Student Response to the Letter to the Editor Regarding Winter Formal
April 18, 2017
Q:What did you get from the letter to the editor?
A: I don’t remember it super well but I mean I feel like it was justified because I was at that winter formal, I saw some crazy stuff and there were people who would walk by and would reek of alcohol and there was a light that was swinging really crazy and people just made this circle around it and they were throwing stuff at it and then they made it into a dance circle, it was crazy town. so I think the letter to the editor was a good way to reach out to students and tell people like “hey we saw you guys being really cookydook so were gonna get you if you don’t stop.”
Q: And how does that make you feel when you go to a dance and you see all of that stuff
A: Um, well, personally I’m kinda just like yikes because it’s not like I’m really apart of that like I’m definitely one of the outskirts type of people I tried going through to the other side and I could not get through but I do think that it’s like some people are just stupid you know, but don’t put that in there! Some people it’s just they aren’t behaving in perhaps the most appropriate way for a school dance like it’s not a club you can have fun and you can grind or whatever you want to do but don’t take off your clothes, don’t take off your dress and dance around in your underwear cause that’s weird
Q: Do you think that people you know, smoking or drinking, is a problem at waukee? Not even at the dances but do you see people doing that in our school?
A: Yeah like on snapchat one time on someones snapchat who’s in our grade posted someone doing a line of coke off someone’s butt and I was like ! and a lot of times people just post videos of themselves smoking weed or drinking
Q: Do you think there needs to be more security at the dances or what should they do to stop this from happening?
A: I don’t know about security it doesn’t necessarily help you know cause I feel like they had plenty of security like they had cops there pulling people out of the dance circle and I don’t know what happened to them but they’d like pull them out and stuff and I thought that the idea they proposed about like the wristbands or whatever I feel like that would be sensible but I think I don’t know it’s really hard because you never know how people will act but it’s hard to I guess control people whenever they’re like “oh well this is my dance I deserve to have fun if you stop me I’m going to get really mad or whatever” like there were people who were pulled out and they started like pushing the guy who pulled them out like getting into a fight and I was like “Holy Cow!” Stop!
Q: How does that make you feel when you see people getting into fights?
A: Well I’m kind of like “that’s really weird and unfortunate” but again that doesn’t really affect me that much cause I’m just kind of doing my thing by myself so I would say but I guess you kind of look at those people a little differently like once you see them doing all sorts of crazy stuff in a public place like a school dance like if I’m going to go out and get crazy I’m not going to do that at my high school like that’s just weird to me so
Q: What are some rumors you’ve heard about winter formal and prom coming up, have you heard any rumors?
A: They turned on the lights early and everyone was running out and I was like I gotta go
Q: So you’re going to prom this year?
Q: So do you think it’s unfair if there’s like a breathalyzer at the door Do you feel like that’s unfair because you haven’t done anything or do you think that’s okay because it could be a hazard if people came in drunk?
A: Well, I mean I don’t care because haven’t done anything but I feel like prom doesn’t really happen it happens more at after prom like what I’ve heard about prom is that some people dance but a lot of people will just walk around and go look at the exhibits and it’s a lot less of a party atmosphere I don’t know what to expect from it but I know some people will rent out hotel rooms for their after prom and go get crazy up in there so um you know I think, I feel like it wouldn’t be as big of a problem but like for winter formal I feel like it’s a dance only for people who want to go to a dance people feel less obligated to go to it so I’d say that, I mean they can do it if they want to do it, if they’re worried but unless they’ve had problems with prom before I wouldn’t worry about it
Q: So at the Science Center they have other exhibits instead of just dancing do you think that would be a good idea to have at winter formal?
A: Yeah but I don’t know how they would make it appealing almost because I don’t know that would be something interesting if they do it but it would also be an assessment of if you aren’t dancing if you’re out in the hallway playing cornhole or something then why are you at winter formal?
Q: Do you feel like this is an issue that needs to start from inside school and then spread out like awareness about if they say we want to go drink before the dance-
A: Then say no, well so like by inside the school you mean the student body?
