No Dancing

Sigh. No matter how this one turns out… it won’t be pretty. Christians are going to be dragged through the mud once again. It’s the age ol’ story:

Kid goes to strict Christian school that doesn’t allow dancing.

Kid signs contract agreeing he won’t dance.

Kid gets asked to prom at other school.

Kid asks principal if he can go.

Principal basically tells him, “If you don’t want to graduate.”

Kid goes to prom anyway (years of TV have taught him well).

School says, “Your suspended, you can’t take finals, and you can’t graduate.”

Kid shows up on CBS News whining about school, announcing he is going to sue the school.

There it is. Here’s the video:

Who’s wrong here? (how’s that for a discussion starter with your kids?)

The Christian school is definitely going to take a beating by the press with this one (the comments below the CBS video are hilarious. Wow. They remind me of the comments from 12-year-olds to my recent blog about ‘Twilight’)

Stupid rules aside… it’s sad…  people’s word (even contracts) just doesn’t mean much to anyone any more.

That’s right. Even though I think this school might have some rules that are way more strict than I would have… the kid agreed to a contract. Don’t sign up for something if you don’t plan on sticking with it.

(ht to David R. Smith for the link)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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10 Responses to No Dancing

  1. scott says:

    I had to sign one of these for college. I knew what I was signing. The strict no dancing rule will be the focus, but that is not what this is about at all.

  2. Chico says:

    Yeah, Jonathan, this is a tough one. Still though, I have to side with the kid for a couple of different reasons.

    First, the school has stupid rules (or, at least ONE stupid rule). It is exactly this type of idiocy that pushes kids away from God and makes our jobs as youth ministers all-the-harder. You mentioned the comments on the CBS site, and one of them made a very valid point. What if the kid was invited to a relative’s wedding where there would be dancing at the reception? Would he still be denied graduating if he went to that?

    Second, did the school rule state that the rules were applicable off-campus? Seems to me that would be a violation of civil rights. If I’m at your house, I’ll abide by your rules. But, once I’m off your property, I have the right to do whatever I want, within the law.

    And finally, the kid is in high school, so when he signed this contract, he was still a minor, so it’s not legally binding. Maybe the parents had to sign it, too. But, we don’t have that information. I realize that he signed a contract and made an agreement. But, are we seriously holding a kid to an agreement he made with a school when he was, what, 13? He couldn’t have had any idea of the implications/ramifications that agreement would have 5 years later. Kids can’t make those types of decisions for what they’re going to do next week, let alone 4 or 5 years down the road.

  3. Joe says:

    Again, Christianity will be bashed. That is unfortunate but Jesus said we will be bashed and mocked, so this should come as no surprise. What is sad is that the whole issue will be framed incorrectly. The boy and his parents made a choice. They didn’t have to have him attend that school but they chose to. Hard choices are part of life and sadly, in this case I think the boy and the parents have failed. I applaud the boy for asking permission. I also understand his choice. However, by taking this to the media to demonize the school and much more broadly, Christianity, there is no question he is wrong. He knowingly violated the rules, and now wants to be exempt of the consequences and will bash the faith to support HIS desires. Sad.

  4. Trevor says:

    Right on the money Jonathan. It is hilarious and ridiculous to read even just the first few comments attached to that video. Nobody seems to even consider the fact that this kid signed a contract that he wouldn’t do these things…just that he was asked not to do them! He can’t even plead ignorance. He went and talked to the principal and was told the consequences…then goes and does it…then acts all hurt and surprised when the consequences come true…then sues. Did he think he was just calling the principals bluff? I agree that the no dancing rule is antiquated but kudos to the school for sticking to their rules and upholding their end of the bargain…though apparently this won’t be the sentiment from anyone else.

  5. bignateym says:

    that was my question all along, did he know the rules all along or did it just come up? The rule seems a little strict but he agreed to it so deal with the consequences. although after hearing some kids I teach talk about their prom well the quote was “almost nobody danced face to face, they we all just grinding” maybe all parents should be on the side of the school

  6. Joey says:

    I signed one in college, too, and didn’t break the contract but I can’t compare that decision to this teenager’s. The school has a rule that they can only justify by appealing to legalism which is enough to throw Jesus into a frenzy of condemnation. Frankly, he probably signed it when he was 14 at the behest of his parents. This has nothing to do with a kid keeping his word; it has to do with a rule and whether or not it needs to change. The rule is wrong and it will, unfortunately, take a reaction this extreme before anything changes. As much as I wish teenagers acted with humility in instances like this, the fact is the kid is probably right and the school needs to get over it.

  7. Wow… it’s interesting to hear polar responses already.

    I have to say, as much as I think Jesus wouldn’t like this kind of legalism… I can’t ignore his whole “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” If you don’t like rules, then don’t agree to them… even change schools if you have to, but don’t break your word.

    My two cents. But what do I know.

  8. Joe says:

    You hit it dead on Jonathan. Even at 17, a yes needs to be yes. Despite the school’s legalism, signing the agreement is the issue. The time to challenge a rule is before breaking it, not after. Bringing the media in to demonize the school, and more widely, Christianity was the wrong approach.

  9. Chris Hall says:

    I’m going to have to side with the school on this one. While I agree that the rule is legalistically ridiculous, the fact remains that the student broke his word. He signed a written agreement, a covenant if you will, that he wouldn’t dance. If you go to the Word and study the importance of covenants and harsh terms that coincided with one party breaking their side of the agreement, you’ll see that it was an important thing. A person’s word was important. And I think a lot the responses here and on the link just go to show how lightly people view the agreements the make; it’s our honesty and trustworthiness as Christians that’s the real issue, no matter what people make of the rule.

  10. Yvonne Bronson says:

    I ‘m not sure i completely understand the entire story, Th young man signed an agreement not to dance, is that at all or just in school. What he does (legally) outside of school should not affect what goes on in school, unless that was part of the agreement that he signed. Now as silly as this rule may be it is a rule and if it does indeed state no dancing on or off campus, and the young man and his parents signed it then they will need to face the consequences behind it. As a youth minister I can’t imagine haveing such a rule for any christian, for Goodness sake David danced out of his clothes, and i would not sign such an agreement.