Prom season has kicked off for millions of high school seniors across the nation, which typically means weeks of agonizing overdress choices, elaborate “proposals,” and limo rentals. And if the fun police, er, administration staff at a Wanaque, New Jersey high school have their way, students can forget about that last part. Lakeland Regional High School is banning limos, luxury cars, as well as party buses from its end-of-senior-year celebration, reports AP News. This week, the school sent parents a letter decreeing that any students who wish to attend prom in June must travel to and from the party via “school-provided and chaperoned coach buses” and pay $15 a seat for the privilege. The school superintendent and former Fun Person Hugh Beattie say the rule is “a matter of safety and equity for all students.” He also says the buses will help prevent any underage drinking. Speaking to CBS New York, Beattie said, “This way, we have a little more control over what’s going on. It’s 45 minutes away from campus, so we’ll make sure students get there and back safely.”
Surprising, absolutely nobody, students are not happy. Lakeland senior Alex Barna said, “The limo party or bus party is the best part of the night. For some kids, it’s their first time being on a limo, and that’s exciting.” “You get your dress, your makeup, hair, nails, and then you get a limo. It’s one of the parts of prom,” said Caitlin Heckler. And it’s not just students pushing back as several parents don’t see eye-to-eye with the school either. Linda Barna, who we’re assuming is Alex’s mother, said, “Kids should make their own decision. So we’re paying for extra buses? I can’t entirely agree with that.” Holly Bosland says school officials are taking away a prom tradition.
Reportedly, students and parents have plans to protest the limo ban at a board meeting on March 12. Whether the decision is in some way related to the limo accident in Upstate New York that left 20 dead and quickly put shady limo companies under the spotlight, it’s unclear at this moment. It was eventually discovered that the limo that crashed into two pedestrians and killed all occupants wasn’t roadworthy and had failed previous inspections. We’ll be sure to check back with Lakeland High next year to see if they’ve banned potentially provocative, mall-bought dresses in favor of uniform-style, school-issued formal wear. Y’know, as a matter of safety and equity for all students.