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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
US school cancels 'decadent' prom
Principal Kenneth Hoagland
Principal Kenneth Hoagland attacked what he called "flaunting of affluence"
The head of a US Catholic school has cancelled prom night because of objections to a "bacchanalian" culture of "financial decadence".

Kenneth Hoagland, of Kellenberg Memorial High in Long Island, took action via a letter to parents.

"[Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy," he wrote, after consultations that began last year.

Prom night is a rite of passage for US students and there have been passionate reactions for and against the move.

'Emotionally traumatic'

"It is not primarily the sex, booze, drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be," Brother Hoagland wrote.

"It is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake. In a word, financial decadence," he added.

"Each year it gets worse, becomes more exaggerated, more expensive, more emotionally traumatic.

"We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility."

The principal began looking into the future of the prom last Spring after it was discovered that 46 Kellenberg seniors made a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 house rental in the Hamptons for a post-prom party.

When school officials found out, they forced the students to cancel the deal.

But Mr Hoagland said some parents went ahead and rented a Hamptons house anyway.

The school says it is open to prom alternatives and says most parents support the move.




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