Braintree High School’s Homecoming dance on Sept. 28 has been made into a “student only” event with school officials restricting guests to only those within the student body.
Part of an update to the 2013-2014 student handbook, the new rule bars out-of-towners as well as non-Braintree High locals, mainly for safety reasons, school officials said.
“They have over 1,000 students attend homecoming and it comes down to safety,” said School Committee Chair Shannon Hume. (cq) “[Chaperones] know all the Braintree High students, and when there are students coming from out of town, they don’t know them. There is no name or face recognition, so there can be no consequences.”
Behavioral concerns in the past prompted the change, which was recommended by Braintree High Headmaster James Lee. All other Braintree school dances are restricted to students of that school only.
Majority of School Committee members agreed with the change, though Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan did express concern over the new mandate.
Hume understood the reservations, especially as her son attends Braintree High yet has friends that don’t go to the school.
“But if the headmaster and housemaster are telling us it’s a safety concern, I will go with what they say…they are there day to day, know what goes on, and have control of that building,” Hume said.
The committee voted unanimously in favor of the new policy.
The homecoming dance will be a culmination of a weeklong list of activities for students.
According to Superintendent Dr. Maureen Murray, keeping the event Braintree Hig-only works in the overall context of the event.
“This particular dance is the culmination of a series of events that happen throughout series week…which Braintree high students have been participating in all week,” Murray said. “It makes sense that it just be the students who were there and in those activities.”
The mandate isn't expected to affect many students. Last year, of the 1,000 students who attend the dance, only 30 weren't from Braintree High.
“We just don’t have any clout [when we don’t know the student], so you’ve lost a little bit of element of control,” Murray said. “Whenever that happens, the security becomes an issue, and whenever you have that number of students in one place, you can’t afford to have that kind of security issue.”
Both junior and senior prom will remain open to out-of-town guests, and Murray doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.
“[The older age] might be part of it. Everyone is all dressed up. It’s a different kind of feeling for that evening than this kind of a dance,” Murray said.