Q: Like a lesson or something in advisory
A: Well I feel like in advisory you can say something and people will be like “eh” and also my advisor doesn’t do anything so whenever she say’s stuff I’m like “eh” I would say it’s more of a, it’s something that has to come from the student body but if you want it to start from the student body it starts from the student body you know it can’t be kids coming in with a script that was clearly given to them by someone or like it has to be something people know and being almost personal? Cause otherwise people just don’t care, you know?
Q: What was your opinion on the Letter to the Editor in the last edition?
A: I don’t think it’s so much the grinding that’s the problem—it’s the drugs and the drinking they do before they come to the party.
Q: What do you think about the grinding?
A: I don’t care. If people want to [grind], they can.
Q: What can the school board do to improve the situation?
A: I would have teacher stand in the middle of the dance floor.
Q: What was your opinion on the Letter to the Editor in the last edition?
A: I feel like changing the dance and putting wristbands on people isn’t going to stop them from doing anything. I think it’s just going to make them smarter with them doing it after the dance instead.
Q: What precautions should the school make?
A:I don’t think it’s a smart idea to do the breathalyzer cause that’s just going to make everyone really paranoid and freak them out. I think it’s good to have a policeman at the door. I’m not saying put teachers in a circle and have everyone dance around them cause I don’t think that’s fair.
Q: How can they limit the amount of drugs and alcohol?
A: I don’t know how they would prevent that, it’s just high school. I think it’s just a matter of common sense. Like don’t take off your clothes—that’s common sense. Don’t bring vodka to the school—that’s common sense.
Q: Do you think this was a one time thing?
A: Yes. I think everybody got a little too into it.
Q: How did your winter formal go for you?
A: I left cause it was uncomfortable.
Q:What did you take away from reading the Letter to the Editor?
A: I thought that it would make the dance less fun. It was talking about restricting dance moves.
Q: What do you think is the real problem?
A: If people aren’t on [drugs and alcohol] then it’s less of a problem.
Q: What did you see at the dance that could’ve been problematic?
A: I didn’t see a lot. I just heard a lot.
Q: Do you think the music caused any problems?
A: I think there should be a good variety of songs. Like slow and then some you can dance to. I don’t think [the music] causes anything; I think it’s just the mindset they’re in at the moment.
Q: Do you think that you’d be okay with them searching people’s bags before they come into the dance?
A: Yes. You shouldn’t be bringing stuff in, it’d just be dumb of you.
Q: Do you feel like Waukee has equipped you with the tools to resist peer pressure?
A: Yes. I feel like I’m confident enough to say “no.”
Q: If you had one thing to say to Mr. Justmann, what would it be?
A: Let us dance.
Q: What is your opinion on the Letter to the Editor?
A: I think it’s pretty dumb cause I like to have a good time. I think it’s pretty naïve that they’re just realizing that that’s what they’ve been doing at the formals. I can kind of see their side. I can kind of see how they’re trying to break it down, but it’s a very unpopular position and with that, it will bring less people.
Q: Are you more against the alcohol and drugs or the grinding at the dances?
A: Alcohol and the drugs is something that should definitely be prohibited, I mean that’s a given. When it comes to dancing, you gotta at least let them have fun. I mean that’s the way to have fun; that’s how it’s done. You don’t wanna change that up cause then people won’t come. I haven’t seen anybody get hurt. So it doesn’t count as a safety hazard.
Q: Would you be okay with them searching your bags for alcohol before you go into the dance?
A: Yeah. It’s like going through the airport when they pat you down.
Q: If there was one thing you could say to Mr. Justmann, what would it be?
A: Kids just want to have fun, that’s just how it is. If you see someone get hurt, then you should definitely stop it. It’s not really that many conversations about it in the classroom.
Q: Do you think we talk about drugs and alcohol abuse enough at Waukee High School?
A: I feel like if they talked about it more, more people would think about it. I don’t think it’s like something that people are addicted to but I feel like if no one did it, I would be happy.
Q: If your friends were to pressure you into drinking before the dance, do you think Waukee High School has equipped you with the tools to say “no?”
