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Opening Arguments

Prom a nod

It's hard to argue with Brother Kenneth Hoagland, principal of Kellenberg Memorial High School, about the wretched excess of proms today. "Conspicuous consumption" was once thought to be a rather scandalous claim to make against somebody; today, it's a quaint expression. Why wouldn't high school students also want to do everything bigger, flashier, riskier?

Fed up with the revealing evening gowns, flashy tuxedos, stretch limos, alcohol, drugs, sex and rowdy house parties that have become an increasingly common part of the dinner-dance scene across New York's Long Island, Kellenberg administrators canceled the prom this year as a way to end the excesses that precede and follow it.

I wonder if his solution is the best one, though. He's getting the school completely out of the picture, which leaves students and their parents free to have their own big bashes. As the story indicates, parents have been more than a little involved already. Wouldn't it be better for the school to offer a saner, tamer alternative? It can never control what goes on before or after school events. But at least it can keep trying to instruct by setting its own standards.

These kids today, I tell you. Why, I remember the proms in my day.

Oh, wait, that's right. I was a backward doofus. I didn't even go to my prom. I just stayed home and went to bed early.