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Middle School Dances or Fun Events

Original post made by Nancy, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2009

I am wondering how many parents and students would prefer that middle schools have a fun event, (whatever, carnival-like fair, a Field Day type event, a Boardwalk like they have at HPMS), instead of middle school dances. I know many middle school students, past and present, who don't enjoy the dances. How do you feel?

Comments (21)

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Posted by both
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I think they should have both...why not?

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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I'm not sure why we want to create romantic closeness with 12 year olds (they have slow dances).
Also, many children go to these dances (created by adults) with excitement and high hopes, and go home crushed because no one would dance with them. The majority of the kids and adults I know recall these dances as a painful experience.
Why not have an end of year party that's just fun, not an adult's attempt to create a situation where 12 year old bodies will get close and personal?
Some kids take the body touching farther than the adults have in mind, and the the middle school staff reprimands the kids (like a dance at HPMS not long ago). To these adults I'd like to say--why are you creating a situation to get these 12 year olds physically close in the first place?

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Posted by Agree
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I like the idea of an activity night that can include a DJ in the open area of the school for those that want to dance. Most of the time when my kids went, the girls would dance in a group and not worry about a boy asking them. But there were alot of issues with the behavior of couples dancing.

Not all kids at that age want to go to a dance but should feel comfortable in a setting with games and activities.

Even at the high school now, not all students want to participate in dances but would like the opportunity to socialize with classmates.

What about it middle schools?

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Posted by hard head
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm

One of my most memorable moments in middle school were those EoY dance parties. Why are you people trying to strip those experiences from our children is beyond me. Strange people...

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Posted by Sunny
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

My kids are still a few years away from middle school, but I can't help but think about that awkward time in our future. You know, when they want to act like adults but they are still babies.
I'm all for nixing the dances at that age. Let that be something they look forward to in high school. I remember a big part of the hoopla was getting dressed up. They could still do an event where they can get dresses up. Maybe a banquet, with some other activity to go along with it.
But I don't think we need to put them in adult-type situations.
Let's hear some ideas for alternatives!

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Posted by No-name
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm

My 8th grade boy refuses to go to any of the dances. He's done the movie nights and other activities though. There are those boys and girls who like the dances. I think it is a nice safe environment pre-highschool for them to learn how to socially interact. I've chaperoned the dances, they are not 'adult-type' situations.

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Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

Interesting that nobody has really pointed out that no matter what the activity is, middle school students will always try and act like adults- that's a part of growing up. Dances are still a great way for students to socialize but they possibly should offer other activities for students who may not want to participate, such as have a movie room for students to hang out in while the dance is going on (obviously with supervision). No matter what the activity is, there are always going to be middle school students who hang out in their preferred group of friends. If students get to close to each other while dancing, then who's to blame for not stepping in? I'd say the people who are chaperoning since they are the ones with the adult head. Lets not forget that middle school students are coming into their own mind and bodies- they still need guidance as their choices are not always the most healthiest. Why blame the dances?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Your kids are going to grow up, you can't stop the process. Middle School dances existed in the 70's when I was there. It's the students decision to go or not go. It's not a requirement. All of the elementary schools have carnivals and field days. The kids are tired of those events. Usually these comments come from parents of boys. I worked the middle school 8th grade graduation dance. Some kids stayed outside with the parents, most stayed inside. Almost every student I saw said they had a great time.

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Posted by WTF
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Get over yourself. We all had middle school dances and turned out just fine! Guys are usually on one side and girls are on the other, but taking away this American tradition would be just like taking away the swings on a playground because they're too "dangerous".... At least there are chaperons to monitor the kids... just stop trying to protect them from everything-.... they've already hatched!!! They're not going to break!

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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 7:28 am

Kids will say they had a great time. Some are telling the truth and others just don't want to talk about it with an adult. Ask them again when they're college age if they enjoyed the dances, some will tell you the truth then. My friend's daughter (several years after high school) told her mom she was too embarrassed to admit she didn't dance and would just say she had a great time.

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Posted by Get Involved
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 5, 2009 at 7:50 am

My Suggestion to all of you who are asking for a different activity besides the dance to get involved and kick start it...if you want to have a say then step up, step in and lead not just complain funny that people who have so much to say and complain about are those who don't volunteer........