A: I am equipped to let my friends do whatever they want to do. I’m all about having a good time. I don’t want me to ruin their idea of fun. Now if they do something that could cause them harm and could send them to the ER, then I’m gonna try and stop that as much as I can.
Q: Do you have anything else to add?
A: I think if they go through with the rule and try to pat down kids and stop the dancing activity, then it’s really gonna hurt the fun of the formal.
Q: What did you get from the letter to the editor?
A:I thought it was kind of a threat. Like “behave or else.”
Q: What did you see at the dance?
A: Well, I didn’t see any of it. Some of the stuff I’ve heard about it I feel like it kind of needs to stop.
Q: What’s your opinion on the letter?
A: I feel like something of these they’ve said were maybe going a little too far, but I feel like the breathalyzers might be a good idea.
Q: What is your opinion on the letter to the editor?
A: I feel like their kind of overreacting but I get where they’re coming from. I mean it got bad. But in general, it’s typically not that bad. I heard rumors they were going to keep the lights on, and they were going to be checking around and I feel like they’re just kind of being overly sensitive about the whole thing.
Q: Do you think it is the drugs/alcohol the school is worried about or is it the grinding?
A: I feel like it was a combination of the two. The drug use and alcohol influenced the inappropriate dance moves.
Q: Do you think it would be unfair to be patted down or have bags searched before people are allowed to go into the dance?
A: I do think it’s a little much considering there’s not a huge population that would try and bring in that stuff. Like I feel like that’s a huge violation of privacy. I think it’s not something we need to search every single student for.
Q: If there is one thing you could say to Mr. Justmann, what would it be?
A: I get that things got a little bad at winter formal but teenagers are going to be teenagers. So basically don’t punish the group for the actions of the minority.
Q: Do you think bringing in more supervisors would be a smart decision?
A: No because everyone would just feel on edge. Prom and winter formal are there for you to go and have a good time with your friends, and some people take that to the extremes with like drug and alcohol use.
Q: What would you say to the kids who are bringing in the drugs and alcohol?
A: Be smart. Don’t ever put yourself in that situation. Don’t do it–honestly ever– but you’re going to don’t do it, don’t do it where it could impact others in a significant way.
Q:What is your opinion on the Letter to the Editor?
A:It was just kind of stupid because I think there are bigger issues we can focus on and his ideas just didn’t make sense to me or didn’t really seem important or like they could work.
Q:What are the bigger problems we should we be focusing on?
A: Maybe like bullying or I don’t know. Just not this.
Q: What do you think we can do to improve the situation?
A:I think being are being destructive or causing harm to anyone or anything around them then the teacher and the principal has the right to go up to them and ask them to leave or like tell them to stop. It depends on the person and what their doing. It would be better for the teachers and the principal would like it better. I don’t think people would really stop unless they know they’re gonna get a consequence from it.
Q: Do you think that patting you down or searching your bags before you go into the dance that that’s an invasion of your privacy? A: Yeah I do. I don’t think they should have a right to search our bag or breathalyze us unless they have a reason to like were acting suspicious or something. \
Q:Do you think substance abuse is a problem at Waukee High School?
A:I don’t think it’s necessarily an issue. I know some people do it and that’s their choice and I don’t really think it affects others really. From what I’ve heard it’s just been mostly this year.
Q:What did you see at Winter Formal?
A:There were people who kept to themselves and their friends and their group. They were just dancing and most of them were couples so I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t really seem like a big deal.
Q: Do you think the music had an influence on student behavior?
A: Music as it is is like not that great. So I don’t really think it had that much to do with it.
Q: Do you think having the lights on at the dances would be weird?
A: I think that’s kind of weird for a dance to just have the lights on when you’re dancing at night.
Q:If you could say one thing to Mr. Justmann, what would it be?
A: I would just say that people just want to have a good time and make the best of their dances because it’s just a one time thing in high school and they just want to have fun. Overall, it’s not a big deal.
Q:What was your opinion when you first read the letter to the Editor?
