School-to-school and district-to-district, prom rules vary based on regional custom and need. But there are some prom rules that seem to be close to universal. Most are pretty common sense, but it’s better to get an idea of what you’ll encounter before you get too far into your planning process. If your first prom is coming up, here are some restrictions and regulations you might expect.
- Prom tickets or bids may only be available for purchase to members of certain academic classes, usually juniors and seniors.
- Some schools restrict guests to students attending their school only, although most allow outside guests.
- Do not bring any illegal substances of any kind to prom. Don’t plan to spike the punch, spend the evening in the bathroom making bad choices, or buy, sell, or use drugs or alcohol during prom hours. Most schools consider prom an extension of normal school activities and engaging in these behaviors can result in the same consequences as doing them on school grounds.
- Once you arrive, you may not leave and come back again. Schools are clearly avoiding students leaving the venue, committing any violation, then returning to the event, especially in an altered state.
- Many schools have no refund policies, especially if you are expelled from prom for breaking another rule.
- Dress codes vary widely from school to school but almost always include a requirement for dressing in a semi-formal or formal manner, at a level of modesty appropriate to a high school event, and free from any defaming or inappropriate symbolism or writing.
- While schools cannot necessarily control what you do before or after prom, many issue strong recommendations to parents about avoiding liability in rented limousines or transportation as well as at pre- and post-prom parties by providing present, authoritative monitoring (i.e. chaperones). Parents are also reminded that providing alcohol to minors, even at home, is illegal. Parents can be held legally liable and can be fined or imprisoned for sanctioning underage consumption of controlled substances.
Again, there are many rules that are school-specific, but these are among the most common. Parents would be wise to use them as talking points in coaching acceptable behavior at proms to help students make wise life choices and avoid serious consequences of poor ones.