Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

April 27, 2012

Gary's World: Follow rules or face consequences

CROSSVILLE — It's prom time once again and I've already read a couple of stories where kids are raising a stink because they were asked to leave, or refused entry to their high school prom.

Unfortunately, many newspapers and TV stations are being sucked into this pseudo-drama and promoting these silly occurrences. It's a sign of the times, I suppose.

This inevitably happens each year. You might think these kids, who in my opinion are trying to make a name for themselves by standing out at the prom, would hear about prior experiences the other kids have had and forget about the idea.

The most recent case is that of Texanna Edwards, an 18-year-old Gibson County High School student who custom-fashioned her prom dress to look like a Confederate battle flag.

Edwards made headlines earlier this week when she was refused entry at the high school's prom last Saturday because her dress was deemed "offensive and inappropriate."

According to an article about the situation in the Tennessean, Edwards said, “We asked why they thought that, but they kept saying the same thing over and over (the dress was offensive and inappropriate) ... We kept asking people walking inside — black and white — and everyone said they loved it. Two black women even went off on the principal. They were upset with the principal. No one was upset with me.”

The girl and her escort were refused entry; however, school officials offered Edwards the opportunity to change her dress and then she could be admitted to the dance.

The girl complained because the dress was custom made and the couple spent more than $500 on their attire for the evening — that's offensive to me — but hey, to each his own.

A class sponsor, a teacher, also warned the girl as early as February that she should have the Confederate dress idea cleared by the principal due to recent race-related issues over the past few years.

Edwards did not do so and instead chose to have the dress made and just show up at the school's dance. The story as of Thursday morning was on CNN, but they failed to mention the part about Edwards being warned prior to the event.

I don't know about you, but I just don't understand why there is a problem here and the girl couldn't follow a simple dress code rule.

No, I wouldn't be offended by the dress, or any other Confederate flag-related item — but some people might and if it's enough to possibly cause problems, which there have been in the past — what's the point in pushing the issue and causing a big stink?

I don't think her rights were violated.

If I invite you over to my house and you say you're going to bring your cigarettes and I say that we don't allow smoking in the house — don't be shocked or offended when I ask you to go outside after you light one up.

How hard is that to understand? If a rule is laid down, don't be offended if there is a consequence when you break the rule.

Another news story I saw on CNN was a case in which a girl was told she could not attend the prom alone because her date backed out a day before.

Now that's a horse of a different color. It doesn't make sense that one would have to have a date in order to gain entry, but that's how it was at my prom 30 years ago.

This kind of stuff has been going on for years. At my prom way back in 1982 in Northwest Indiana, a girl came to the prom wearing a tuxedo with tails, a top hat and cane and was alone. The rule was you had to have a date, or partner, and the ticket was sold as a pair. I'm not sure what the big controversy was, but she was not allowed to enter and was asked to leave — tails, cane, top hat and all.

I even saw her at the entry of the school cafeteria, flailing her arms madly in a dramatic fit of rage. No newspaper or TV crew came rushing to the scene to expose the controversy that night, or even later.

Another kid tried coming into my prom wearing one of those T-shirts that looks like a tuxedo and shorts. Refused entry.

I know times are changing and the entire concept of prom is different then it was back then, but one thing remains the same — if a rule is set, whether you agree with that rule or not, if you break it, don't be surprised if consequences follow.

This is an important life-lesson that kids need to learn — consequences are the result of YOUR behavior.

These overly dramatic scenes that are being portrayed and played out on reality TV, the news and Internet are creating an entire generation of big, whiney, spoiled brats.

Face it kids — and some adults — you can't always have everything your way. Sometimes, in life you just have to follow the rules and grin and bear it. If not, face the consequence.

• • •

Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com.

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