A:I can understand being upset with some of what went down but I don’t understand why he has a problem with the grinding cause that’s just what’s going to happen at a school dance cause that’s just what’s gonna happen. People just get so into it and I don’t think he has any solutions that are going to work. So I think it’s kind of a waste of effort
Q:Do you have a story from the dance?
A:the only thing I saw was someone throwing a water bottle up in the air which I think is not okay. What I heard was a lot worse. I heard that some people managed to have sex while on the dance floor which is not only impressive but also really not cool. So like that’s not okay. I’m just saying that there is no way to supervise that and there’s no way to prevent that. That doesn’t happen everytime and if that’s what their main issue is I don’t think it should be cause frankly that’s a one time thing… hopefully.
Q: Are they overreacting?
A: Yeah they are. I’ve smoked weed for a long time. I stopped like three months ago which has been fine but like weed doesn’t not make you a threat. It just makes you really relaxed. You’re not going to be acting like a fool. You’re just chill. And really if you went to the dance, no one is probably going to notice. But if they do notice, you’re not going to be a threat to other students. You probably won’t even smell. Like it’s really not that bad. I can tell you I’ll probably drink one beer beforehand so I’ll be a little bit buzzed… I’m not drinking enough to be a mess.
Q: How do you feel about someone bringing it to the school?
A: If someone is wasted, kick them out. It’s easy to tell when someone is wasted. If people are smoking weed or drinking at the school, that’s something that’s not okay. If they want to drink a little bit beforehand, they’re teenagers and hopefully responsible enough not to get wasted. As far as breathalyzer test beforehand, that’s just gonna piss people off.
Q: If the school starts patting you down or searching your bags before you go into the dance, is that an invasion of privacy?
A: I think they could do it. Legally their fine. But from a relationship between students and administration, that’s a bad idea. That’s just gonna make that relationship really bad if they don’t trust us enough to at least somewhat take care of ourselves. I can’t really think of any solution that would stop people from doing it beforehand besides stopping the dance or having everyone go through a checkpoint.
Q: Do you think substance and alcohol abuse is common in Waukee?
A: I don’t think it’s that common. I think a lot of people smoke weed every once in awhile but I won’t call it substance abuse. I’ve smoked weed for a long time. I stopped like three months ago which has been fine. I was never addicted; I don’t think you can get addicted to weed. I’ve never heard of anybody who has gotten addicted to weed. Anything harder, I don’t think there is more than ten kids who do anything worse than [weed]. I know there are some kids who party a lot but never get addicted to anything. Vaping is a big thing here but that’s not like addictive. I don’t think it’s a huge problem here.
Q: Do you think the school talks enough about substance abuse?
A: I think with weed, it gets increasingly hard to argue against it. Science is coming out. Yes, you’re smoking, that’s bad for your lungs. I think everybody should know that and I think everybody does know that. With drinking, I think people know what they’re getting into. Sometimes they don’t care which I think is the bigger deal. The school can tell people “hey, that’s probably not a good thing to do,” and they are going to do it anyways. I’ll tell you, I smoke cigarettes and I know what I’m getting into and I do it anyways cause why not? I think the school needs to do much more because I think people are aware of what they’re doing.
Q: Do you blame the school for what happened at Winter Formal?
A: Kids are charge of their own education in the end. Parents should be teaching them this stuff. The school can… but in the end of the day, it’s the individual’s responsibility. If you’re going to start anything, you have to know what’s going to happen. And if you don’t do that, then you’re a fool and you need to stop.
Q: If people are under the influence, should they be kicked out of the dance?
A: If you’re a little buzzed, you’re not going to cause any harm. If you’re high, then you’re definitely not going to cause any problems. I don’t think they understand that. They don’t understand that when you’re high, it’s not like you’re crazy or you’re seeing hallucinations. You’re just relaxed.
Q:If there is one thing you could say to Mr.Justmann, what would it be?
A: I wish I could have this conversation with Mr. Justmann but I also don’t really want to deal with that. But I think he needs to find a student who has been around the block who can tell him if there is a problem and what it is. I think he needs to relax. Honestly, in the end, kids will be kids. Bringing it up doesn’t hurt, it’s a good conversation to have, but I don’t think you’re going to find a solid solution.