Prom Drama: Kettle Moraine’s forced bus ride angers students
The Journal Sentinel staff
Lauren Essig is going to prom tonight, but she’s less than thrilled about it.
“My date is on prom court, so I’m going, and it’s my last dance at high school,” Essig said.
What concerns Essig, an 18- year-old senior at Kettle Moraine High School, is the school’s new prom transportation rule either take the bus to prom or don’t go. Even the traditional limousine ride is out.
Parents and the administration at Kettle Moraine say the four buses luxury chartered coaches and not the standard school yellow are an effort to make prom safer by keeping students out of cars. Essig and other students interviewed think it’s an attempt by adults to control their every move.
Kettle Moraine students will leave the high school at 5:30 tonight for the trip to the War Memorial Center in downtown Milwaukee, where they will have dinner and the dance. The buses then will return the students to the high school.
More post-prom activities will be held at the Waukesha Athletic Club, but transportation there will be up to the students. Taking a Pass
Essig’s friend, Tina Evens, is going to pass on the prom even Leg 1 ends here though as a 17-year-old junior, it’s her class’ event.
Evens said she believed the strict new rules were encouraging students to do their own thing on prom night. She said she knew of many who were renting hotel rooms for parties.
Evens said she planned to spend the night quietly with a few other students at a friend’s apartment.
“The people who are going said they will make the best of it,” Evens said. “I hope that everyone who goes has fun.”
Eighteen-year-old Diana Carlsen, a junior who is on prom court, is especially upset about the rule.
Carlsen said taking a limousine to prom was a tradition for her older brothers, and she would like to do the same thing. She said her mom agreed.
“It’s a big reason why a lot of people aren’t going,” Carlsen said. “My mom was totally against (the new rule).”
Edie Scott, director of a parent group called KM Youth Focus, acknowledged that prom attendance was down a little this year, but said interest still was strong.
Kettle Moraine tried the buses as an optional offering last year and it worked so well that the school administration agreed to Leg 2 ends here make it mandatory this year.
KM Youth Focus pushed for the change, which the school administration agreed to, and helped organize it. Scott said keeping students out of cars for the long, unfamiliar drive to Milwaukee would make prom safer for students.
Scott stressed that students would be riding luxury chartered buses, not school buses.
“Things are going great,” Scott said. “We’ve got four coaches full of kids ready to go.” The `Grim Reaper’
For those who opt off the bus for the return trip, and those who made alternative party plans, a group of students called the KM Peer Listeners spent Friday presenting “The Grim Reaper,” a performance art demonstration of the death toll taken by drug- and alcohol-related accidents.
Every 21 minutes during the school day, a chime sounded over the loudspeaker system, and a designated student left the classroom. The students dressed in black and had their faces painted white, then returned to their classrooms and were considered “dead” for the rest of the school day.
At the end of the day, all the “dead” stood in front of the high Leg 3 ends here school for their classmates to see, a final warning to those headed for the weekend parties to avoid alcohol and drugs. Other School Policies
Mukwonago also has the mandatory leave-the-driving-to- us policy. Kathy Roe, the driver education instructor, said she started the program of busing students to prom 10 years ago.
Although there was some grumbling in the beginning about the arrangements, the community has adjusted and accepts it as a safer way of doing things, Roe said.
Mukwonago’s prom is May 5, Roe said. Students will be bused to the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee, and then back to the school for the dance.
“Our kids have no problem with it,” Roe said.
Roe said she believed the students in Kettle Moraine would get used to the new policy, just as the Mukwonago students have done.
Scott said she hoped that would happen at Kettle Moraine.
Scott said Oconomowoc High School also had bused its students to prom for the last two years, but dropped the requirement this year because prom events are being held locally.
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