Lely High senior, others barred from prom when they arrived late - POLL

Would you have barred some Lely High School students from prom because they were late?

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Jaquanda Pugh, a senior at Lely High School, said she was only a half-hour late to her prom, but was denied access at the door because of her tardiness. Greg Kahn/Staff

Photo by GREG KAHN

Jaquanda Pugh, a senior at Lely High School, said she was only a half-hour late to her prom, but was denied access at the door because of her tardiness. Greg Kahn/Staff

Jaquanda Pugh considered skipping her senior prom.

Although she had dreamed of capping off her high school days by showing up to the Naples Beach Hotel in a shiny SUV surrounded by friends, the 17-year-old Lely senior knew the night would be costly.

After encouragement from her grandparents, Pugh — who had been voted to the prom court by her classmates, and was in the running to be prom queen — decided to go. Her family dropped $800 on two tickets, a high-end rental SUV and a new dress.

Now, more than a week later, all Pugh has to show for prom is a stack of glossy photos — shots her grandmother took of her modeling the new dress in their Naples Manor home.

“She wanted to rent a (Cadillac) Escalade, and that was her dream, so that’s what we did,” her grandmother, Laverne Pugh said.

That dream turned sour after Lely High School Principal Ken Fairbanks didn’t allow Pugh and her friends into the event after arriving 40 minutes late to the May 21 prom.

“They said ‘you guys are too late,’” Pugh said while thumbing through the photos. “They said, ‘we’re not letting you in.’ I thought they were kidding.”

They weren’t.

Pugh said she and a group of a dozen to 15 other students arrived after 8 p.m. and were turned away.

“When students signed up for the prom they received an information form/sheet containing the rules and regulations,” Fairbanks said in a statement. “It said, right at the top, that students ‘must arrive by 7:30 p.m.’ because dinner was to be served by the Naples Beach Hotel at that time. Each student signed the form.”

Fairbanks said school administrators closed the doors at 7:45 p.m.

“Some students arrived after 8 p.m. and they were turned away and not allowed to attend the prom,” Fairbanks said. “During the entire week prior to the prom, announcements were made on the morning news on the school’s closed circuit TV channel reminding students that they must arrive by 7:30 p.m., and reminding them that if they don’t arrive in time they will not get in.”

Her party arrived around 8:10 p.m., she said.

“I never heard from anyone that we wouldn’t be able to come in late,” Pugh said.

Pugh, a varsity basketball player with a 3.8 grade point average, said she plans to attend graduation ceremonies June 3. But she will always look back on her high school years and think about missed opportunities.

“I felt like a prom would have been a reward for working hard,” said Pugh, who plans to study nursing at Florida A&M. “I’ll never have a senior prom again. I won’t have a story to tell my kids when they ask me what my prom was like.”

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Comments » 24

marcogolf writes:

The rules were in writing and they were aware of the schedule. They didn't follow the rules. Too bad. Tough life lesson...follow the rules or there's a consequence.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Petty Dictators in their small worlds.
Dont you know pushing around 17 year olds makes these guys seem powerful.
Very much like zero tolerance, they cant be trusted with judgement calls.

Sad but true.

marcoonmymind writes:

The prom is supposed to be an event for the students. I am all for following the rules, but come on . . . this is a little extreme. Why not just let them eat cold food??? They had already ordered tickets and paid for the event, they should be allowed in. I agree with OldMarcoMan, this is a bit petty (and that is coming from a teacher).

captnjimbo writes:

Kind of a shame and I disagree with turning them away...but I would bet no one will be late next year.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Rules , smules. If it had been a rich white kid I bet nothing would have been said.
If Fairbanks wants to show a little leadership he would refund the money that those 18 kids paid.
$400.00 a piece to be turned away at the door.
18 students , wow, thats a lot of people who didn't get the word about the time and the lockout ! Not even mentioning thats $7,200.00 they paid for a dinner they didn't get to eat.
Maybe next year the school will learn from ITS mistakes and get a better deal on the whole thing.
Im still floored by $400.00 a head for Dinner, Dancing, and no Bar. No wonder the schools are in such financial trouble.

