DEAR ABBY: Because prejudice and discrimination are so hurtful, I think we should do away with them in our public schools.
Abby, what is more discriminatory than the senior prom?
The poor, the frugal, the shy, the unpopular, the plain and the dateless are excluded. Many parents cannot afford all that is involved in this rite of passage: formal wear, corsages, limousines. The kid who is saving his cash for college, the student who has no "significant other," is a reject on the eve of what should be a joyous camaraderie including all members of the senior class.
Instead, this occasion has too often turned into a boisterous bash with overnight parties, drugs, drunk driving and death.
The above combination has made a farce of what was once a sensible, meaningful event. One father hired a horse-drawn carriage to transport his daughter to the prom!
I'm ready for a lot of flak in response to this letter, but I feel that there are many parents (and students) out there who agree with me, but are afraid to express it. -- D.B. IN OLYMPIA, WASH.
DEAR D.B.: Every year the newspapers carry pictures of handsome young men and beautiful girl graduates who have died in fiery automobile crashes on prom night. Rather than completely doing away with this rite of passage, it should be rethought. Some schools have already done this by transporting the young people to and from the dance or party in buses, and keeping the celebration alcohol-free. Others have turned it into a special night out (to a play, a theme park, etc.) that doesn't require a date.
I would be interested to hear what other schools and parents are doing to safeguard their young people on graduation night.