WANAQUE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A prom tradition for many kids across the country is changing in one New Jersey town, and it has some students singing the teenage blues.
Prom is typically the culmination of senior year and a rite of passage before moving on to the next chapter.
“It’s a last farewell with our friends,” junior Robin Yochim told CBS2. “One last hurrah!”
Robin, like most kids, was planning on getting to the big dance via limousine or party bus.
“It’s just one of the expenses,” senior Caitlin Heckler said. “You get your dress, your makeup, hair, nails, and then you get a limo. It’s one of the parts of prom.”
For seniors at Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, that’s no longer an option. Officials say everyone who attends must take school-provided chaperoned buses to and from the venue on June 4th.
“The limo party or bus party is the best part of the night,” senior Alex Barna said. “For some kids it’s their first time being on a limo and that’s exciting!”
Superintendent Hugh Beattie says the change is all about the safety and equity for all students. It’ll cost $15 to ride the buses compared to much more for private chauffeurs. In addition, he hopes it’ll curb any potential underage drinking.
“This way we have a little more control over what’s going on,” Beattie said. “It’s 45 minutes away from campus, so we’ll make sure students get there and back safely.”
Not everyone’s in favor of the changes.
“Kids should make their own decision,” parent Linda Barna said. “We’re paying extra buses? I don’t agree with that.”
“It’s a part of high school life, a part of growing up,” senor Jay Faber said. “I understand things aren’t as safe as they used to be, but we can’t be too closed off to everything.”
Some students told CBS2 the buses will make them feel trapped at prom. Many like to cut out early and go to New York City or the Jersey shore for after-parties. The district says it’s just following the lead of other other local schools with organized transportation.
Most kids who spoke with CBS2 say they’ll still have fun either way. A board meeting is scheduled for March 12th, where some parents and students plan to protest the decision.