Prom rules!! It can also send parents into dissociative fugues.
This morning, we were forwarded an email chain that is kicking up quite of bit of dust among parents at a high school which we will leave unnamed. The backstory: It was prom weekend. A group of 60 kids managed to surreptitiously rent a lake house for an after-prom party. Parents found out; our intrepid parent below tried to intervene and legitimize the rental so the party could continue; but it fell apart at the last minute, and the rental was canceled. The kids had to scramble for new after-prom party plans at the last minute. Names have been redacted to protect everyone involved in this nightmare.
Which brings us to the morning after prom, when this bleary-eyed mom sent out the following amazing stream-of-consciousness email to dozens of other parents:
Date: Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 7:44 AM
Subject: Prom Facts as only I know them
Dear Families and Seniors/Juniors,
Yes, I am still awake. As I am sure so are other chaperones, this weekend will eventually end but the wonderful memories hopefully will last a life time.
What I would like to have happen is for the misunderstandings, and inappropriate actions and behaviors of friends to friends, and parents to parents, and parents to other people’s children to be over now and hopefully forgotten. So I am going to do my best to recreate my time line of this whole weekend fiasco, this may shed some light on things or it may muddle things up worse either way it will put it to rest as far as I am concerned.
Last year at the Homecoming dinner thrown by [parents], [husband] and I offered to sponsor after prom. We were serious and our children and our friends whose children are in this group knew that. There was absolutely NO WAY I would have 60 high schoolers for after prom ( I never really thought would be in issue). We told [daughter] that 24 would be our top number. We reminded [daughter] and her friends throughout the year that we were serious about hosting the after prom. [Daughter] is our youngest child and this is not our first rodeo so we had a pretty good idea of what was at stake.
As Prom and April approached so did the Girls’ Ice Hockey Playoffs. For those of you that don’t know me, I just finished a long tenure of managing the [School] Girls Varsity Ice Hockey team. If you know anything about ice hockey then you know that there is ice to be bought, refs to be hired, girls to be benched because of State rules on length of squads, and it all happens over a period of 8 days that culminates if you are fortunate with a trip the State Championship at the [arena]. Until 2 days before that Championship Game, you ,as a manager have no idea if you are going or not, if you do make to the final, you as the manager must: Throw many team dinners, get permission slips for all of the students to miss school, rent a Coach Bus, get all 22 players and their parents to sign and resubmit: waivers, proof of birth, etc…, coaches need to be cleared etc…All of this is happening while you have to ease upset parents because their daughters have been asked to be a healthy cut ( Meaning they can’t suit up but they can sit on the bench because the team has more players than the “Legal” limit), and convince [school] to allow one of your healthy cuts to even be present even though her parents still have not payed her tuition, and convince USA to let even the benched player swear their full gear so that they can retain some pride. The same week I hosted a 90th Birthday party for a woman I am a POA for that has no family and whom I met through our parish, our married daughter also “ Had her Matching Day” where she and her husband found out where they would be moving to for her Residency. I also had a fever and was pretty much barely hanging on.
…Enter a text from [daughter] to her mother that same week,” Can we put my credit card down on a house for prom? The kid isn’t having it anymore but [friend] said she’ll be in charge of it.”
I responded that I thought it was foolish to have such a large group that they could just split up and use our house. I also asked if [friend]’s parents were involved. [Daughter] ASSUMED yes, ( quite honestly how could you blame her, what rental company allows a senior in highschool to rent a home large enough for 60 people?) At this point, I said that I thought it was a poor idea but it was [daughter]’s money and [daughter]’s credit card. ( [Daughter] has been working at [Town] Bike Shop since 8th grade and she has saved enough money to help pay for college).
Also [daughter] hit me when I was down. I was just too busy with too many other priorities to give Prom that much thought. I ASSUMED that other parents were helping the [friend’s family] with this undertaking ( I do not know the [family]’s or [friend] that well but I had heard that Mr. [Family] was a lawyer so I ASSUMED that he would dot all the necessary i’s and cross all the necessary t’s. There were at least 57 other responsible adults associated with this group. These are good kids from solid families, I felt confident that someone’s family was running with this prom after party.
The day before the State Championship I received a phone call from a very dear friend of mine whose daughter is like my own daughter. She was visibly upset and truly mad at me for allowing the kids to rent a lake house.
I kept thinking as I was listening to her on the phone…I didn’t want these kids to rent a lake house, I wanted them in the safety of my own home. I didn’t start this whole go to another state after prom process, some other family did. I can’t make the kids use our house for after prom and clearly many parents feel otherwise or why would they allow these kids to go up to [location] and rent a house for 60. I simply allowed [daughter] to use her credit card because she stated that no other parent was willing to because they were afraid that that they wouldn’t be reimbursed by such a large group of children.
This is a classic case of GROUP THINK and I certainly know better than that but again I had a brain full of other priorities.
…The State Championship ended and Matching Day came and went and [old person] had a smashing 90th Birthday party. All three events were a hugs success, whew, now comes Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and [husband] and I were the two adults that took [daughter] and 4 of her dear friends on Sailing trip in the BVI. We were responsible not only for sailing the boat ourselves but also for provisioning it and managing the girls’ travel etc… We left the Monday after Easter. I think you get the picture that I didn’t get around to looking deeper into the after Prom until just last week.
