Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Did Cutting Foot Loose At Prom Cost Tyler Frost The Opportunity To Graduate With His Class?


Every body cut foot loose! 17 year old Tyler Frost is a real life star of Foot Loose! Tyler is a student at Heritage Christian School, a fundamentalist Baptist school, that forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding and kissing. He was told by the school that he would be suspended if he takes his girlfriend to her public high school prom. Well, Tyler took his girl friend to the Findlay High School prom this past Saturday despite the threat of suspension. Now Tyler is suspended and can't participate in graduation ceremonies.

Senior Tyler Frost does not regret taking his girlfriend to her prom. Frost knew the consequences and made a grown up decision to attend the prom. Tyler appeared on CBS this morning and made a good impression on his audience. He believes that the schools rules should not apply on a weekend at facilities not affiliated with his private school. His principal disagrees and therefore Tyler's step dad, Stephan Johnson, is looking into litigation.


Heritage Christian School is in northwest Ohio. Tyler signed a written pledge to follow the school's rules (a statement of cooperation) at the beginning of the year. Principal Tim England apparently believes the rules are to be followed even while off campus. Tyler is now suspended from classes and will receive an "incomplete" on remaining assignments. He will not be permitted to attend graduation. He will still get a diploma once he completes final exams. If Frost engaged in alcohol use or sex at the prom, the punishment would be expulsion. (There is no evidence that Tyler did anything but dance so that should not be an issue.)


What did Tyler do wrong? Findlay requires students from other schools attending the prom to get a signature from their principal. Frost complied. The principal signed the form but warned of the consequences if he attended the dance. Tyler brought the issue to a school committee who threatened suspension. The student handbook says rock music "is part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people's hearts and minds." While that may be a common belief at Heritage Christian School, Tyler seems like a good kid who weighed his consequences and made a choice.It is a choice he says that he does not regret.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Tyler made the right choice. But I do not agree with the decision to sue. He should accept the consequences of his decision.

Anonymous said...

Hard to imagine turning down an opportunity to attend a prom as a senior. Magical moments?

Anonymous said...

Kevin Bacon has nothing on this kid!

Ms Calabaza said...

We live in a great country, Tyler was able to make his own decision. He must now pay the consequences. As much as I personally disagree with the school's teachings, they have a right to their own rules. Methinks Tyler should consider a state college in the future. Private schools have a right to enforce their own regulations.

Mr. Noface said...

I agree with Ms. Calabaza, this private school had every right to hold to their rules and it appears that Tyler was well aware of the potential consequences well before he attended his girlfriends prom. I am, however, curious as to the language of the agreement that Tyler signed (in order to attend the school) and whether it could be interpreted to include prohibition of activites during the weekends at a facility not associated with Heritage Christian School. Either way, I applaud him for his very mature decision.

P.S. I chose you for a blog award.

Anonymous said...

Tyler is a dancing machine!

Anonymous said...

Tyler made a choice. Now live by it. Forget any law suit!

Diane said...

The school may have a right to its own rules, but legally, this school, particularly if it accepts school vouchers, has a responsibility to the student to allow him to graduate according to Ohio state law for compulsory education since he has fulfilled what he needs to do according to curriculum standards. If the principal was so into enforcing the rules, then he should not have signed the release that Tyler's girlfriend's school required to allow Tyler to attend the dance. Why'd he sign a release letting the kid go? Seems a little odd to me-seems like implied consent if you get right down to it.

Ed H said...

I do not believe the school has a right to ban legal activities outside of and off campus from school. If the contract did not specify that it covers activities outside of school, I think it is an easy suit. If the contract does specify it, I think the contract can and should be found to be invalid on constitutional grounds. It is different if the student did something illegal - but this was not the case, and the fact that a threat was made while signing the permision slip does not make it enforceable, as that would be duress in my opinion, not enforceable under contract law.

Anonymous said...

Frost got one cold reception.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ed H. Because it wasn't illegal, on school grounds, or during school hours, no matter what the contract says, the school does not have a right to suspend him for this. Plus, the principal signed the permission slip, which pretty much implied that he could go. Tyler Frost should have a strong case if he sues.

Anonymous said...

Except, when the principal signed the slip he told him he would be suspended if he went...