In any other time, a lighthearted photo of teens pretending to lick one another’s faces would not warrant national headlines.
But the Nov. 7 Facebook post—in which three glittering teenage girls wear crowns, smiles, and red roses between pubescent boys blowing them kisses—is emblematic of a catastrophic divide between Americans in the middle of a pandemic.
On the same day 1,007 Americans died from the highly contagious virus ravaging the nation, parents sent their children in sashes and sequins to a massive, indoor event.
And while parents who planned massive homecoming dances in Rolla, Missouri and McDonough, Georgia were getting panned on social media and by national news sites after their events were reported on by The Daily Beast, those parties were hardly outliers.
In reality, parents all over the country were doing the very same thing.
The photo of the teens pretending to lick one another in a sunlit white gazebo was taken in Barnesville, Ohio. Wendy Corbin Stephen, 55, told The Daily Beast via Facebook messages that her grandson went to the indoor dance for Barnesville High School students with about 100 other teens—and that she was “glad he was able to attend.” The dance was themed “Footloose,” and social media posts from a Twitter account seemingly created for the event show that tickets were $10 and that event planners required parents to sign a waiver.
The evening of the dance, teens posed in crowns and homecoming court sashes. Dozens of classmates held bouquets and wore corsages, with their faces framed by ringlets, according to Instagram photos captioned “senior hoco.” Then they partied indoors, sweating and singing along to music and crowding together with confetti on the floor. None of the moms who shared Facebook photos of their kids and themselves posing at the Barnesville dance responded to requests for comment from The Daily Beast—via text, Twitter DM, Facebook messenger, or otherwise—seeking their perspective or motivations.
“Everybody cut Footloose,” one apparent mother tweeted, along with a photo of teens dancing under twinkle lights on Nov. 7. In the background, a large sign reads “Footloose.” Neither administrators at the school district nor the school principal responded to multiple requests for comments this week, but the school went to remote learning after the event. The Belmont County Health Department also did not respond to multiple inquiries.
As of Friday, there were 1,987 cumulative confirmed cases in Belmont County, which has a population of about 68,472, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The Ohio Department of Health reported 10,114 new cases on Friday alone, the fourth-highest number of daily infections since the pandemic began.
On Nov. 7, private indoor gatherings were limited to 10 or fewer people, according to an agent at the state’s COVID-19 hotline. The Footloose event’s apparent Twitter account indicated it took place at a…
Go to the news source: Teens Pretended to Lick Each Other at Barnesville, Ohio Homecoming Dance as COVI…