21 Aug 2014
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DUSD: No Sign of The 35 at Dance Committee Meetings

As the Dixon Unified School District attempts to revise its dance contract, none of the students who were excluded from the Junior Prom have been involved in the process.

When news that 35 students were not allowed to enter their junior prom back in late April, the town came alive with talk of The 35, a bottle of vitamin water, Principal John Barsotti, interim Superintendent Brian Dolan and calls for the school to make it up some way to the students. 

Now that school's been out for almost three weeks, and a lot of people are on vacations, working summer jobs, or just trying to move on with their lives in anticipation for the next year at Dixon High, talk of The 35 had died down.

That is, until the Vacaville Reporter published this story about a member of The 35 suing Principal Barsotti and the school district. Once again the students became the talk of the town, both out in the open world and online as well.

But for the , the gravity of the events of Promgate had not been lost. The district formed a dance contract committee and invited members of The 35 to help shape the contract and talk about ways to avoid another Promgate-like event.

"We have been working with a number of families on revising our contract and protocol for dances and making some good progress," Interim Superintendent Brian Dolan said. "We’ve met a couple of times and so we have drafted revisions with a lot of parent input to the contract and had some good discussions. With the summertime it’s a challenge to get people together at the same time, we don’t go to an off-campus event until February. So there's ample time to get this finished. We do appreciate the handful of parents who have been able to give us some good feedback though. I think it has been positive."

Dolan said that no students have so far attended one of the dance contract committee meetings, and said the committee wants to include their input as much as possible.

"The chatter has died, that doesn’t diminish the fact that we have made mistakes," Dolan said.

The chatter both on the Patch and Facebook had intensified this week when news broke out of the lawsuit against the district and Principal Barsotti filed at Solano County Superior Court, small claims court.

The mother of a Miranda Williams, a member of The 35, Melody Williams filed the lawsuit in late May seeking $7,000 in damages she said were generated from the events of Promgate.

"It is a pending legal matter so we are not going to have a lot to say about it," Dolan said. "This issue that this family has brought forward is not about the future, it's looking for compensation for the previous event."

On Dixon Patch's Facebook, Melody Williams wrote: "I understand about the budget cuts and not wanting to take money from the school but it is the principal of breaking their own contract of not offering a breathalyzer, not contacting any parents of the situation and allowing the students to roam the streets of Sacramento in the jeopardy of being mugged, raped or murdered.. How would you feel if it happened to your daughter? What would you do? Thank God she got home safe. But now she has to live with being called and labeled as one of those students..5"

Many of the comments have been in support of the Williams' family. Others have not. A court date has been set for July 2, at 1 p.m., Small Claims Court, Room 303 at the Fairfield Hall of Justice.

We will continue to follow this story at it unfolds.

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