don’t think the homecoming of last year is what the students want,” said Jen Dorsey, mother of two students. “The problem is, the homecoming they do want is not school appropriate.”

The main concern with homecoming is safety, according to Mr. Michael Pasciuto, first year assistant principal at the high school. Having never attended Glen Rock’s homecoming, Pasciuto spoke from the similar experiences he had with his former district, Cresskill. Its 40-year homecoming tradition came to an end following reoccurring inappropriate behavior.

“It’s not because we’re trying to squash people,” Pasciuto said. “There’s safety concerns. I didn’t get that when I was 16, 17 years old. I’m not sure I got that as a 21, 22 year old either. But now at 36 and have been doing this for a while, that changes a lot. You start to see things differently.”

After Glen Rock’s 2013 homecoming dance, there were rumors regarding the use of drugs and alcohol; last year’s homecoming was much stricter. Student attendance was also drastically decreased.

In the end, many students attended but said they were bored.

“Everyone kept telling me how great homecoming was so I was a little disappointed,” said Jordan Russo (18′) about last year’s homecoming dance.

At this point, only five people have purchased tickets for the dance on Friday. The dance may be canceled. This is a choice parents wouldn’t mind, considering the things they hear about the dance.

“I trust my own child, and I trust his friends. However, I don’t know how other children will impact him,” Dorsey said.

Pasciuto understands the parents’ fears: he has children of his own. Yet he said that isolated incidents could skew public perception of a decades-long tradition.

“In the age of social media, unfortunately one picture can be posted and everyone assumes that is what the entire event is about,” Pasciuto said. “If I wasn’t in education my mind would go ‘what is going on over there?’ and not take a step back for a minute and say ‘Is that really whats going on or is that a one isolated still frame?”

Although some are quick to point to the negatives, the homecoming dance does have its saving graces. The spirit week, hallway decorating, the pep rally, and the homecoming dance all add to school pride.

In the words of Pasciuto, “things like a homecoming dance breed culture.”