WHS administration proposes new prom rules


Credit: Thomas Chan

Pictured above are two students walking down the orange carpet at pre-prom. WSPN interviewed Instagram user @waylandpromposals to learn more about why they created their account.

Olivia Waldron, Anika Das, and Joyce Wu

WHS administration is considering setting new rules for this year’s prom.

According to Principal Allyson Mizoguchi, although no specifics have been decided, there will be changes in some basic rules for prom this year and in years to come. Mizoguchi plans to finalize and reveal the new rules to the Class of 2018’s Executive Board in December.

“No decisions have been made, but I’ve gathered some really thoughtful feedback from some key junior class leaders,” Mizoguchi said.

One rule administration is considering is the added use of a breathalyzer, a device for estimating blood alcohol content from a breath sample, at some point during the prom evening. Another potential change is requiring every student to take a school provided bus to prom instead of organizing transportation with friends.

Mizoguchi says the use of breathalyzers is not an uncommon procedure and the school has been thinking about implementing the procedure for a while.

“We are one of the few districts I know of that does not breathalyze. We’re not doing it in order to be like every other district. It’s a fairly normal procedure when you talk about large school events,” Mizoguchi said. “My concern for student safety has just increased over the years, to the point where I feel like I need to have this deterrent tied to the actual event.”

Prom is one of the few WHS events that is school-sponsored, but transportation to the event is left up to students and families.

“My thinking [regarding transportation], is again around the social, emotional, and physical safety of our students,” Mizoguchi said. “There is a huge potential for social exclusiveness, and tricky social situations that can arise from those transportation situations.”

Mizoguchi emphasized that the reasoning behind these decisions was solely for the safety and well-being of WHS students.

“The thinking around this boils down to physical and emotional safety for all of our students,” Mizoguchi said. “It’s not about trying to change the culture of prom, [and] it’s not about trying to take anything away from anybody. We’re just trying to figure out smart, effective ways to make sure that everybody is safe at prom.”

Many students have been disappointed with the idea of these new rules. The idea of having to take a breathalyzer test and commute to prom on a bus did not sit well with them.

“I find it really frustrating, particularly the rules that I’ve heard about how we all have to take a bus together instead of being able to drive with our friends,” junior Gabrielle Smith said. “People have always gotten to take their own transportation, and it’s never been a problem. We’ve all been looking forward to prom for so long and now it won’t be as fun.”

“I honestly, like most students, think that these rules are unfair. Prom is a great night in which drinking or any substance abuse is at a very low risk,” sophomore class president Rose Kiefer said. “Believe me, I am an advocate for safety, but I am also an advocate for fairness and I don’t find it right that for the past few decades, Wayland High School has never imposed these strict rules, but they are now.”

According to Mizoguchi, assistant principal James Nocito’s arrival at WHS did not influence the potential changes.

“I know that one of the rumors is that is that Mr. Nocito, our new assistant principal is the one who wants to make change, but no,” Mizoguchi said. “This is all me, this is something that the staff and I have been thinking about for a while.”