Inappropriate Student Dancing at School Events

by Matt Ryan

This subject is an increasing problem for school administrators, who are anxious to find ways to curb it.

Some schools take drastic measures and cancel dances altogether. When this happens, students may rebel by deciding to host their own function.

Personally, I would much rather see students at school, in a safe, chaperoned environment, having fun at the dance, than out on the streets getting into the hundreds of worse alternatives available to them.

For this reason, I believe dances need to be fun – on the students’ terms – but still within the scope of what is generally deemed acceptable for school settings.

Elvis the “Pelvis”

DJs understand better than anyone that the inappropriate dancing concerns are nothing new and date back to advent of rock and roll.

Many schools will approach you, the DJ, as their first line of defense. Even for me as a school teacher and multi-op DJ owner for 15 years, this area turns very gray. “Clean edit” versions of songs are a must; however, strictly using music as a means to control the type of dancing students are doing has never proven effective for me.

Students will dance to anything short of Disney show tunes. Slow dances are somewhat effective for breaking up the dance floor a bit, and I can think of a few selections that elicit rough dancing, but for the most part the specific type of dancing that takes places is largely out of the DJ’s control.

Keeping It Clean

So what are schools and DJs to do to keep the dancing clean? There is no magical solution but upon booking an event, you can bring up the topic and suggest that the school:

  • Hold class meetings
  • Put segments on their video announcements
  • Post specific guidelines for inappropriate dancing
  • Provide many chaperones at the dance
  • Enforce the rules

There isn’t a quick fix and it really takes a substantial effort from the school – not just unloading the issue on to the DJ, setting him or her up for failure.

Reputations Are On The Line

As a DJ serving schools, you must be committed to helping them address this issue, but not by making promises you cannot deliver on. The best way you can help is to be a resource for your school dance advisers, sharing with them ideas you’ve seen work well with other schools.

Schools’ reputations hinge on their ability to provide a safe environment for their students and they will not put that reputation on the line for an extra-curricular dance.

Savvy DJ business owners understand the future of their business is dependent upon loyal clients such as schools, so it is in their best interest to partner with the schools to develop solutions that satisfy everyone involved to allow dances to remain a fun part of the school culture.

Do you have any tips to share on this subject? Let us know!

Matt Ryan – “School Dance Pro”

Matt Ryan is a multi-op DJ business owner, radio personality, developer of School Dance Pros and educator. He has been entertaining at school and many other types of functions since 1996. Matt Ryan Mobile DJ Entertainment performs at approximately 250 events per year, nearly half of which are school and teen dances and proms. Matt is a well-known on-air personality at WNCI 97.9, a Top 40 radio station in Columbus, OH. He is also a middle school teacher and coach. Matt is able to provide unprecedented insight to other DJs about how school dances are organized. To contact him, email or visit View posts by Matt