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 8:27 am

Having brought home a car-ful of middle school girls from the last PMS dance, the concensus was that it was boring. They complained it was so dark you could barely see the decorations, and that the music was too loud. Some alternative social events is a great idea!

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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 9:36 am

They teach swing dance at the middle schools (Hart at least) and the kids seem to love it. I would like to see dances where they could swing dance just for fun instead of as part of a competition.

My kids have each gone to one middle school dance and had no desire to go back. However, it they weren't so dark and loud, and were more conducive to swing dance or some of the other fun dances that everyone can participate in, I bet they would love it.

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Posted by Mom of Hart student
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:08 am

My daughter has commented how "not fun" the dances have been and also said she and her friends would love to have a Feild Day type carnival at the end of the school year. Each School should sponsor there own.

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Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Gatewood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 11:41 am

I think that the students that are coming home saying that the dances are not being truthfull. Otherwise the dances wouldn't be so well attended.

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Posted by MS Parent
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Many years ago I was living in San Ramon. The MS my son's went to introduced the dance/carnival concept. It was a great success allowing the most awkward to still attend and have fun.

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Posted by Member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Speaking of loud music, how loud does it need to be? The dances and even at a church youth group, the music was deafening by the end of the evening. Why does loud seem to equal fun? I don't think having to wear hearing aids would be fun or worth the ear damage. To the point of dances, let them be.

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm

It's the adults who are making the music so loud. Adults are doing damage to children's hearing.
The dances are well attended, particularly the final 8th grade ones, because it is the only 'party' for the kids, and not going makes a child feel left out. The kids I talked to afterwards said it wasn't fun, they were disappointed.
I think it's obvious why it wouldn't be fun for some kids. It's an awkward situation, having to ask someone to dance, or be asked.
I think it would be more fun for everybody to have a fair/festival etc., and like someone suggested, there could be an area for dancing for those who would like to.

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Posted by 8th grade mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Both of my kids have gone to the middle school dances. They have both enjoyed and hated them. Not being asked to dance is a rite of passage that we all have gone through at some point in our lives. Please, stop trying to coddle your kids. Set boundries with them and they will get through the very difficult middle and high school years. Just be there for them when they need a hug. Don't try to solve all of their problems or block them from having growing pains. It's part of life.

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Posted by Remove the pressure
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Middle school/junior high is such an awkward time...period. The pressure to act like a high schooler before they are ready is pointless. Encouraging attention to hormones is not advisable at this age. The lights off? Why? To create a romantic mood? Again, why?

I don't think this is coddling, restricting, or keeping them away from fun. I think it is more fun to have some sort of activity that everyone feels comfortable at. Why have an activity where the majority sit on the side line and afterward head home frustrated?

I for one couldn't hold back at dances. I had a ball at every single one, because I was a dancer and so were my friends. We just danced together, had a lot of fun, and went to pizza afterwards. However, most of the school kids I attended (a large junior high in the South Bay) just didn't like it and we heard all about it each Monday following a dance.

High school has so much social pressure and I think it is enough with all the events then, that I don't understand why there is a need to hold a dance any sooner. Why not encourage an activity that involves a fun theme? Turning the parking lot into a corn maze/harvest scene or even renting out a local farm one evening in the fall for a corn maze, games, bobbing for apples, hayride, etc. How fun is that! Families could be invited also and it could be a fundraiser AND have square dancing, etc.

Middle schoolers still like to have family fun...they just like more structure than a silly dance and they like to be able to be with their friends still with families near...just at a distance. This could be a lot of fun for the community.

Another idea in spring is a bbq and go-kart night or a trip to the water slides at night. That would be so much fun for the kids...and a far greater percentage is sure to enjoy!

I don't think changing a dance is mean spirited or removing a rite of passage. I think it is choosing an alternative activity so everyone feels less pressure - especially our middle schoolers. Why put so much unnecessary pressure on them at this age? Just because we did it in the 80's?

We should listen more to our kids when they are right.

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Posted by Taylor
a resident of California Reflections
on Jun 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I think maybe for 8th grade graduation is if fine. I know those dances have a theme and are as much of a party as they are a dance. However, that being said, I agree to the question "Why are we throwing dances for 11 and 12 year olds?" Let's save the dances for high school and let the kids grow up a little slower in this fast paced world. Certainly can't hurt!

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