6th Grade Grad Dance Gone Very Wrong

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Calash

Coastal Music Services
Hi everyone,

Had to share with all of you this story. I do a 6th grade graduation for this same school every year, and have for the past 8. I know enough that it is a new group of kids, new parents, etc. The parents spent a lengthy amount of time decorating, setting up a food table, and agreeing on a theme. This is why I am angry about everything that took place. Below is a list of some of the things they did in 2 hours.....
Took gummy worms and other candy and spilt cups of them on the cafeteria floor
Dropped cup cakes on the floor
Filled out request cards with 3/4 of the music consisting of bad context along with ill mindset (did not play them)
Approx 50 of them stood in front of the table yelling "679" over and over again towards the end of the dance
Took the decorative balloons and popped them for about a half hour
When I played a song that was written all over the request lists, all of them ran off the dance floor into the bathrooms!!!!!!!
What a bunch of contemptible little brats. When they all ran, a PTA parent came over to me and said" I don't get it, what just happened?" I told him that this was the first time any kids at a school dance did this while I was playing music, especially one written all over the request lists. Then, another parent came over to me and said "Apparently, that was their protest song". Huh? Really?
In the end, the parents were happy (at least that is what they said) that I had all the special light effects, did the dance contests, and taught a few dances. Another thing they would not stop doing was coming onto the stage even after I told them to fill out requests and leave them there for me to view. What a night. :hp15:being an older female DJ probably wasn't helping matters either. Later, Nancy from CMS
 

bb

Well-Known Member
Should of said, don't you mean 867 .... (-5309) Hey Jenny I got your number.

When they starred and said yeah, play it :)
 

NickyB

Gear and Equipment Moderator
Dances for that age bracket are really tough. Those kids listen to their music on the internet and are so ahead of anything that is released by PrimeCuts, PromoOnly, RPM or any other "legal" music service. They think because they can hear it on the net that you should have it in your collection already and just don't realize the legal ramifications behind piracy and the legal aspects of running a business. They have no sense of ethical behavior. Not just that, but they know the admins won't stand for songs with offensive and dirty lyrics BUT they'll bug the hell out of you to play them anyway just to get you in trouble. Makes me wonder what our world will be like when they have kids of their own? I'm happy to be a senior and working the 55+ communities.
 

Ausumm

Active Member
My first reaction was to blame the parents for their kids behavior.
But being the parent of kids who were that age not so long ago...I have to back off.
When my kids were in school, the "children with smartphone" era wasn't quite in full swing yet.
Hate to sound like MY parents, but "kids these days" don't have the social skills to interact with anyone but themselves and their phone.
Get a hundred of them together in a group, and the problem is amplified.
Remember, it's the ADULTS you need to impress, they're the ones who will book you again next year.
 

jodi

Active Member
Sorry for your lousy event. Parents were planning, decorating and taking pictures, I'm sure - but - where was the administration? I have a middle school I DJ for 4 times a year, and the principal does not leave the room. She walks around, and stays involved, and if any of the nonsense you described would happen on her watch, she would immediately shut it down. The kids know better than to act like animals, and everyone actually relaxes and has a blast.

My opinion - because it's 4 dances a year - the kids kind of figure it out. I actually took myself off the stage a few years back, and set up on the floor, and I encourage the kids to talk to me. They are trained to make "suggestions" ... that's what I call requests. I feel it values them, AND changes expectations.

I'm curious WHAT the protest song was?

Again - so sorry for what sounds like a very frustrating night. :-(
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
My .02 cents, culture is a top down proposition. Somehow the kids arrived there under the impression they could get away with their behavior...and probably had done so for quite some time; new Principal, new teacher, new rules, whatever. The culture was there before your arrived. Not your fault. -Z-
 

Calash

Coastal Music Services
Thanks for your feedback everyone. Jodi, I asked about the principal that night, and saw him for a nano second down back in the cafeteria. They told me he other things going on that evening. The song was Sweatshirt by Jacob Sartorius, and as I said, I never had any group of kids run away like that. DJ SteveZ, your right, and NickyB, you are spot on as well. I impressed the parents and thats what counts. I have been doing the dances for a while, and they ask the previous PTA board about the grad dance, therefore I get hired. Thanks, Nancy from CMS
 

Spincin

New Member
Hey Nancy - jumping late in the game here. Good feedback from everyone!
LOL - I feel your pain, being an older female dj myself. It does start "from the top down".
I do very few 6th-8th grade dances for exactly the reasons you described. Like you, the PTO/PTA usually hires me & from the very first conversation we have, I make them very aware of the music that I will or will not play. They are also told, in a polite way, that they cannot disappear for the entire event, leaving me to babysit the kids. And this is a throwback - I put together an actual of list of songs in a binder & tell them that this is what has been approved for play by the principal & their parents. They can select anything off of that list. Of course they will always try to push the envelope thinking that I'm "old & don't know". And there will be a few requests that are not on that list & are perfectly acceptable. Always some room for flexibility. So far, this has worked for me.
Then there's always the little clause in my contract that states that if I feel that the safety of myself or my equipment is in jeopardy I will stop playing, pack up & leave.
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
My Grad Dance/Prom Nightmare

True story, no embellishments. At the time I lived just north of NYC. My partner & I did a Sr. Prom for one of the absolute wealthiest towns in NYS's wealthiest county. It was Bronxville HS. Think old, old money. A crap-box starter home on 1/10 of an acre went for $900K in Bronxville back then (late 90s).

