Conflicting Rules Keep Ankeny Centennial Students From Attending Prom

ANKENY, Iowa  --  A night to remember turned into a nightmare for a group of Ankeny Centennial students.

On Saturday, Centennial High School hosted its junior and senior prom at the state's Historical Museum downtown. Senior Luke Loney says he and approximately a dozen others were turned away for not having the appropriate from of identification.

Loney says the mix-up began after multiple versions of the rules for prom admittance were sent out. The Ankeny Community School District says it sent out three emails to students, reminding them they needed their school ID card in order to be allowed into the prom venue. However, a chaperone guideline that ended up in the hands of students states students would be allowed into the dance with either a school ID card or their driver's license. Loney was turned away from the dance when he showed his driver's license and school booster card.

"It was really frustrating not getting into the dance, but it was more than that. It's the hundreds of dollars you spend on renting a tuxedo or buying a dress and then going to dinner, and just to show up there and not get let in, it was pretty disheartening."

A district spokesperson tells Channel 13 the chaperone guideline was out of date and the identification rules were recently changed. Loney says administrators then accused him of theft when he challenged the rule.

"They said the chaperone guideline was for internal purposes only, and I guess that's what they decided to explain instead of why there were differences between the set of rules," he says.

The recent rule change came as a surprise to Loney. He says for previous school dances this year, students were only required to show a driver's license or on some occasions would be let into the dance without any form of identification. While he says he learned a valuable lesson of making sure information is confirmed, he had hoped school leaders would have shown more empathy.

"They knew who we were, so that's what really was frustrating. We tried to explain that it was an honest mistake, honest mix-up, we weren't just trying to get in without it just to break the rules," Loney says.

District officials require students to check in with their school identification card for safety purposes and to ensure the students are enrolled at the school.

A chaperone said the parents of some students brought their IDs to them, and in the end approximately four people were prevented from attending.