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Judge Says 17-Year-Old Can’t Take Married Woman to Prom

April 29, 1989

ALBURNETT, Iowa (AP) _ A 17-year-old student can’t take a 35-year-old married woman to his high school prom tonight, a judge ruled.

Judge Lynne Brady said Friday that Alburnett High School has the right to set codes of conduct for its functions unless the rules are ″so unreasonable and arbitrary that they’re illegal.″

Jayme Wessels had argued that he should be able to take anyone to the prom, including Delores Washburn, a mother of four he described as a family friend.

″They said the community wouldn’t like it,″ Wessels said following the school board’s decision last week. ″I said the community isn’t going to the prom. The juniors pay for it. It’s their night.″

Mrs. Washburn said she was disappointed in the ruling and that the school board shouldn’t have the right to ″pick and choose″ who should date whom. ″I would think it would be the family’s discretion. Who knows the children better than the family?″

Alburnett Principal Raymond Cull said Mrs. Washburn could have come as a chaperone but not as a date.

″Age has nothing to do with it,″ he said. ″Our thing was we don’t feel it is appropriate for a 17-year-old to date a married person.″

Wessels could not be reached following the decision. There was no answer at his home telephone.

He has said he and Mrs. Washburn have been friends about two years and that he often joins her family, including four children and husband of 19 years, Don, on social outings.

″She treats me as a friend and I treat her as a mother,″ he explained. Wessels’ parents are divorced. He lives with his father, and his mother lives in San Diego.

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