If you took a moment to read the front page story in today's Daily Reporter, you can see that these private summer dances have generated a degree of controversy. Public venues in Spencer have hosted dances throughout the summer, with no major problems according to local law enforcement.
Police Chief Mark Lawson suggested that most of the illegal behavior is happening before or after the dances, not during. And he also noted that much of the illegal behavior takes place at other events as well.
Concerns over drinking and vulgar dancing - called grinding for those of you without MTV - have been voiced. Drug use has also been cited as a concern. So morally, these dances have raised some ire with a few locals who are seeking to spread the word on what's going on.
The high school dances, and those sponsored by Positively Spencer Youth seem to be getting a pass on the concern. Might have something to do with a chaperone plan that involves adult friends and neighbors.
Just an FYI, the dance style doesn't change much, the grinding goes on regardless of the location.
So amidst the controversy DJ FOs Eats Airplanes schedules a public dance at the Clay County Regional Events Center, which will be competing directly with Spencer High School's welcome back dance. The two events will take place tonight.
One will have school staff, administrator and parent chaperones. The other will have private security.
Neither will allow alcohol or drugs on the premises. Both will play music and allow dancing that some parents will find objectionable.
DJ FOs or Mr. Eats Airplanes understands the moral objections of parents to the musical lyrics and dance styles that kids enjoy today. He also recognizes and respects a the right of the parent to tell their child they can't go. He sees himself as someone providing entertainment to a group of teens looking for something to do in northwest Iowa. He feels they are better off grinding away than slamming down beers by a bonfire.
Some of you disagree. I understand. Don't want some dude grinding on my teen daughter either.
This isn't a legal issue. It's a parent issue.
What kind of environment do you want your teenager involved in for a few hours this evening?
The question really is: Do you know where your children are?
And more importantly: Do you know what your teenager is doing ... and with whom?
Parents need to make themselves aware and be willing to make tough choices in the best interest of their teen. Sometimes, it's more important to be an authority figure than a friend; and sometimes, just sometimes, that means saying "no."
If you're good with your son or daughter getting their grind on - regardless of the venue - wish them well and send them on their way.
I suggest at the very least you drop in at one of the dances to see what's going on. At least then, you can call yourself informed.