Disappointing Homecoming Dance Leads to Changes

A.J. Dimond High School had its Homecoming dance earlier this month with high expectations, but those soon went out the window as misbehaving students caused the dance to be shut down.

With an attendance of 900 people, the Dimond Main Commons was packed full of students from all grades.

Opening the doors at eight p.m., the students began to flow in, and by 9:30, everyone had arrived, excited to celebrate the first dance of the year.

However by 10:15, the lights were on, the music was shut off and the students stood around in confusion.

The dance was over, 45 minutes before its scheduled end.

For the first time in almost 10 years, Dimond shut down one of its dances in the middle, said Dimond’s Student Government Advisor Lem Wheeles.

The crowd started chanting for a refund, and as the Homecoming Court was walking down the stairs, students began filing out of the building, gathering in the school’s main plaza.

Many Dimond Lynx were upset and frustrated that the dance had been shut down, and confused as to the reason why.

However, it was deemed by the administration as an unsafe environment for students, and the ultimate decision to close the dance down early was made to ensure everyone’s safety said those in charge.

Dimond’s Principal Tina Johnson‐Harris said that even after the students were given “friendly reminders of what was expected… no one was listening.”

She said, “It wasn’t like the kids were unaware that the administration was monitoring. It was shocking that so many kids were defying dance policies.”

While the majority of students were upset with the way dance ended, they were not the only ones.

Wheeles said, “It was a big dance. The biggest in my eight years of doing Student Government. It was disappointing that it had to get shut down, but I respect the decision and think there were good reasons behind it.”

Christian Caldarera, one of Dimond’s assistant principals and the head of Freshman House, said, “These dances are a privilege. They are not a right. I love them because I love to see kids engaged in something outside of academics that is a memory that they can have. But if you’re asking me about how I felt about the whole thing, I was very disappointed about how everything turned out that night.”

Dimond students are aware that there need to be changes and are going to be talking with the administration to find a solution, so future dances are not jeopardized, Wheeles said.

Dimond’s Student Body President, Horojah Jawara, said, “Due to various reasons, a fun night quickly spiraled downhill, leading to the administration making the executive decision to end the dance early. Student Government and administration are working hard together to make sure that our future dances go smoothly and that we all have fun.”

Senior Class President Judy Park said, “Dances are a great part of our high school experience. What happened this past Homecoming was unfortunate, but at the same time I think that it’s a good opportunity to really think about our actions and the consequences of them. Now all we can and should do is move forward.”

Other schools throughout the Anchorage School District (ASD) have also had behavioral issues at their dances. South Anchorage High School had to close down their Homecoming dance early as well.

Johnson-Harris said that the other high schools within the ASD are “committed to a follow-up conversation to make a standard for dances” and to make sure that each school “is on the same page with the changes.”

According to Johnson-Harris, students can expect car and bag searches and a change in the way students arrive at the dance, saying, “It is a critical step to ensuring positive safe fun.”

However, administrators said no decision has been made yet about these changes.