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Principals change prom policies

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POSTED: March 31, 2007 5:13 a.m.
A month after introducing a new-and heavily debated prom policy, Liberty County high school principals have reversed a decision to prohibit juniors and seniors from bringing “outsiders” as guests to this year’s prom.
Bradwell Institute Principal Dr. Vicki Albritton and Liberty County High School Principal Paula Scott recently altered the policy to allow underclassmen and non-BI or LCHS students to attend the annual celebration mainly to appease Liberty County School Board members and officials at BI, according to Scott.
“For the most part, the change was made as a board desire to have both schools do the same thing,” she said. “Dr. Albritton was catching a lot of heat because they don’t have the same problems there (at BI). It was more of an effort to accommodate her people.”
But the new guidelines include a few stipulations.
• Underclassmen or students who attend a different Georgia high school must provide proof of enrollment and be “in good standing” at their home institution, while non-Georgia high school students are required to submit a criminal background check. No dates over 20-years-old will be permitted.
• The interview process from previous years is still in place.
• The names of juniors and seniors whose guests have been pre-approved will be placed in a lottery system to purchase any remaining tickets for their dates. The name drawing will start with the senior class and continue until tickets run out.
While the changes may satisfy students who under the previous policy  could not bring their guests, LCHS senior Jeremy Fermin said most students are still unhappy.
“Happy is such a bad word. No one is happy,” he said. “People are accepting of it. A larger percentage is now accepting this,” he said.
The senior class president said he personally understands the changes and believes the new policy is “better than what students had,” but thinks some provisions will cause students to “jump through too many hoops.”  
“It’s okay that you can’t bring anyone over 20,” Fermin said. “But the lottery and the $20 background check are a little much.”
But Scott said the background check rule is a matter of protecting students and assuring parents of students’ safety.
“When we’re going to bring in adults, we need to check those people out to make sure that other people’s parents are going to be satisfied with those who are interacting with their children,” the principal said.
Fermin said the modifications have actually made some students more determined to boycott the prom this year, which could lead to other consequences.
“Some students are going to other proms or they’re going to throw a party,” he said. “Instead of a supervised alternative to prom, people are just going to be drinking and party-hopping.”
With a number of students still upset and the possibility of some students deciding to skip the prom, Scott said the policy was not meant to cause such uproar.
“All along, our intention has not been to ruin their (students’) junior/senior prom. It has been to have a manageable, safe and enjoyable prom that we can supervise and have a good time with,” she said. “It just got blown out of proportion.”
 

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