Ian_Curtis writes:

Oldman,
I believe the $800 was what she spent for the night, not what the Prom ticket cost for dinner and the dance. I believe it was $60-80 per person for the prom ticket. Still ridiculous for the hotels to charge these kids that much for a chicken dinner and DJ.

waterday writes:

@ OldMarcoMan.. maybe you were a rich white kid, but most of the Marco kids attending Lely High School are not. I applaud Mr. Fairbanks, he did the right thing, and enforced a rule. Odd how 18 kids did not understand this rule? my senior understood it just fine.. perhaps if Lely would quit bending rules for the needy, they would not have thought that they were entitled to break the rules. So when the rules were enforced CORRECTLY.. they run to the newspaper crying? This story is laughable.. maybe they will be at graduation on time? This is a great lesson, but unfortunately it is not the norm, and many usually do have rules bent and feel entitled. We live on Marco, not the Manor.. and we would never rent our children a expensive rental car like a Cadillac Esaclade to show up at prom.. nor did my kid's entire dress (shoes, jewelry, etc.) cost more than $200 bucks. My kid would show up in the many years old and dinged up car they own, or they would not be attending. The rules are the rules, and I wish they were enforced more often, so that these kids do not feel entitled with the attitude that everyone needs to cater to them. I applaud Mr. Fairbanks, he is the greatest asset of Lely High School.

RayPray writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Petty Dictators in their small worlds.
Dont you know pushing around 17 year olds makes these guys seem powerful.
Very much like zero tolerance, they cant be trusted with judgement calls.

Sad but true.

100% on target!

How unfortunate that all about us we encounter such sandbox Stalins, with soft bellies and thinning hair, who know no other way to validate their dwindling significance than by dreaming up such blowhard policies against vulnerable kids.

Ruger writes:

They signed the form and were warned all week.

We need to hold our kids accountable for their misbehavior's.

Even if the entitlement groups think this honor student-athlete should be immune!

They didn't listen!!

marcoonmymind writes:

I am very rarely included in what you call "the entitlement group" (some of you sound a little angry over what should be a simple discussion among adults), but I feel there should be sound reasons for rules. I make my own daughter follow the rules, no matter what the reason behind them, but that doesn't mean I agree with rules that have no purpose. I have NEVER heard of a prom where kids HAD to arrive at a certain time or they would not be allowed in. I am just curious as to the reason behind the rule. Does anyone know why they had to arrive at a certain time (I know many of you will say it doesn't matter what the reason, but I disagree and would like to know)?

Ruger writes:

Well the article was quite clear marcoonmymind, many reminders during the week and they even had to sign the form. Sounds to me like they have had problems in the past with this issue. Question, would you trust this gal to be your nurse if you know she was going to be over 30 minutes late to your operation?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

The school administration had every right and is obligated to enforce the rules that were set up for the safety of everyone involved. Get it, safety of everyone involved!!!

If the kids involved couldn't/didn't read what they agreed to and signed anyway, it was their own fault and the results that followed were totally in line.

marcoonmymind writes:

I guess I question the rule more than the enforcement of the rule. Obviously, many of you disagree with my questioning of this rule which is perfectly fine. That is the great thing about this country - we are able to have and share our opinions freely. I DO abide by rules and make my students (and my child at home) do the same. However, I never have a rule without having a very good reason behind the rule. Once you make a rule, you have to enforce it - I am just not sure this rule should have been in place to begin with. Once again, let me argue that this was a prom set in place FOR THE STUDENTS.

Have you ever heard of a required start time for prom??? I asked my niece (just graduated) and she said she had never heard of such a thing. MANY people came late to her prom, no one was asked to leave and there were no safety issues.

Finally, of course I would not want a nurse that showed up late to work, but (and I know this is a difficult one to grasp) this is not work. This is a prom that should be fun for all students, as long as they are not doing anything dangerous or inappropriate. My point . . . The rule doesn't seem to serve a valid point and should not have been made in the first place.

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"It is called R-U-L-E-S!"

1. To a kid, the prom can mean everything.

2. To the world at large, it has almost zero importance.

Considering these two realities, in this case you forget the rules not to ruin the kid's high school experience.

>>> Most of the pipsqueak Mussolini's on this blog are way too rigidly senile even for Social Security!

Northerner writes:

Ruger, no one will have to worry about this young lady being their nurse, because she won't make it a week in nursing school if she can't make it to class on time. Nursing school has very strict rules right down to the length of your finger nails. Tardiness is never tolerated, especially for clinicals. Hopefully this has taught her a valuable lesson.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Didn't you know that it is "always someone else's fault" whenever kids like this get into trouble. I will bet that their parents professed to the same type of shenanigans when they were being buddy, buddy with them. The fruit does not fall far from the foot of the tree.

