High School Institutes 'No Prom Zone'

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, Kellenberg High School (search) on Long Island is a no prom zone this year. That's because the administration has decided that some after-prom activities were so out of control in the past and did not reflect a Catholic ethic that no proms are going to be held on the premises of Kellenberg.

With us now, principal of the school, Brother Kenneth Hoagland. What exactly is the problem there? Because I mean, Kellenberg is not a wild and crazy school. It's a Catholic school. You have strict rules. What's going on?

BROTHER KENNETH HOAGLAND, PRINCIPAL, KELLENBERG MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL: It's basically the prom culture. And our students are just as susceptible to getting involved in that culture as all other students.

O'REILLY: Explain that to those of us who haven't been to a prom in 85 years.

HOAGLAND: Sure. The prom has really grown in its excesses, financially, all the after-prom activities have just gone from the evening to the weekend. And students paying close to $1,000 and up in terms of all the accessories to the prom.

O'REILLY: All right. So it's not only a dance anymore. It's a whole weekend thing. They're getting limos. They're getting expensive tuxes. Is it trying to one-up each other? Is that who can spend the most money and who can be the coolest?

HOAGLAND: Yes. It's competitive. So every year, it gets increasingly more expensive. It's competing with the year before and it's competing with their classmates.

O'REILLY: And some kids who don't — can't afford it feel slighted.

HOAGLAND: Yes. And some decide just not to go because they can't afford it.

O'REILLY: Now what's the parents? What is their role? And I know you're mad at some of the parents. What are they doing?

HOAGLAND: Well, the parents in the last couple of years have really been helping along with this hypeness of the prom. So whereas in the past, the students might have to go around — go around their parents, now the parents are providing for houses in the Hamptons, booze cruises, motel rooms. Basically they've been involved with getting...

O'REILLY: So Catholic parents — you assume most of the people who go to Kellenberg are Catholic — are setting up their kids in rented houses, and the Hamptons is a very expensive place. You're going to drop a lot of money, having parties after the prom where there's alcohol on the premises? Are you sure?

HOAGLAND: Yes. Yes. We know from...

O'REILLY: That's against the law.

HOAGLAND: Yes, it is. In fact, the South Hampton police were on this last year. And we tipped them off about the house that we found out about. And they put out a letter to all the high schools saying that they want to crack down on it.

O'REILLY: OK. It seems to me, brother, that you're hurting the kids, because a lot of kids are going to want to go to their prom. It's something you remember. It's a big event in this country.

Why don't you just concentrate on parents and say to them, if you do this, No. 1, we're going to let it be known to the police that you're doing it, as you did last year. And No. 2, we're going to call the media. We'll call O'Reilly up, and he'll put your name on television. I think that would stop it without hurting the kids.

HOAGLAND: Well, part of it is not to put the kids into that — into that whole culture.

O'REILLY: But don't you think if you intimidated the parents, and that's absolutely what you'd be doing, writing a letter home, if any parents provides any alcohol or any kind of rented place where there's any kind of shenanigans, we're going to call the cops and we're going to embarrass the parents publicly. Don't you think that would stop it?

HOAGLAND: Well, the problem is we wouldn't know about most of the cases. We just occasionally find out by accident about some of these.

O'REILLY: Do you think it's a rampant thing?

HOAGLAND: I think it's getting — every year it's getting worse and worse. And we've gotten thousands of e-mails from people after this story broke, and we just have story after story about other situations throughout the country. So it's just...

O'REILLY: Is it just that the parents want to be cool and accepted? Is that what's going on here?

HOAGLAND: I think for some parents they just really don't know how to say no. And...

O'REILLY: But they're...

HOAGLAND: ... there's confusion.

O'REILLY: It's not a matter of saying no. It's a matter of they have to go out and rent the house, pay thousands of dollars, buy the kegs, buy the booze. I mean, that's a lot of law breaking.

HOAGLAND: It is. And I think part of it is that they want to be friends rather than parents.

O'REILLY: Yes, I mean, I think that's the idiot parents. All right. I would try the intimidation factor first. Because I think a lot of kids are going to be disappointed. I would try that. If it didn't work then maybe I'd do what you did.

Appreciate you coming in, Brother. Thank you very much.

HOAGLAND: Thank you.

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