Rejection of a Harrisburg student's prom dress drew scrutiny last spring, as did Delone Catholic High School's pre-screening of dresses.


Now, after dozens of girls were denied entrance to Delone's homecoming dance last month, the school is reviewing its dress guidelines for dances, including prom.


Parent Jennifer Joy estimates as 40 to 50 girls were initially told they couldn't enter the Oct. 17 homecoming dance.


They had the option of changing or wearing a graduation robe over their dress, and after a second look some girls were allowed in, she said. But Joy said her daughter and her friend weren't among those who ended up being allowed to enter the dance.


Katie Mahoney, Delone spokeswoman, said she doesn't have a count on how many students didn't end up being allowed into the dance. There were more than 500 students at the dance, she added.


"If a dress was not appropriate, students were offered several options," said Principal Maureen Thiec, adding that a task force is now looking at revamping the dress policy enforcement for both homecoming and prom.


"I was worried my dress was a little too short, but I didn't think they'd make us line up. I thought it was an empty threat," Rianna Joy said.


She tried to show her dress to a teacher for review in advance of the dance, as she did before prom last year, but was told they would be reviewed at the door.


"We felt the dress was modest," said her mom. Dresses were supposed to be no more than two inches above the knee, said her mom. The lace overlay on her daughter's dress was close to meeting the requirement, but the underskirt was shorter, she believes.


Rianna was particularly surprised that her friend's dress wasn't allowed in, since it had only a small cutout on the bodice. Her mom said the dress was rejected because it showed too much cleavage, which she doesn't feel was true.


"They wouldn't let us leave, and we had to call our parents. We had to sit around and watch other people around us cry," Rianna said.


Rianna said she'd prefer getting her dress approved in advance, as long as they have more notice than they did last year, which was less than two months.


Jennifer Joy said what bothers her is the "public humiliation" that occurred in what she viewed as an overzealous review of the dresses.


"It was not so much having standards is wrong, but it was done in a way that humiliated these girls who spent all day getting ready for it, parents who spent all day getting ready for it, and prior to that bought tickets," she said.


Katie Mahoney, Delone's director of enrollment and marketing, said the task force will work on a new process for following the dress guidelines.


"It is not to change the policy, but to create a way for students and administration to be 'on the same page' with expectations and implementation of the guidelines. It is possible one of the suggestions may be for a pre-approval process, but we will know more after a few meetings of the task force. As of right now, that is not being implemented for future homecomings," Mahoney said in an emailed response.


Last spring, Delone's decision to require pre-approval for prom dresses drew criticism. Rianna Joy said it was mainly because students felt they weren't given enough notice, but an online petition called the guidelines "antiquated and unreasonable."


Students at Delone can follow guidelines for either casual or formal dress for dances.