A Look Back: The Homecoming Date Debacle

December 11, 2017

On October 13th, 2017, Mercy High School Baltimore held its third annual homecoming dance. The theme was Friday the Thirteenth, and many of the girls were looking forward to a night spent dancing and having fun with their friends.

The morning of the day of the dance, an email was sent out to students with reminders for the night, including information on the pick-up times and dress guidelines. However, one thing on the list appeared to be entirely new to the Mercy girls; the fourth point on the list stated that “if a student is bringing a guest, the guest must be in high school. There are no exceptions.”

Some girls complained of the no-refund policy of tickets—if they are no longer permitted to bring their college-aged dates, then shouldn’t they be refunded? The primary point circulating the halls that day was that the principle itself was not what the girls objected to; rather, it was the last-minute information, the lack of precise communication, and the assumption that the girls would be able to infer that this rule existed—which, the girls noted, was not an uncommon assumption in the Mercy community.

Many girls shared the same opinion: an email saying that this rule would be enforced in the future may not have been well-received, but it would have been reasonable and respectful of the current plans of the girls and their dates. Some of these college-aged dates even had to make a point of being in the area to attend this dance, so while perhaps it would have been sad to not be able to bring them in the future, at the very least it would not have interrupted current plans.

Ms. Marion, the Dean of Students and the sender of the email, says that the correspondence was a result of “a communication error between [herself] and another adult on campus.” She believes that the email “should not have been sent out,” and that the administration was “responding too quickly” to the situation. She noted that the age limit for prom is set at “under 21,” and that, going forward, this will be the standard age limit “for all dances.” Ms. Marion was aware of the fact that the age guidelines were new information to students, and she was also aware that this detail was not listed in the dance guidelines within the handbook—but she did say that “it’s definitely going to be in there next year.”

While this matter is in the past, it draws attention to an aspect of Mercy High School Baltimore that begs improvement. The communication regarding rules, times, events, and plans from the school to the students can often times be lacking, and many girls have complained in the past that Mercy needs to work to communicate more specific information to them. Despite the numerous emails that students receive from the school, even the simple matter of knowing in advance the precise time at which “Magic Time” is to occur on a given day often remains a mystery to the student body. We can only hope that this homecoming date debacle brings the attention of the school administration towards the greater communication issue that extends beyond this one instance, and that they will take the necessary steps to remedy this trend of keeping Mercy girls in the dark.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “A Look Back: The Homecoming Date Debacle”

  1. Mary Ella Marion on December 13th, 2017 2:09 pm

    I invite students to speak with me about the communication regarding rules, times, events and plans from the school and the precise time of Magic Time. This is part of the reason why I became the Dean of Students – to hear from our students about any and all questions or suggestions that they have. Creating a unified school community is very important to Mercy’s Leadership Team – let’s work together to achieve this!

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  2. Mr. Maerzke on January 25th, 2018 10:15 am

    A day that shall live in infamy. I remember a lot of upset voices that day, but I also remember being very proud of a couple students who came and talked to me. While many of their friends were whispering about trying to sneak their dates into the dance, these students instead went straight to Ms. Marion to confront the issue. This is the kind of open conversation we need, because we all want the same thing (nobody wants the 40-year-old, truck driving, stamp collecting, weirdo named Harold to show up as somebody’s date). Ms. Marion listened to the students’ concerns, and now we are able to move forward with amendments to old rules.

    I was really a third-party observer that weekend, but I was still very proud of everyone who stepped up to have difficult conversations. That’s something that we need more of in society and in life. Let’s step up and have the difficult conversations instead of whispering in the corners. Whispering in the corners is something Harold would do.

    Nobody likes a Harold.

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  3. Fechi Iwudyke on February 23rd, 2018 12:24 pm

    Homecoming was very fun, I enjoyed it. The music was great, and the food taste good.

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