Schools should establish budgets for prom attendees

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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Prom season is still a few months off, but as Sunday’s Gazette story on a project that provides Johnstown girls with free dresses for the occasion made clear, prime time for prom planning is nigh.

Organizations like Elizabeth & Eileen’s Closet in Johnstown and The Cinderella Project of the Capital Region are a godsend for families that can’t afford prom dresses, which can run as high as $500. That may not be as dear as a wedding dress, but it’s pretty darned expensive for a single-occasion garment — even in a middle-class family. And there are other major expenses as well, like fancy coiffures and manicures, flowers, limousines, tanning and the dinner itself. Some are borne by the boys, others by the girls, but it all adds up to too much money being spent on a single night. And for families that simply don’t have it, it strikes us as unfair.

Occasionally, parents — some, anyway — will pay lip service to the issue in an effort to get the kids to dial back, but it’s not easy for a parent to deny their child something other children are getting. The prom is an emotional event, a milestone in early adulthood, and many parents — perhaps recalling their own teen years — get swept up along with their kids and simply can’t say no, lest their child’s experience be less than “perfect.”

Schools should be the ones to take the lead here, establishing guidelines — if not hard-and-fast boundaries — on how much kids can spend. It’s a real-life teaching opportunity about financial matters and values that kids don’t get often enough, at home or at school.

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February 27, 2013
7:31 a.m.
birmy says...

I had to laugh when reading this. I am sure this is an issue for families. No doubt about it. But you are asking schools to do more than they are already doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Business classes are not mandated and many districts have cut their business teachers. That might have been a place students could have discussed this issue. Some families should be able to teach their children some of these things don't you think? At some point why not just have kids sleep over at school so they won't be troubled by going home at night...

You write that it is unfair some families have money to send their kids to the prom in a luxurious way and some families don't. Really? Believe it or not, when it is time for kids to go to college some will have money and some won't. Some will have great grades and some won't. I don't think schools need to set guidelines as to how much money their parents can dump into this event.

February 27, 2013
11:23 a.m.
kmiac says...

Are you kidding me? Schools to put a limit on how much someone can spend?? Why don't you teach your child the value of "no we can't afford that" or "get a job and help save" or "yes that $500 dress is beautiful, but so is this $50 one". What a joke! Teach your child about real life, if they are attending prom they will be there soon enough, prepare them! By this logic, I think I will go to work tonight and tell my boss she shouldn't drive a Lexus because I can only afford a Chevy.....

February 28, 2013
7:18 a.m.
smallvoice says...

Schools should step in because parents don't? No.

March 4, 2013
5:35 p.m.
robbump says...

Maybe the schools should regulate what time we put the kids to bed too!
This is insanity. Parents gotta grow backbones.

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