The Altoona Area School District may be the only school district in Blair County with specific dancing rules for prom, but there are no wallflowers among area school administrators when it comes to preventing dirty dancing.
"It's a concern at every school," Forever Broadcasting disc jockey and Blair County-area school dance DJ Chad Bender said.
Students dance with little to no space between partners, girls with their backs to guys, hips grinding to the slow or medium beat of an urban song with overtly sexual overtones.
"Parents in the '50s and '60s looked at Chuck Berry and said 'We can't have that' or 'Oh, that rock 'n' roll - can't listen to that.' It's progressed. This is mainstream dancing," Bender said. "This is what we have come to."
Bender said he doesn't know how the trend will change.
"As a parent with junior high kids, do I want some guy grinding on my daughter? No, but I don't know how to stop it."
Working with administrators at schools including Central, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Claysburg-Kimmel, Bender has shut off music so chaperones can warn students of their behavior.
Although Bender plays what students want to hear, he mixes in "safe" songs that are too fast for students to grind to.
"I listen to every song that comes out. Does the beat have a grinding possibility? Are the lyrics about getting drunk? Eighty percent of popular songs on the radio are like that," Bender said.
Bender said many DJs don't cautiously choose the songs they play, but schools nationwide have a safe DJ resource in the School Dance Network that provides weekly lists of safe songs and songs not to play.
"Over the past several years, school dances have become a challenge for school administrators because lyrical content in hit dance music has become increasingly raunchy, teen dance trends have thrown up red flags and administrators have become frustrated with how to deal with it," DJ Ric Hansen, founder of School Dance Network, states on the network's website.
"School administrators have been struggling with a clear workable game plan to handle the issue of Freak Dancing also known as grinding, freaking, or dirty dancing," the website states.
Bishop Guilfoyle parent Tina Welteroth said chaperoning high school dances was "eye-opening."
"There is no place for that kind of dancing," she said "I have no problem walking right into the middle of a crowd to stop it."
But for the 25 chaperones expecting 800 students at Altoona Area's junior-senior high school prom, that method may be difficult.
Altoona Area administrators have implemented a new rule requiring dance partners to face each other while dancing to eliminate the probability of grinding during this Friday's prom at the Blair County Convention Center.
Some students support the rule, but about a third of students attending prom have signed a petition for the administration to reconsider the rule.
"I was in awe," Shane Morgan, an Altoona Area senior who started the petition, said. "The school has done things in things in the past [to control student behavior], but controlling the way we start to dance is taking it too far. I felt like I had to do something," Morgan said.
More than 250 students have signed the petition, but administrators are not wavering, district spokeswoman Paula Foreman said.
"We are there in place of parents, and we are under the assumption that most parents don't want their children dancing that way," Foreman said.
When the lights come on at the end of school dances, students might have some regrets, nationally renown youth speaker Keith Hawkins told Claysburg-Kimmel High School students when he visited in March.
Hawkins, who has spoken at the U.N. Global Summit on the behalf of America's youth, joked about the way young people dance: girls almost down in a full three-point football stance like an all-pro center and the guy acting like he's a riding cowboy.
The approximately 200 Claysburg-Kimmel students laughed because they knew it was true, Hawkins said.
"It's called the Jersey turnpike," one senior girl said from the crowd.
Hawkins spoke about students owning their decisions.
In the dark dance room, decisions are made that are contrary to the respect girls want in the daylight, Hawkins said.