No wonder they "think" that they do not have to obey the rules like everyone else.

u2cane writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Petty Dictators in their small worlds.
Dont you know pushing around 17 year olds makes these guys seem powerful.
Very much like zero tolerance, they cant be trusted with judgement calls.

Sad but true.

No, its more like teaching the responsibility and that there are consequences for their actions. If you can't follow the rules, then you must live with the consequences. It is actually pretty easy, millions of people are able to follow the rules every day. Why does society think they can not follow the rules and still get what they want?

u2cane writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Rules , smules. If it had been a rich white kid I bet nothing would have been said.
If Fairbanks wants to show a little leadership he would refund the money that those 18 kids paid.
$400.00 a piece to be turned away at the door.
18 students , wow, thats a lot of people who didn't get the word about the time and the lockout ! Not even mentioning thats $7,200.00 they paid for a dinner they didn't get to eat.
Maybe next year the school will learn from ITS mistakes and get a better deal on the whole thing.
Im still floored by $400.00 a head for Dinner, Dancing, and no Bar. No wonder the schools are in such financial trouble.

You must have colored outside the lines as a child.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What are we asking the RULES oh small minded one?

This is very simple. You were told that if you are late, you won't be let in. They gave you an extra 15 minutes and you couldn't even be there by then. Why should one feel sorry for someone who can't follow the rules?

ba10da69 writes:

in response to marcoonmymind:

I am very rarely included in what you call "the entitlement group" (some of you sound a little angry over what should be a simple discussion among adults), but I feel there should be sound reasons for rules. I make my own daughter follow the rules, no matter what the reason behind them, but that doesn't mean I agree with rules that have no purpose. I have NEVER heard of a prom where kids HAD to arrive at a certain time or they would not be allowed in. I am just curious as to the reason behind the rule. Does anyone know why they had to arrive at a certain time (I know many of you will say it doesn't matter what the reason, but I disagree and would like to know)?

PRE-PROM PARTY'S THATS WHY

Marconian writes:

I heard this story was laughable and it is.....But I feel bad for the kids that was jacked out of their prom and money. funny principle wants to preach rules and punish 18 senior grads and not allow them to attend under the veil of those are the rules!

Last I checked since we are talking about rules lets talk about laws mr. principle nobody seems to want to answer this question but how many illegals attend your school and why were they not allowed to the prom due to a lack of citizenship....hmmmm wish someone would look in to that.

liberator100 writes:

There you go again Uwe. Another anti-American remark.
Who died and made you an expert on Americans. If you don't like it here, go back to motherland. Your ticket is on me.
And to all of you foolish liberals defending the indefensible. Wake up! This has nothing to do with being a dictator, or being a poor kid, or being white, black or green! It has everything to do with learning that if you want to get ahead in this world, you better learn to obey the rules. Being 10 minutes late could have been excused, but 45 minutes?
The rule applied equally to all attendees, not just to this "I don't give a blasted about the rules" person. Thank you Mr. Fairbanks. Enforce the rules!

marcoonmymind writes:

liberator100 - Interesting that you think you know the bloggers on this site, but know NOTHING (at least about me). I am not a liberal and cannot stand the liberal point of view on MOST topics. I am a strong republican that believes heavily in conservative values, rules and procedure. I also care deeply for young people and think that making foolish rules that have no meaning is pointless. I am also not narrow-minded enough to believe that a child that shows up late to prom is going to show up late to work years later. If someone were to tell me that my nurse was once late for prom, I would think they had lost their mind and I would realize that this has NOTHING to do with their professionalism years later. I would hope most grownups would be able to make this same distinction.

RayPray writes:

in response to liberator100:

There you go again Uwe. Another anti-American remark.
Who died and made you an expert on Americans. If you don't like it here, go back to motherland. Your ticket is on me.
And to all of you foolish liberals defending the indefensible. Wake up! This has nothing to do with being a dictator, or being a poor kid, or being white, black or green! It has everything to do with learning that if you want to get ahead in this world, you better learn to obey the rules. Being 10 minutes late could have been excused, but 45 minutes?
The rule applied equally to all attendees, not just to this "I don't give a blasted about the rules" person. Thank you Mr. Fairbanks. Enforce the rules!

"Another anti-American remark."

Who died and made a midget Mussolini like you you the judge for American values?

This is a racist attack on a decent student.

We know who you are.

You, Island_ignoramus, and both your cynosure Obama should be deported back to Kenya where you will be very happy....

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