The one event almost every high school senior looks forward to is senior prom.
But officials in one New Jersey school district have put a damper on the rite of passage after they banned students from taking limos and party buses to their prom venue, instead mandating they take chaperoned coach buses to and from the event.
What are the details?
Officials at Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, New Jersey, say the change is about maintaining safety for all students — with the belief that controlling transportation will curb underage drinking — and equality because not all students can afford a limousine or party bus.
But the bus will not be free. The school will charge each student $15 for transportation costs, according to WCBS-TV.
"This way we have a little more control over what's going on. [The prom venue is] 45 minutes away from campus, so we'll make sure students get there and back safely," school superintendent Hugh Beattie said.
How did students and parents react?
Most expressed frustration with the decision. Many students told WCBS that taking a limo to prom is part of the experience, while some parents said students should be allowed to make their own transportation decisions.
"It's just one of the expenses. You get your dress, your makeup, hair, nails, and then you get a limo. It's one of the parts of prom," one senior student told WCBS.
"The limo party or bus party is the best part of the night!" added another.
Other students say the mandate will make them feel trapped at prom, since many students leave the prom venue early and head to after-parties.
Meanwhile, parent Linda Barna said: "Kids should make their own decision. We're paying extra buses? I don't agree with that."
According to WCBS, parents and students will protest the mandate at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for March 12.