Norwin dumps DJ, disciplines students after bra incident at dance
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 1:54 p.m.
As the last bars of Ray Charles' “Hit the Road Jack” sounded at Norwin High School during the annual homecoming dance last month, the event disc jockey turned away for a moment to talk to a chaperone.
When he looked back at the dark, crowded dance floor, he said, students were trying to throw bras over strands of Christmas lights strung from the ceiling as decorations.
“Basically, we were in shock,” said Eric Wenning, 30, owner of Pittsburgh-based Wenning Entertainment, who has been the DJ at Norwin's dances for three or four years.
“There was literally probably 10 to 20 seconds left to go before the dance was over,” he said. “ ... When the lights start coming back on, I'm learning what these people are trying to throw.”
Wenning said he did not encourage the behavior.
Norwin would not confirm details of the incident but released a statement Wednesday in response to news articles “regarding alleged student and disc jockey misbehavior” at the dance.
District administrators have investigated, and “appropriate disciplinary action was administered to students who behaved inappropriately,” according to the statement.
The school district would not say how many students were involved and what sanctions they face.
The district said, “the part of the investigation involving adult supervisors at the dance is still under review,” according to spokesman Jon Szish.
An “inappropriate and unacceptable photograph” taken after the Sept. 29 dance was posted to the DJ's private Facebook page, according to the statement. School officials demanded that it be removed, and Wenning complied.
After the dance ended and adults cleaned up, Wenning asked someone to take a picture of him holding a handful of bras and posing with a stunned look.
“That was my bad judgment call,” he said. “Because I was literally shocked.”
Because he posted the photo on his private Facebook page, he said he's not sure how the image has since become public.
“Although no video or photographs depicted students engaged in inappropriate behavior, the photo in question was an inappropriate photo of the disc jockey,” the school district's statement said.
The district said the DJ will not be invited back to school activities.
Wenning said if the incident had happened earlier in the dance, he would have stopped the music. But “the song was already finished and the dance was already over,” he said. “Hit the Road Jack” is the customary ending song at Norwin dances, he said.
He said he doesn't know who threw the bras because “it was in a dark room in the middle, center of the room.”
“These kids kind of did it smartly,” he said. “They did it when everyone was about to leave, like it was planned or something.”
Wenning said he's getting support from past clients.
“The fact of the matter is, they know me, and I would never, ever ... condone that,” he said. “ ... (It) just seems like everyone's on a witch hunt to make me a scapegoat.”
Staff writer Renatta Signorini contributed to this report. Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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