Letter: Grinding at Arapahoe High Dance Could Have "Legal Ramifications"

A screen capture from one of the many grinding videos available online. Additional clips and more below.
A screen capture from one of the many grinding videos available online. Additional clips and more below.

Grinding — a dance floor move that calls for one person's ass to be ground into another's crotch — is hardly a new phenomenon.

Videos of the move have been popping up on YouTube for years; see examples below. And in 2012, as we reported at the time, Central High School in Grand Junction became the center of controversy after a video featuring grinding or freaking moves was shown to students as a way of demonstrating what dances were acceptable and which ones were verboten.

Now, however, Arapahoe High School has banned grinding at dances — and in a letter to parents, the facility's principal warns of "possible legal ramifications" for those who disobey the edict.

This video offers something of a grinding how-to — although, frankly, the moves are pretty damn intuitive.....

...while this one shows it in a school dance context:

According to 7News, the dance became an issue at Arapahoe after some parents reached out to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office to express their concerns about it.

Those worries sprang out of actions at a prior dance

Questions included whether one person grinding on another without permission constituted unlawful sexual contact.

With Arapahoe's homecoming dance in the offing, principal Natalie Pramenko decided to address the situation head-on via a grinding ban announced in a letter to parents sent out on Monday.

Principal Natalie Pramenko (back row, center) and new teachers at Arapahoe High School as seen in a 2013 photo.
Principal Natalie Pramenko (back row, center) and new teachers at Arapahoe High School as seen in a 2013 photo.

Here's the missive, as shared by the station:

October 5, 2015

Dear Arapahoe Parents,

I hope this communication finds you well in the midst of the excitement of a "frightful" and spirited Homecoming Week as we kick off the 2015 events with our "Halloween Town" theme!

I am reaching out to you for your support as we implement a positive change to our Arapahoe dance policy. No longer will front-to-back dancing or "grinding" be allowed. If you are not sure of what that means, I would suggest you "Google it." Though you will be certain to see images that may surprise you, please rest assured, our Warriors don't take it to an extreme level. We just don't want it to get there!

Today and tomorrow in 3rd hour classes, students were/will be shown a short video announcement that includes me, Deputy Englert, and four of our Arapahoe teachers. Our message is intended to inform and protect all of our students. They are encouraged to treat each other respectfully, not only at dances, but at all times. They were also told of possible legal ramifications that could occur if they touch someone inappropriately and/or without consent. We have high expectations for their behavior, and I know you do as well.

Our Arapahoe Student Council has worked hard to plan and prepare for the 2015 Homecoming dance, and it is sure to be an awesome evening. We have hired their favorite DJ, Sammy. We will have dance cubes for students to dance on and will even be handing out some prizes! Tickets are on sale all week during both lunches, and dress is semi-formal. I hope you will have a conversation with your son or daughter and encourage appropriate behavior at all school activities, including dances.

Thank you for partnering with us to help provide a safe and fun environment for all of our Warriors. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

Sincerely,
Natalie Pramenko
Principal, Arapahoe High School

Arapahoe High School.
Arapahoe High School.

The video shown during the presentation announced in the letter featured examples of grinding.

Students said this visual aid was accompanied by a conversation about how the dance was disrespectful to women in particular.

Upcoming Events

If any of those who planned to attend the dance are upset about the elimination of grinding, they didn't talk about it to 7News. But the Arapahoe administration's response is downright modest compared to what happened this week at Gotham High School in southern Maine. According to WMTW-TV, a dance at the school has been canceled to make sure grinding doesn't happen.

Look below to see the 7News piece, as well as the WMTW item.



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