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Friday, July 10, 2015


Talking to my high school senior son today I learned how school has changed.  There is no dress code.  You can wear jeans, shorts, or even sweatpants.  They do have to wear a shirt, but a tee shirt is just fine, sometimes even a tee shirt with a massage like “Go F Yourself.”  As long as the shirt doesn’t not mention a gun or even worse a God, most messages are just fine.

We used to have a dress code.  It may have been unwritten, but girls all wore a skirt and a blouse.  The skirt had to be no more than an inch above the knee.  Guys wore khakis, not jeans and certainly not shorts or sweats.  The shirt had to have a collar and be buttoned up.  I kind of like the idea of some dress code, I’m sure it leads to less distractions in school.  School kids and distractions do not make for a learning environment.

I remember my older children once complaining that their school did not allow “Hat Day.”  The kids had all planned on wearing hats one Friday.  I’m guessing the teachers did not want to deal with the hat stealing monkey in the middle games, hat flinging, and hat slapping that kids looking for attention often instigate.  

I think today hat wearing is allowed.

My son tells me they are now allowed to chew gum.  That was a big no-no in my day.  I never understood that one.  What harm could come from gum chewing?  Children can learn to chew without smacking.  I think the benefit of not allowing gum chewing is it gave us something to do that was wrong, but harmless. If you were caught you had to spit it out, or sometimes stick it in your nose for the rest of the class.

Generally we got away with the gum chewing.  Kids need to think they are putting something over on the teachers.  The more harmless it is the better.

We used to pass notes in class, now replaced by texting.  That was also pretty harmless, except today it may facilitate cheating.

I think some stuff we got away with simply because the teachers let us.

 During the World Series, back in the day, the games were played during the day…during the school day for crap sake!  We were mostly Yankee fans, and the Yankees played in almost every World Series in the fifties and early sixties.  Lots of kids snuck in little transistor radios the size of a pack of cigarettes.  An ear piece would be threaded through your long sleeve shirt into the palm and we listened to the game with our head resting on our hand.  No way could the teachers have figured that out, especially when half the class erupted on a Mickey Mantle home run.

I think maybe they threw us a bone on that one, probably made us behave better the rest of the year.

I think mostly we were pretty tame in school.  There may have been an occasional paper airplane thrown, or even a spitball.  In high school there was a game called physics hockey involving coins and a hole in the desk, and of course there was smoking in the boy’s room for the really bad kids.

I don’t recall much cheating on tests, sexual harassment, certainly no hot English teachers hooking up with young boys (what a horrible thought) very little fighting, never with weapons involved, and though I do remember bullying I don’t think it was as vicious as I read that it is today.

I think much of the problem today is technology makes bad behavior easier and parents don’t often support the teachers.

 It might be because they now allow gum chewing.


  1. my school days were similar to yours (except for the transistor radios and baseball games). but we were pretty well-behaved, nothing too horrible done to other students or teachers. *sigh*

  2. My high school had two instances of teachers hooking up with students and later getting married. The male teacher lost his job. The female teacher didn't!

  3. I think it's more a case of bad parenting. Kids will wear what their parents allow. There seem to be no rules these days.

    Damn gum chewers!

  4. I think the word respect should be thrown in there too. We had respect when we were growing up. I see a lot of kids that have no respect at all. For anything or anyone.

    Have a fabulous day. Great read. ☺

  5. I think it's fair to say a larger percentage of us survived high school than currently do, gum or no.

  6. Ha ha! I'm trying to picture my spinster English teacher having her way with a student, or anyone else, for that matter.
    We were lucky to even live to high school, what with the spinning merry-go-round (I just call it the vomitorium), killer see-saws, and Dodge ball in grade school. High school was a piece of cake after all that. I think the dress code was a good thing, though. Some of the clothing these days makes my hair stand on end.

  7. I think uniforms are a good thing :) I wore one from 1st to 8th grade, it sure made getting ready for school a lot easier :) I don't think I would want to be a teacher these days. Underpaid for one thing and I'm not sure how I would combat the issue of cell phones in the classroom.


  8. Once I was sent to detention for misbehaving (hard to believe but true) and I had to help the janitor scrape up gum throughout the school. Since then I'm against chewing gum in school. That's what church is for

  9. It's not that we care about them CHEWING gum. We care about what happens when they're DONE chewing gum! It's all over the floor, up under the desks, on top of the desks, stuck to somebody's book, tiny pieces flung into the hair of their peers, jammed into door locks. Kids are animals when it comes to gum.

    1. Then we have the tattlers and the private investigators and the beggars. "Little Joe is chewing gum! He's not supposed to, is he? Doesn't he have to have enough for everybody if he chews gum in here?"

      "Hey! Joe! Give me some gum! C'mon. If I had some, I'd give it to you."

      "Did you know there's gum under your desk? I think you need to find out who did it. What am I supposed to do? There's gum on my desk. It better not get on my clothes. This is a new shirt. My mom will come up here if I get gum on my shirt."

  10. All true. I often think about how "bad" we were in school, then compare it to what is considered "bad" today. Whoa! Big difference. Our bad wouldn't even rate a minor misdemeanor, where today "bad" = felony conviction. I notice you didn't mention haIr length? Back in the early days of those "degenerate" Beatles, that was the big source of friction with our elders. Today hair length won't even rate a "meh". :)

  11. I remember we had a smokers' break room when I went to high school. For the students.

    I don't think the teachers nowadays have a smokers' break room!

  12. I remember reading a statement that probably describes schools very accurately today. "The principal is afraid of the school board, the school board is afraid of the parents, the teachers are afraid of the kids, and the kids are afraid of nobody!"

  13. I think a BIG part of the problem is parents not supporting teachers and not disciplining kids at home. I mean discipline in the form of educating the child about behaviour in public and showing respect to teachers etc, not punishment which is what a lot of people think discipline means.
    We had to wear uniform in high school; primary school it was optional, but most kids had uniforms if their parents could afford them. By the time my kids went to school, it was uniforms in both primary and high schools. Still is these days.

  14. Schools here require uniforms, and you are searched before tests and made to leave all electronics in your backpack which is left at the front of the classroom until you are finished. They are trying to keep some order and minimize the chances of cheating, and it seems to help some.

  15. Love the transistor radios. Very inventive! Though it must have looked pretty strange with so many kids all resting their heads on their hands while they worked :)
    We used to pass notes in school and I remember once mine got intercepted and the teacher grabbed it and read it out loud. OMG humiliation... It was a pretty good punishment, I never did it again!