Under close scrutiny
Inappropriate dresses won't be tolerated at Newton proms

COVINGTON - Getting ready for prom isn't as easy as it used to be.

In addition to girls worrying about what their dates will think of their dresses, they also have to worry about what the school administrators think about it.

Newton County high schools are threatening to turn students away from their prom if they show up in inappropriate attire.

This year for the first time at Eastside High School, girls had to turn in photos of themselves in their dresses before they could receive their tickets to the prom, which is scheduled for Saturday at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

"This rule was implemented because students were willing to just face the consequences - discipline referral for dress code violation - when they came to the prom in dresses that were inappropriate," said Michelle Kennedy, prom committee teacher sponsor at Eastside. "The administration felt that this would help students understand the seriousness of the dress code."

She said non-Eastside students who were dates of Eastside students also had to turn in a picture before their date could receive the tickets.

"If the administration had issues with the dress, the student was asked to get the dress altered or replaced," Kennedy said.

She said the dresses worn to prom can't be "too revealing" - too low in the front or back or have high slits.

Kennedy said about 99 percent of the dresses girls presented were "perfectly acceptable" to be worn to the prom.

"There weren't any dresses that had to be replaced; all were able to be altered," she said. "Most students complied without making it a big issue."

Maggie Trammel, a senior at Eastside, was one of the girls who had to get her dress altered.

Earlier this month, when Trammel turned in a picture of herself in the $500 dress her parents bought for her in January, Trammel said Kennedy told her the dress was too low in the back and the side slits were too revealing.

Trammel said she didn't feel the dress was too low but had some alterations and resubmitted a photo of the dress. But, again, it was turned down for being too revealing.

After about $50 or more in alterations, Trammel said her parents talked with Kennedy and school Principal Robert Daria, who then approved the dress.

"I understand that Dr. Daria ... wanted to keep prom classy and make sure girls came dressed appropriately," Trammel said. "I just never saw any guidelines and never had to sign a form; they just told us we had to get our dresses approved first."

Kennedy said all students were told of the dress code for prom - dresses not to be too revealing and tuxedo shirts tucked in at all times, among other rules - near the beginning of the school year.

She said any students who come to the prom in a different dress that doesn't adhere to the dress code will be turned away.

Alcovy High School also said students who are in violation of its dress code will not be admitted into the prom, which is scheduled for March 29 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta.

Angela Cooper, prom committee teacher chairperson at Alcovy, said gentlemen are expected to wear formal or semi-formal attire with no sagging pants, and that the tuxedo or dress shirt must be worn at all times during the prom. Girls may not wear revealing clothing or display "excessive cleavage," the midriff or have slits above the fingertips.

"Dress code is the same as last year. ... Alcovy adopted this dress code to keep formal and age-appropriate attire at a high school prom," Cooper said. "Our dress code is the same for homecoming and prom."

Newton High School is taking a different approach regarding dress code for its prom, which is scheduled for April 19 at Evergreen Resort at Stone Mountain.

"Our students are supposed to use their best judgment and try to dress appropriately," said Jamie Summerour, prom committee teacher co-sponsor at the school. "We did not have any problems last year."

School administrators, teachers and, in some cases, Newton County sheriffs' deputies will be on hand to chaperone the proms.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Newton County Proms

School: Alcovy

Location: Georgia Railroad Freight Depot, Atlanta

Theme: "Paris"

When: 8 to 11:30 p.m. March 29

Tickets: $75/individual, $140/couple

School: Eastside

Location: The Fabulous Fox Theatre, Atlanta

Theme: "Mystical Mirage"

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $80

School: Newton

Location: Evergreen Resort, Stone Mountain

Theme: "A Night in Paris"

When: 7 to 11 p.m. April 19

Tickets: $80/individual, $140/couple

All photos will be taken by Ezell Studios of Conyers. More information can be found at www.ezellsstudios.com.