Does your daughter go to school with the knees of her jeans torn out? Is your son sporting visible tattoos to his wrists? Does their teacher wear a shirt with a slogan or advertisement on it? Time to run a Roundup that first ran in May 1967 and was reprinted 12 years ago in 2008, just to let you know how our outlook on life has changed. I can’t remember if it started with tongue in cheek.
I suppose that it is inevitable that the day comes when school authorities feel that the dress code must be enforced. This day usually arrives well after the bounds set forth in official handbooks, notices and all have been exceeded. It also arrives about the same time the mercury goes into the high 90’s, when teachers are stricken with a malady known as Mid-May Agony, when students have a hard time staying awake in class after piling down a big lunch, and when the principal has just about had it up to here.
And so it was, this past week, that the official notice went out to high school students that:
Girls must not wear dresses more than two inches above the knees.
Boys must wear their shirt tails tucked into their trousers.
The word also went out reminding boys that T-shirts were not to be worn alone in place of a regular shirt--that is, no shirt without a collar.
Thursday, May 18, will go down in Chino High history as the day of the Great Rebellion. The boys all wore T-shirts in protest. Even some of the girls wore them. It was a smashing victory, for the order was changed to permit such shirts, as long as they either were colored, or had a pocket.
Sensing a story, the Champion sent a reporter to the scene. But not without protest.
“There’s nothing uglier than girls’ knees,” said our representative. “Do you want pictures?”
His report, when it was all over, went something like this:
The dean of girls was in the principal’s office, asking if the two inches meant from mid-knee or the highest point on the knee. She was followed by the college prep English teacher who said she had girl students who were taking the order literally and wanted to know if it was OK to wear shorts and a halter, since dresses weren’t allowed more than two inches above the knees.
Then came the director of student activities who wanted to know if T-shirts were going to be sold in the new school store, or just shirts with collars.
The dean of girls came back in and said that the girls refused to stand still for being measured. She was followed by an aghast citizen who said she had just seen a blond girl kissing a funny looking bearded character on a motorcycle across the street.
The principal told the vice principal to put out a directive that there would be no kissing on motorcycles. The citizen said the girl wasn’t on the motorcycle. “Forget it,” said the principal.
The student body president told the principal that the new dress order should have been negotiated between the students and the administration.
“All variances from the student handbook should be negotiated,” he said. “If you’d sat down and talked this over with us there would have been no trouble. We all agree that girls’ knees look ugly, particularly from the back. But since you made an issue of it, they don’t care--all they want to do is protest.”
The girls’ gym teacher came in to say that the girls were complaining because their shower towels weren’t large enough to cover them properly. The principal noted that her shorts were more than two inches above the knee, and started to reprimand her.
“Sorry, sir,” she replied, “but that’s something our teachers organization says must be negotiated.”
The dean of girls mumbled something about ugly knees. “What do you expect on gym teachers?” replied the vice principal.
Meanwhile, our representative had been making mental pictures of the coed knee situation. He also found they left a lot to be desired. About then the homemaking teacher walked in, and suggested that everybody relax.
“It’s almost summer. Let’s let it go as it is--by fall the dress material makers will realize they’re losing too much money on miniskirts, and the hemline will drop. This is one of the virtues of capitalism,” she pointed out.
“What about the shirt tails and the T-shirts?” said the vice principal. “That has to be negotiated,” said the student body president.
“So does your diploma,” reminded the principal.
Our representative learned later that the T-shirt order was a diversionary measure. It was initiated by the clever principal who was trying to take the students’ minds off the suggestion that everybody be allowed to go barefoot.