Prom·troversy at Lakeland: School Providing Transportation to Prom


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Lakeland is requiring students to be bused to and from prom to ensure safety to a venue that is 45 minutes away.

Lakeland Regional High School was in the news this past week due to the administration stating students attending prom on June 4, 2019  must attend using school-provided and chaperoned coach buses.

Lakeland Superintendent Mr. Hugh Beattie is quoted saying the decision was made for safety and security reasons, to make sure students get to and from the venue, Rockleigh Country Club, which is 45 minutes away, safely.

However, it seems like many Lakeland seniors – and their parents – are opposed to the buses. There are many different reasons why so many are so against this. One of the more popular opinions among the opposition is that the charter buses add an extra $15 to the prom bid. Another reason, and probably the most common one, is the fact that students feel as if they have to stay at prom until the buses leave at around 11:00 p.m. The last big reason is that students and parents believe that two to three hundred people all convening at the school at the same time will be crowded and might take away from the prom experience. Whatever the specific concern, this decision is incredibly unpopular among seniors and their parents.

However, the idea of a school coaching students to and from prom is not new. Many schools around the tri-state area bus to and from district run events. Journalism and English teacher, Kali Spoelstra, came to Lakeland from another district. She states that the school she came from, also in Passaic county, bused their students to and from prom for years. The school set up a beautiful place to take photos in the courtyard, and it seemed to work really well there.

The Lancer Ledger asked 33 seniors if they understood the reasoning behind the districts reason for the decision. Although many may not agree with it, 25 of the students said they understand where the administration is coming from in creating the new rule.

Catherine Maddalena, senior, does not think the rule is fair. However, she states she would like to make a  “compromise” for the current senior class with administration, as the rule was just proposed mid year.

Katie Dempsey, another senior at Lakeland, had a similar point-of-view in terms of coming to a compromise. She stated, “I’m personally alright with being driven there on the buses. [However,] students shouldn’t be forced to stay at prom the entire time. I feel the transportation back should be free for students to decide what to do.”

“There are pros and cons,” said senior and Lancer Ledger writer Alex Rochlitz. “I think it will be more orderly and organized than people think. This is all being blown out of proportion. And for those who argue about the juniors being able to drive themselves, they’re going to Portobellos [in Oakland], we’re going to Rockleigh.”

No matter your opinion on the issue, it’s clear Lakeland is just looking out for the safety and well-being of their students. The Ledger will report on any updates to this as it unfolds.