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Aug. 8, 1997

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry

School boards in and around the West Texas Desert, the state and the
nation are about to embark on yet another school year and most of them
are addressing what they consider to be a major issue with the students
in our high schools.
No this issue is not teen pregnancy, smoking dope, robbing convenience
stores or how many automatic weapons a student may store in his or her
locker. This major issue is not even winning football games.
Ways to increase the reading comprehension level or the mathematics
skills of the students are not even on the agenda. Both of those went
out about the time some demented pedagogue decided mental development
was not what high school was about and succeeded in dropping Latin and
Greek from the curriculum. That happened about the time pedagogues
decided literacy wasn't all that important.
This issue with which these school boards seem to wrestle as the first
days of the Autumn semester approaches is how the kids, who are involved
in the aforementioned oft cited situations in the schools, dress when
they are on campus. We're talking dress codes here. We're talking
hair-length and hair color and how terrible it is to wear this or that
or the other, depending upon the individual school board with which we
are concerned.
Immediately I want to say that trustees of the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote
School District have not, to my knowledge, decided to go as insane as
they have at Pecos and other cities in this regard. I am not talking
about the Monahans school board.
To continue, school boards spend an inordinate amount of time concerned
over how students dress. They always have. I recall the first time I
rang into a school dress code.
Ralph Maynard was the rebel. Now Ralph didn't know he was a rebel. It
just happened he was wearing hand-me-down overalls on which the brass
buckles that attached the galluses to the bib had long since worn away.
Ralph did want to keep up the overalls. Even though his daddy was called
Snake and sang dirty songs over at the billiard hall, Ralph did have a
sense of shame and shamed he would have been if his overalls had fallen
in an unguarded moment.
So Ralph acquired some 10-penny nails, a hammer and a pair of pliers
and fashioned those nails into replacement buckles. They were the
prettiest things the boys had ever seen. Within a week, every young man
matriculaing at that institution had bright 10-penny nails holding up
overalls and many of those overalls were new, the buckles with which
they came having been discarded and replaced with the nails. Ralph, in
his way, became a fashion leader. He also caused a meeting of the school
board which decided using nails to hold up your overalls was not
acceptable. They then proscribed nails to hold up your overalls. This
left Ralph in a major predicament because he couldn't go to school if
he couldn't use nails to secure his overalls.
So Ralph quit school. He joined the Marine Corps where they also have a
dress code. But Ralph had no problem with this one. Military services
have the perfect dress code. There are no options and besides, all their
overalls have buckles.. If there are no options, the possibility of
transgressing a dress code is slim indeed. So I suggest uniforms for
students, if there really is a problem with high school student dress,
which I doubt. White shirts, ties, dark trousers, brogans for the young
men would be perfect. Ankle-length, neck high, loose fitting woolen
dresses with sensible shoes would be appropriate for the young women.
Now maybe we can get back to Latin and Greek.

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Steve Patterson, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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