Niles West High School cracks down on prom in rowdy rally`s wake - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Niles West High School cracks down on prom in rowdy rally`s wake

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NILES, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Niles West High School in north suburban Skokie is laying down the law after raucous behavior by upperclassmen resulted in a canceled school-wide assembly and new rules for prom.

After shutting down an out-of-control pep rally April 19, the school administration announced seniors and juniors must travel to this year's prom on the school's chartered coach buses.

In addition, parents must attend a 20-minute meeting, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, before students can purchase tickets to the May 18 dance at the Westin O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont.

"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."

Osburn did not return a call for comment as of press time Thursday.

Flying objects, body surfing and thundering cheers caused the principal to call off the rally 10 minutes after its start last week.

Some students said the administration is overreacting to the raucous rally, saying student behavior was tame compared to recent years.

Senior Daniela Cicio recalled upperclassmen storming the school's hallways before an assembly in 2011.

"We didn't do that," the 18-year-old from Skokie said. "We were polite through the whole day, and when we got to the assembly we wanted to have fun."

She said students may have been "louder than usual," but it was no different than homecoming.

"The seniors last year used to throw water balloons at everyone in the parking lot and out on the streets, as well as having huge riots in the hallways during school," said Kevin Selagea, 18. "Canceling the assembly made it seem like the school was just eager to punish someone."

"I don't think it should impact prom," Cicio added. "I don't think it should affect anything."

Niles West students and parents aren't taking the new rules lightly.

The graduating class vented their frustration on Facebook, with some 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.

"The parents' meeting is also unnecessary, especially since I wasn't even at the assembly," Glotzer, 17, said. "I think they need to rethink their ‘consequences.'"

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.

Selagea, who lives in Skokie, said travel restrictions defeat the purpose of giving teenagers a chance to enjoy a night of freedom with their peers.

He has been to dances where boys compete to come up with the most creative way to bring a date to the event. He once picked up a date on a motorcycle.

But bus transportation, Selagea said, "pretty much eliminates the majority of the fun you have at prom, and alters the tradition of getting a private limo."

Selagea also said the maneuver could be counter-productive. Selagea said dances with too many rules cause teenagers to want to "go out (afterwards) and party somewhere even more."

With the new restrictions, his outlook on the capstone social event of high school isn't that bright.

"It's kind of like prison, where you're controlled the entire time, and you can't really do anything about it," Selagea said.

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.

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