All the while many of your children were badgering [daughter] and [friend] about keeping the group together even though they now knew ( But we later find out no adult knew) that the house would not allow 60 people rather only 24). And that in fact those 24 had have their names on list to be cleared by a security guard and all chaperones and parents involved also had to be on the list. WHAT? [Daughter] are you kidding? This is a dead end. Enter, no other parent was communicating with the whole group, [Daughter] was being badgered by all sides to not break the group up and not too worry they would sneak in some how…WHAT? [Daughter], your mother is going to start the adult email chain and let’s sort this out. So that is how you first heard from me this week. I started out gently to see if a parent who knew more than I did would come forward ( and thank God some of you did), Thank you [parent]. I then realized that someone needed to call the rental company. We had to tell them that our group was not a youth group on a retreat. ( more on that later) but in fact an after prom and that we had to let them allow 30 children. ( If the groups were meant to be split). [Daughter] got me the contact number from [friend] and I called her on Thursday evening of this week ( while the [team] played). My intention was for the group of 30 that [friend] put together ( [Daughter] was not even on that list) would use the [place] Lake House then allowing 30 children left to stay at our house or a house in town. When I spoke with [person] she made it clear that she knew the kids were up to something… and probably under age ( That is the hook that should allow me to negotiate for the $ back next week). I expressed that it was all a huge misunderstanding and spent the next 45 minutes telling her the truth.
She was a hard sell but finally agreed to allow us to bring 30 students there on a school bus at 1:00 a.m. and that if I closed the house up the next day and saw to it that all of the rules ( Chaperones, cleaning , noise issues) were dealt that she would tell the owner ( Who is a good friend of hers) and it would be fine. By Friday of the next day when I asked [daughter] for the list of 30 and when I had asked for chaperones etc… [daughter] said that [friend]’s group had decided to use [other person]’s house. Great, I thought, here the whole time I was trying to get the kids to stay local at my house, I was nearly there with a reasonable amount of kids and in fact now we are using a house that I know nothing about rented from a gated Christian Community with a 10:30 noise curfew and showing up with a school bus of kids at 1:00 a.m. From our end it looked as if it would work out ok but not great. The groups split ( although reluctantly who thought it would be a good idea to put together a prom group of 60? A bunch of really nice kids that wanted to have a last memory together and didn’t have the heart to say no when a couple kids asked if they could join their group or not go at all!), and each group APPEARED to have place to AFTER prom. Come Friday night at 8:00 p.m. the group I had now taken responsibility for received a phone call from [person] saying this to me’”I’m sorry too but I understand his position also when I listen to his side. ( the owner changed his mind)
No. He didn’t cancel it. Due to the fraud and deception, and the potential liabiliry due to all of this, there was not a legal booking, so it is null and void because of her own actions. I don’t think [location] would allow a school bus on the premises in the middle of the night.”
I went to bed with a 4 day migraine and decided that it was no great loss if the group I had taken responsibility for just went home after prom and reconvened in the morning ( That’s what I did when I went to prom). At this point the whole thing had worn me down and my husband travelled all week and we just couldn’t manage hosting the after prom. We were shattered.
Other parents stepped up in many ways THANK YOU! and while I still did host an after after prom ( My basement may never be the same!) all of the girls are alive (I think).
For the other group, we NEVER stole your lake house, we didn’t even want it! For all of the kids that invested $50 in that lake house. It was a poor investment. It was a lesson in you bit off way more than you could chew and PLEASE ask for help long before you are drowning. I will do my best to get some or maybe even all of the money refunded. The rental company left themselves pretty wide open and I created a very strong paper trail to support your cause, but I will not throw [friend] or [daughter] under the bus to get you $50 back. You all used them to do your dirty work and by not asking for any of your parents help along the way you put them and in then end me in a very awful place. For that parents that were scolding and quite honestly, bullying [daughter] in our home on Saturday, I forgive you because I know that you were coming from a very dark place of exhaustion. However, I think you owe [daughter] an apology because it is NEVER ok for an adult to bully a child. And in her own home on her Prom night was pretty stinky.
To All of the parents that pulled together to make this prom a special one for all 60 of these children, THANK YOU!…it truly takes a Village. I told you all that this only MY Truth, I am certain that you each have a varying story. I am sorry that I allowed [daughter] to use her credit card and that I didn’t have more time, at the time to get involved. As the great coach Bobby Night use to say, “Don’t ASSUME because it makes an ASS out of “U” and “ME”
To close, for those who know me well, I do not make enemies, I also love all of you and feel blessed beyond words to have you in my life. I do not hold grudges for I believe that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring and that if we don’t learn to love each other unconditionally right now we will be sorry tomorrow. We need to care for each other and not let petty events ( like this) tear us apart. We are ALL good people that sometimes make poor choices. We are all human and if we want to be a good example to our children than we need to treat each other with respect.
Love and Blessings,
Whew. On the email list, some discussion ensued over who should be responsible for paying for all this. Then came this reply:
Date: Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 9:54 PM
Subject: Re: Prom Facts as only I know them
The [Name] Wife
Just started reading this much talked about email and stopped after the fourth paragraph because it sounds like it was written by the Unabomber
I certainly agree with [other parent’s] email and rationale. And the reality is all kids involved created an untenable and difficult situation. But for you to respond and single out one student is despicable and childish. Furthermore it’s an insult to the fathers and mothers who made everything happen. Particularly the chaperones, myself included who we’re willing to oversee both groups. You also inappropriately phoned one of the girls involved today. Additionally you were overheard referring to our boys last night at your home as “idiots”. These would be the same idiots who won us a state FB championship
Forget the money. If you do receive a refund use it for the next time you magnanimously invite people to your home, and use it to buy some decent wine
Please do not respond or I will regard it as harassment
This has been a night to remember.