OSAKIS, Minn. - The Osakis School District is now saying that an idea to have girls submit photos of themselves wearing their chosen prom dress in order to attend the April 22 event was "merely a suggestion," not an official action.
Interim superintendent Randy Bergquist, who attended the school board's Feb. 13 meeting, said the photo requirement was a discussion item only and nothing was finalized.
"The students are not going to have to submit a photo," he said. "That doesn't make sense - it's 2017."
Bergquist, on behalf of Osakis Public Schools, issued a statement Tuesday, Feb. 21, after the district received a barrage of feedback after it was reported in newspapers.
"In an effort to prevent putting both our students and prom advisors in a difficult position on the night of prom and to prevent our students from spending hundreds of dollars on a dress inconsistent with the prom dress code, it was suggested that the prom advisor could pre-approve the dresses worn ahead of time," the statement said. "We were hoping this would ensure that no one would be denied the privilege of participating in the Grand March on the night of prom. We are not going to require any such photo prior to the prom. None of the discussion items were acted on or put into policy."
After the Feb. 13 meeting, then-superintendent Joe Broderick reviewed information in the story and didn’t suggest any changes. On Tuesday, he said the photo requirement idea was “kicked around” at the meeting and he felt the policy was a work in progress. Broderick announced in January that he would be leaving the district and he is no longer at the school.
Bobbie Jo Haakinson, the school's prom co-advisor, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Bergquist said the school board, administration and prom advisor are in the process of updating the school's prom dress code policy, which has been in place for many years, in an attempt to bring it up to contemporary standards.
The statement noted that the Osakis School District holds students to a high level of character and behavior.
"The standards that we set for our students, staff, and leadership are in fact, the very reasons that make our school special, and why our school is such a highly regarded educational community," the statement said. "We will continue to discuss and review our prom dress code policy so that our students, parents, staff, and the community of Osakis have an enjoyable experience."
Bergquist said that the board is trying to modernize the dress code. He added that the district has received a lot of calls in support of a dress code.