According to a police report, the April 21 prom–which had a “Lost in Pandora” theme–was held in the Manitou Springs city hall, where a crowd of students danced in a large auditorium that Saturday evening.
Officer Scott Stone, who was working a security detail at the prom, told investigators that he had spoken with Farmer and Rockey after arriving at the dance around 8 PM. He recalled that the chaperones–who were dressed in combat boots, military fatigues, and military undershirt–noted that “some of the kids were becoming disruptive and were being explicit while dancing.”
Farmer, a former school board member, reported that “she had ways to deter the behavior,” recalled Stone, who added that the woman noted she “would use Lysol spray, flashlight, or another unknown object” to deter students “from certain styles of dancing.” Both chaperones told the cop that bumping and grinding was “filthy” and “similar to what you would see on MTV.”
After Stone agreed that some dancing could get inappropriate, the women remarked that students “are dancing like they are having sex with clothes on.” The chaperones, Stone added, then expressed concerns that the dance made the girls look “trashy, dirty, and whorish.” With that, Stone ended his conversation with the chaperones and walked around the dance. Not spotting anything of concern, the cop left the auditorium (though he would periodically return “to check the area”).
As detailed by police, several teenagers told officers that the chaperones subsequently deployed the Lysol, which got into the eyes and mouths of some dancers (some of whom had to leave the prom). A female student reported the spraying to police, saying that Farmer and Rockey said that some dancers “were advertising butt sex.” The chaperones, the girl told cops, referred to her and her friends as “sluts and whores” and “dirty.”
As for the spraying, the teenager reported that “Hannah Rockey then proceeded to spray Lysol at them, which got on their clothing, mouth, and eyes. The spray caused the students to cough and leave the area.” After hearing the girl’s account, a cop “obtained several witness statements” supporting the allegations against Farmer and Rockey. [source]
It seems to me that these girls were dancing with boys, and yet they are the ones who were shamed. It’s yet another case of women are to be restrained at all times, while males can be as sexually aggressive as they like without negative commentary. These chaperones went to the dance prepared to be aggressive and this is evidenced by the clothing they chose to wear. Clearly, their language also indicates that they have internalized many negative ideas about gender. I don’t understand how these grown women thought it was okay to refer to teenage girls as sluts and whores because of their choice of dress.
In a school, I agree that there should be certain standards of behaviour but, the reaction to their supposed sexually explicit dancing should have been handled by simply asking them to stop, or to leave, not by using a noxious substance on them. Spraying them with a noxious substance rises to the level of assault in my mind and I am shocked that they were not charged.
It is not an accident that the choice of chemical was Lysol. There was a time when Lysol was marketed at women as a way to keep our genitalia clean. Nothing says clean and therefore acceptable for fucking like douching with Lysol. Lysol is a disinfectant meant to clean away germs, and thus, it’s use on young women suggests that the chaperones believed them to be dirty, just as their language implied. The chaperones meant to not only publicly shame the young women, but to mark them. If you have ever smelled Lysol, you know how strongly it smells, there can be no mistake in intent.
If I were the parent of these young women, I would be pissed. This should have been a safe environment. The entire purpose of having chaperones is to make sure that things don’t get out of hand. As is often the case in the educational system, people that face a marginalization, (in this case, it is gender) are targeted for abuse. Schools are not the safe environment that we construct them to be. If this is the kind of example that kids are given, is it any wonder that so many youths leave schools feeling traumatized?