Creative Commons/Sean McGrath

Creative Commons/Sean McGrath

The GEM Debate:
How Old Is Too Old For Prom? (VIDEO) (POLL)

A student in Torrington, Connecticut, is fighting to take her boyfriend to her senior prom. Mikayla Perlotto is an 18-year-old senior whose boyfriend, Ethan Gleason, is 22. They met at a family restaurant where they are both managers.

Perlotta asked permission to bring her boyfriend to the prom. School officials said no, citing concerns about his age and his ability to provide alcohol to underage students. The student handbook does not have a rule preventing people of a certain age from attending prom, but the prom approval sheet bans people over the age of 20.

Perlotto took her case to Facebook to garner support for her cause. She and her mother also addressed the Board of Education, asking them to intervene with school officials. The superintendent plans to meet with Gleason before making a decision on whether he can attend. Gleason, a college student, says that he rarely drinks and that he wouldn’t risk his future for somebody’s few minutes of fun. He appears to be wiling to follow school policies and regulations.

The prom will take place on May 23. Perlotto says she will still go even if her boyfriend cannot.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Related: The GEM Debate: How Much Is Too Much For Prom?

I attended two proms back in the day. The second time I went—during my senior year when I was 18—my date was 20 years old and not a high school student. At the time, it never occurred to me to ask if I could bring him. I don’t remember any rules about age limits. You didn’t have to be a high school student to attend. As I recall, the only requirement seemed to be that one student in the couple needed to be a student of the school hosting the prom.

In Mikayla Perlotto’s case, I don’t think she should be allowed to take her boyfriend to the prom. She knew going in that prom guests couldn’t be over the age of 20. Why should an exception be made for her? The school has reasons for the age limit. In this case, they have concerns about the ability of someone over 21 being able to supply alcohol. But there could be other reasons, too. My guess is that there will be younger students at the prom—like the 16-year-old who’s going with her senior boyfriend. I’m sure many parents wouldn’t want their 16-year-olds to be mingling with 22-year-olds.

Having said that all that, I do prefer common sense policies. I realize that an 18-year-old just might have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is 21 or over. In such cases, I wouldn’t be against a policy that allows older prom dates (and by older I mean early 20s) as long as they jump a few hurdles starting with going to the school and meeting with an administrator.


Should Mikayla Perlotto be allowed to bring her boyfriend to the prom? Why or why not? Take the poll and share your thoughts below.


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