Parents will need to attend a 20-minute meeting before kids can purchase tickets to May 18 event. Natalie Martinez reports.
Juniors and seniors at Niles West High School in north suburban Skokie who want to go to next month's prom will have to ride the school’s chartered coach buses.
That's the mandate from school officials after a pep rally on April 19 at the school reportedly got out of hand.
"There was crowd surfing. There was silly string thrown around. There was toilet paper everywhere, glitter ... vandalism happened," said student Czarina Landicher.
Another student described a situation where students were being thrown and security was being pushed.
"It was just crazy," said Mimar Mansour.
Before students will be able purchase tickets to attend the May 18 dance at the Westin O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, parents will need to attend a 20-minute meeting.
“Many of our upperclassmen are seeing specific events, such as assemblies, prom, and graduation, as opportunities to engage in risky behavior this year,” principal Kaine Osburn wrote on his school blog. “The behavior at the assembly only reinforced this concern and that they are not hearing our message to behave in a healthy and respectful manner.”
School officials declined to comment on Monday afternoon. But some students said they felt the crackdown is unfair.
"I feel like we didn't do anything wrong to be punished," said student Sahar Khalid.
Some members of the graduating class vented their frustration on Facebook, with many seniors tossing around the idea of not attending prom at all.
Senior Jay Glotzer, of Skokie, said he believes the administration "has taken the situation too far."
He said mandatory busing puts a dent in after-prom activities, since some students may want to leave the event before it ends at midnight. Glotzer said his parents already knew and approved of his post-dance plans. They, too, are feeling the brunt of the new restrictions.
"I’m the parent that put down the deposit on a limo for my son and his group (of friends)," said his father, Jay Glotzer. "I’m being forced to take on an inconvenience by having to cancel that and eat the deposit."
The reservation cost was $350.
"I’m also not very interested in attending any meetings,” Jay Glotzer added.
District 219 spokesman Jim Szczepaniak said the new rules are specific to Niles West. Niles North High School also hosts its prom May 18 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago.