With one School Board member describing it as "offensive," Waukesha school officials Wednesday night said the district may take a look at cracking down at "grinding" at school dances.
The issue arose after a father of a Waukesha West High School student told the School Board that grinding at high school dances is an “ongoing problem” that needs to be resolved immediately.
Kent Primrose told the board he recently picked up his daughter and her friends from a freshman dance at West. The young high school students immediately told him about grinding that occurred during the dance. Grinding is essentially dance involving partners that rub their bodies on each other in a sexual manner.
“My daughter and several her friends were frankly traumatized by that,” said Primrose, who has been in contact with school administrators and wanted to bring awareness to the school board.
Perhaps, by allowing parents who have passed a volunteer background check to attend the dances, the grinding will stop, he told the board.
“The underlying concern is to create a safe environment for our kids,” Primrose said.
“It has gone on for a while and it has not gotten better. It is so offensive to other kids.”
Another parent told the board that when grinding is allowed at dances, it sets relaxed standards that leads to incidents like the 15-year-old boy who ran naked past a large group of 7- to 10-year-old girls during last week’s Waukesha West football game against Arrowhead High School. The boy in that incident is facing several citations and school discipline.
“That is just intolerable what happened there at West,” Paul Reese told the Waukesha School Board. “It is inexcusable.… You have to draw boundaries for kids.”
And Waukesha school officials are looking into the matter. A policy change regarding student behavior specifically relating to grinding at school dances could be brought forward to the Waukesha School District’s Policy Committee. Superintendent Todd Gray said after the meeting the district is looking into it and, depending how much work is completed, the issue could come up at the next meeting.
“It has gone on for a while and it has not gotten better,” said School Board member Ellen Langill. “It is so offensive to other kids.”
School Board member Patricia Madden said that Mukwonago High School has dealt with the issue by requiring students sign a statement agreeing to follow school policies at dances or they could face discipline.
“They had to turn it in when they bought their tickets,” she said.
Menomonee Falls High School and Union Grove High School have already banned grinding from the school dances. The change upset some students, including one girl who told Today’s TMJ4 in an undated article that “it is our way of culture now. It’s how we dance.”
And in February, a high school in the Chicago suburbs also banned “moves simulating sex moves,” again a change that upset students. Attendance at the next dance was down because of the policy change, according to the Huffington Post.
Another school in Wisconsin had a more unique way to discourage the risqué behavior, Gray said.
“Every time that would occur, he would just play the chicken dance,” Gray said. “That puts the end to it, I guess.”