Connecticut prom age dispute: How old is too old?

A Connecticut teen says her school is forbidding her 21-year-old date from attending prom with her. How old is too old to attend prom?

Screenshot from WFSB report
This screenshot shows high school senior Mikayla Perlotto, 18, with her boyfriend, Ethan Gleason, 21. School officials have expressed concerned over the age of Mr. Gleason, based on his ability to secure alcohol for underage students.

School officials in the small city of Torrington, Conn. are trying to answer an age-old question: How old is too old for the prom?

Torrington High School senior Mikayla Perlotto, 18, wants to bring her 21-year-old boyfriend to next month's prom. But officials at her school said no because of concerns that he is of legal drinking age and capable of supplying alcohol to minors.

Ms. Perlotto and her mother, Donna, took their case to the local Board of Education on Wednesday night, urging members to allow her boyfriend, Ethan Gleason, to attend the prom. He'll turn 22 before the event.

Perlotto already has a $400 prom dress, and she's facing a May 1 deadline to buy two, $70 tickets for the prom. She says she'll attend the prom either way.

"I understand the biggest worry may be alcohol but there are also so many different ways to prove that he would never do something like that," she said in a Facebook posting Tuesday urging people to write letters of support.

While the school board took no action Wednesday, School Superintendent Cheryl Kloczko agreed to meet with Gleason before making a final decision.

"I don't have concerns with the person," Kloczko told The Register Citizen newspaper. "I just have concerns with the age. We'd like to meet the gentleman."

Gleason, a college student at Branford Hall Career Institute, said he wouldn't risk his future by providing alcohol to minors.

"Don't just judge me because of my age," he said.

He and Perlotto work together at a local burger joint and have been dating for five months, the Republican-American reported.

While school officials acknowledge there is no official prom age policy, they say they're concerned about hosting a college student at a high school function.

Donna Perlotto said she has no problems with Gleason.

"He's very kind, considerate. I have no issues with him. He's a very respectable young man," Donna Perlotto said.

Elsewhere in the state, it was reported on Friday that high-school junior Maren Sanchez died after being stabbed for allegedly turning down a fellow student as a prom date, according to the Connecticut Post. An investigation is still pending in the case, which was reported shortly after 7a.m. on Friday morning at Jonathan Law high school in Milford, Conn. The New York Daily News reports that the school was placed on immediate lockdown and that students were sent home at 9a.m.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to