Anyway, the gig was at a catering facility in the most southern tip of Manhattan, right adjacent to the terminal for the Staten Island ferry. I noticed that a great number of the students were plastered. I told my partner and mentioned I was concerned. He felt that since I wasn't on duty as a counselor I should leave it alone. Made sense. At the strike of 9PM the entire student body does a Chinese fire drill and flees the building. Turns out they all made a b-line for the 9:07 Ferry, escaping their chaperones...who didn't figured it out after the ferry departed, It takes forever for the chaperones to catch on and it took me and my partner to point out the obvious that the students went on the ferry. The round trip at that time of night (off-peak) was close to somewhere between 45 to 90 minutes. The chaperones (mostly teachers) are on pins & needles the whole time. Obviously they can't "chase" the kids. Some wanted to call the police while some feared the negative repercussions of doing so given that Bronxville is such an affluent town. The kids get back relatively OK, but now are very drunk.

It would be bad enough if that was the end...The story ended up getting local TV news coverage which in turn drew in the local politicians. The county legislators ended up debating a proposal to end proms in Westchester all together. Here my partner & I are watching this unfold on TV the whole time worrying if by some negative twist of fate we'll end up known as the DJs who got Proms banned for every high school in Westchester county. The Prom ban proposal goes nowhere (typical) and ends up not happening. With all the school staff's ass-covering that followed, thank goodness no one blamed us (contrary to what we expected for "playing that rap $#!+", or some such indefinable reason). Too funny. -Z-
 
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I agree with Jodi in "training" your audience which are not the parents but the kids.

Referencing the initial account, I assume you won't be deejaying dances there ever again, because the kids are so horrible. If the kids bug me, I tell them to go ask the Principal. Enough times of "go ask the Principal" works wonders. By the way, did you stop playing "Sweatshirt" as soon as the kids left? Here's the thing, the kids did nothing to you. The kids didn't curse you down, threaten you with bodily harm or break your equipment. Bratty kids, some maybe, but that's on the administration and the parents there at the event not you.

I do a lot of dances for schools. I even put sheets down on a table for kids to make requests and many requests don't get played for obvious reasons. The School Dance Network website has been such a great help as it has songs kids really want and tells you what to avoid and gives you specific reasons for not playing songs. Specific reasons for not playing a song usually takes the thunder out of the outcry to play a song because you are respecting the kid enough to give them specifics not some generic, "I'm not going to play it because it's on some list the kid never heard about." The School Dance Network website gives me comfort and gives me ample music to be prepared for the kids and their wide variety of tastes in music. The School Dance Network website was the single best discovery for my DJ business.

By the way, if you have the download subscription of PrimeCuts you will stay pretty close with the kids requests. There will always be songs you don't have, oh well, focus on what you do have to play.

To me it sounded like you had a successful event with the lights and contests. Immediately after or days after, did you even ask your audience, the kids, if they had a good time and enjoyed what you brought to make the night the success it sounds like it was for the school. Ask the Principal or PTA if you could give some survey cards out to the kids (via teachers) to ask them if they had a good time. I really hope you do as I'm sure many of the kids enjoyed what you did that night. For school dances, pleasing parents is fine, but pleasing the audience, the kids, that's my job and that's why parents keep hiring me!
 
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Calash

Coastal Music Services
Soundmaster....I did fade out Sweatshirt after the parents left the stage, and I had a separate table where they could request music. I subscribe to POOL and had some of what they wanted, but a percentage of requests I could not play. What you said about "go ask the principal" I have pulled before. Two weeks after this dance, I did a MS dance and put out request pads. I told them that I was not going to play inappropriate music because the principal is standing across the room. At this dance, 2 kids brought alcohol and a fist fight broke out in the last 15 minutes. I looked over at the exit door, and a bunch of kids were leaving the building and we still had 1/2 hour to go. My husband came back and said " why are there a bunch of kids in the parking lot"? I went to find the principal but he was caught up with the alcohol thing, and PTO parents were not keeping a watch on the kids. I talked over this whole thing with my husband and wanted to talk to the principal after the 6th dance, but he said he thought it was not worth it. I did e-mail the PTO president the week after and said thank you for having us, and if you have any comments positive or negative, please contact us because we always like feedback. I did not hear anything....
 
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