Dateless Teen Banned From Prom Because, You Know, It’s 1953

prom banBeing a teenager can really suck sometimes, what with all that pressure to be skinny, zit-free and all around fabulous. If you’re 17-year-old Amanda Dougherty, it sucks at a whole other level. That’s because she’s been banned from attending prom since she doesn’t have a date. Yup, you read that correctly. No date, no prom!

Dougherty, a student at Archbishop John Carroll High School just outside Philly, did have a prom date at one point – but he bailed. So never mind that this girl shelled out $1,000 for tickets, a dress and shoes and that she still planned on attending solo – the latter is a big no-no at this one school.

A statement from the Office of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reads in part:

The prom is an exciting event for students in all of our Archdiocesan high schools. We do have policies in place to regulate both the junior and senior prom. Unfortunately, not all students are able to attend. We can’t address specific issues with specific students but there are various reasons that a student would not be able to attend. Not having a date is one example. Our high schools offer numerous dances and events throughout the year where dates are not required, but we view the prom as a special social event where a date is required to attend.

Um, okay, so this pretty much says nothing and offers no reason as to why this poor girl can’t attend her junior prom alone. Some may argue that “rules are rules” but to them I’d say that unjust rules straight out of 1953 are meant to be broken.

“For them to say not that we’re not good enough to go unless we have a guy standing next to us, it’s just kind of sickening,” Dougherty told CBS News. I couldn’t agree more! Jack Doughterty is on board with his daughter, telling CBS News she began shopping for her prom dress back in December. “Amanda has been waiting for this for two years, to not be able to go, I feel horrible,” he said. I don’t blame him one bit. The rule is ridiculous, and it sends a dangerous message to students.

(Photo: Laura Stone /Shutterstock)

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  • Michelle

    Funny, I went to a John Carroll located in a different Archdiocese. There were several people that went to my prom without a date and everyone survived. I’d really like to hear what their exact excuse is for why everyone has to have a date to go and if it’s the same rule for boys and girls.

  • Jen

    Seriously? Christ, the Church sure has it’s priorities on straight. I went to my Junior prom (at a non-diocese affiliated Catholic high school, natch) alone and it wasn’t the best thing ever (is prom ever, really?), but I still had fun. My mom and dad got me a corsage and I took a whole bunch of pictures pretending I had a date. There’s the slow dancing while leaning my head on the imaginary guy’s shoulder, the dinner time toast, the kiss on the cheek after he presents me with my flowers, etc. I was the ONLY dateless person at my prom and it was seriously no big deal. THIS is why the Church is hemorrhaging members and will bleed to death soon.

  • Daisy

    I would’ve expected the opposite–that they WOULDN’T allow dates, if anything! I am so confused… you’d think a strict religious school wouldn’t want boys and girls mingling…

    At my grad (we did grad instead of prom at my high schoo, which was also Catholicl), practically nobody had a date. A few people did of course, but most people just went with their friends. That was the normal thing to do.

  • Kelly

    I went to a Catholic high school located in Philly many years ago and a date was required for every dance when I was a student. It was so hard knowing that I couldn’t join in the fun because I could not found a boy to go. It’s a shame that those same policies are in place.

  • Joni

    So let’s get this straight: young ladies MUST have a date to attend prom, MUST be virgins when they marry, but are NOT allowed to use birth control EVER and if things don’t work out for ANY reason and they get a divorce, well then it’s lights out as far as being a good Catholic girl. Hmm, ya think maybe they need to re-think their rules for girls? Another example of religion sending confusing messages to women, keeping us down. I think she should invite another single girl to the prom and see if the church likes that ‘date’!!!

  • Jill

    I also attended a high school that required dates for everyone attending the prom. Their reasoning was that they didn’t want dateless prom-goers to “steal” the dates of others for dancing. They figured that if everyone had their own date, it would make the evening smoother. Like the girl in the article, I didn’t get to go to my senior prom because my boyfriend broke up with me and ended up going with another girl. I hated the policy and felt it really worked against the girls more than the boys because the girls cared more about attending and there were also more girls than boys in my school. It was a small, Christian school in which each class had only about 60 students. I got over it, but it really made for a traumatic and unpleasant final months of school to hear everyone buzzing about prom and knowing I wouldn’t be able to go.

  • Cary

    Hmm if she wants to really set the cat amongst the pigeons I’d say find herself another girl to go with as a date.

  • Frances

    I went to a catholic school and they didn’t have this ridiculous rule. I don’t understand the commenters that are blaming the church for this one, at my high school they encouraged everyone to attend regardless of having a date. I think they looked at the dateless kids as being just that much less likely to end up pregnant lol!

    Seriously though I think this is more of a stupid rule left over from a bygone era than a religious rule. I’m completely secular at this point, but I can’t blame the church for this ridiculousness.

  • Sweetpea

    I was a bit of a rebel as a teen. If it were me, I`d show up anyway. they probably wouldnt make a fuss with all the other students and parent chaparones watching.