Open Gym – This is the preferred format for social activities in elementary schools and for students in 7th and 8th grades in the Junior/Senior High Schools. In the open gym, a variety of activities are set out for the students. These can include things such as basketball, volleyball, and an area for board games or ping-pong. Appropriate music can accompany these activities and students can gather for group dance events. This format resembles a broad based social activity rather than a dance. There are no grade limitations on the open gym, though schools are advised to be conscious of appropriate age groupings. Adult moderators and a faculty member are always required for any student activity sponsored by the school or parish.
Student Dances – Dances are restricted to students in 7th and 8th grade only.
- Dances should not be open to the general public. Parish/school dances may include other Catholic schools, or students in the parish CCD program (bearing appropriate identification) at the discretion of the local Pastor or Principal. High school students may not attend dances for elementary students (grades 7 and 8).
- Musical selections must be appropriate for use in a Catholic parish/school event. Prior to the dance, all music must be screened by school staff, namely the Principal or faculty member delegated by them. There should be no messages that contradict our teaching and values. Music that encourages sex or sexual behaviors apart from marriage, drug and alcohol use, or violence and brutality does not have a place in the social activities sponsored by the parish or school. Christian music may be acceptable, as long as it is not inconsistent with the presentation of the Catholic faith.
- The gym or hall must be fully lighted. Chaperones must be able to clearly see all students. Sufficient chaperones must be present to provide an ample presence in the hall as well as outside. Chaperones need to “patrol” restrooms and other parts of the building. Students should be told that they are to remain in the hall, until the scheduled dismissal or a parent comes to the hall to sign them out.
- Student behaviors must mirror that expected in school. No intimate touching, rubbing against each other, or kissing should be allowed during the dance. To that end, slow dancing is inappropriate at this grade level.
- The Principal or another designated faculty member must be present for the entire dance. This staff member is to review all the dance guidelines with the adult chaperones and indicate that they are to be responsibly enforced. These guidelines should also be reviewed with the students prior to the dance.
- Appropriate dress is expected at school and parish functions. For example: very short skirts, tight form-fitting clothes, or similar items are not in keeping with standards of modesty for young women. Young men may not wear similarly suggestive clothes, or display underwear. Schools may need to update this advisory based on current fashion trends.
- It is recommended that all students have a signed parental permission slip, which includes a list of the dance guidelines. The form should clearly note that if students violate the guidelines, parents will be called and the student sent home.