What On Earth Is A ‘VIP Lounge’ Doing At A Middle School Dance?

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VIP loungeYou know how, when you’re in your 20s – sometimes even 30s – you inevitably end up at one of those cheesy clubs where there’s a roped-off section filled with “Very Important People” ordering bottle service and lounging on plush, over-sized loveseats? Yeah, that. Well, an L.A. middle school is looking to recreate that really cool vibe by offering students the chance to buy their way into a V.I.P. room at an upcoming dance. No, really, this is actually happening. And I am shocked! Because it’s by far the cheesiest thing I’ve heard all month.

On her blog BellaNoise, Marcy Magiera writes about her son, a student at New West Charter School in L.A. He says that for an extra $5 – on top of the $15 dance admission – students are granted the privilege of hanging out in this so-called V.I.P. Lounge, which comes replete with a dessert bar and goody bags.

As Magiera herself asks, “What’s next? Bottle service? $10 for a jug of Coke maybe, served by a high-schooler in short shorts? While everyone else gets Capri Sun pouches grabbed out of a tub full of ice?” (Ha ha. I don’t know Magiera personally, but I think I love her!)

Okay, I’m just going to point out the obvious here: Why on earth would a school actively create an element of exclusivity? Last I checked, those tween and teen years are hard enough as is (as are school dances). Why administrators think it’s a good idea to divide their students – based on superiority, of all things! – is beyond me.

Magiera surmises the extra cost of the V.I.P. tickets is all part of the school’s fundraising initiatives. So, yes, the intention is good. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a ridiculous idea! Magiera sums up this ridiculousness to a tee:

“Let’s face it, any middle school is a pit of roiling emotions and hormones, where awkwardness abounds and everyone–even the most popular kids–are struggling on some level to fit in. To figure out, even, who they want to fit in with. There are already invisible velvet ropes aplenty, segregating the popular kids, the smartest kids, the jocks. That’s why it’s so ill-considered for the school to put up a real rope, and christen any kids ‘VIPs.’ The kids have enough to worry about–their hair, their clothes, whether anyone will dance (the boys won’t if the girls don’t), who’s getting together and who’s breaking up. Whether or not they have access to the “VIP lounge” should not even be part of the equation.”

I couldn’t agree more. How about you? Would you dish out the extra dough to grant your kids V.I.P. access at their school dance? Would you decline based on morals alone?  What if “everyone else” was doing it?

(Photo: iQoncept/Shutterstock)


  1. Marcy Magiera

    May 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Hey Shawna, thanks for the shoutout. The dance went off as planned, VIP Lounge and all. The kids even had laminates (just like yours)! My son said it was pretty packed but it really did not seem like a big deal to him who was in and who was out. Some of his friends bought in, but didn’t actually spend much time inside. He did tell me, though, that if it had actually involved big bottles of Coke and scantily clad high schoolers, he would have had to trash my advice and buy in. You would love HIM, too!

    • Marcy Magiera

      June 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Hey, need to weigh in one more time here because in my previous comment I tried to make light of the dance since all seemed to turn out OK. But The Boy’s school is taking a lot of negative comments around the Web, which is the last thing I intended.
      New West is a great school with small class sizes, extremely committed teachers, creative programs and a diverse student body of kids that seem to genuinely accept one another. It is a one-of-a-kind public school, with the highest API scores in the city, and that is how I hope it would ultimately be judged, not by the isolated instance of the dance.

  2. Katie

    May 27, 2012 at 2:43 am

    I would tell my daughter that it is pathetic, really.

    How tacky. Ick. And what a wonderful way to cause seperation and intensify rivalries in a school setting.

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