Have prom dresses gone too far?

When should schools draw the line on sexy prom dresses? Plunging necklines, fancy crop tops and cut-out gowns may be the fashion trends of 2015, but students beware: the dresses may get you covered

News 12 Staff

Apr 23, 2015, 3:30 PM

Updated 3,313 days ago

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Have prom dresses gone too far?
When should schools draw the line on sexy prom dresses?
Plunging necklines, fancy crop tops and cut-out gowns may be the fashion trends of 2015, but students beware: the dresses may get you covered up or sent home from your high school prom.
A handful of Shore area schools say administrators will be at the door greeting students at junior and senior proms while checking to ensure the youth are dressed appropriately.
Most schools contacted didn't have official prom dress code policies, a contrast to schools in states such as Pennsylvania and Delaware where prom dresses must be approved by administrators in advance. Some schools in Delaware reportedly keep a sewing machine to cover up scantily dressed students
Shore Regional High School officials say they depend on parents and students to use their own discretion when selecting prom attire.
"Students are advised to dress respectfully and appropriately," said Wendy Delehanty, a school spokeswoman.
In the event that a student is wearing unacceptable attire, Delehanty said the staff will seek solutions to cover them.
For example, Delehanty recalled one prom where a staff member lent a shawl to a student whose dress was too low-cut at the chest.
Critics of prom dress codes say students should have freedom of choice in what they wear to prom. They also argue that sexy dresses populate most of the racks in department stores, so there isn't much of a choice.
"People should be able to dress the way they like," Alice Harding said in a Facebook post. "These aren't little kids. Many of them are 18. If it's your child you get a say. Otherwise stay out of it."
Proponents say schools need prom dress restrictions because young girls need to learn class and elegance.
Officials at both Ocean Township High School and the Freehold Regional High School District say while prom attire hasn't been an issue in previous years, they will send a student home if dressed too sexy.
Rebecca Morton, a spokeswoman for Freehold Regional, cited the student handbook which reads "proper attire is expected, students who are not dressed appropriately will be removed from the prom."
The district, which has six high schools, also bans jeans and sneakers from the formal event.
"If a student were to come in with a lot of skin exposed, the decision would be made that it's inappropriate attire," Morton said.
Ocean Township High School athletic director Rusty Todd said students "would be asked to go home and change and come back" if their attire wasn't acceptable.
Neither Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School or Monmouth Regional High School reported having dress code policies for their prom. Toms River Regional Schools spokeswoman Tammi Millar did not fulfill a request from the Asbury Park Press for the district's prom dress code.


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