Parker High School’s 1967-68 handbook lay down the rules for students living in a universe where girls sports were limited to water ballet and ink wasn’t permitted in lockers.
Students’ lives were so different in 1968 that they might as well have lived on another planet—or in an entirely different universe.
In 50 years, it’s possible that a new crop of Parker students will find the rules for 2017-18 just as foreign.
Here’s a look at the rules now and then:
Now: Boys have 10 sports to choose from, and girls have 11. Those are the sports overseen by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. Students also can try out for poms and cheerleading.
Then: Boys had 10 sports to choose from.
The girls had water ballet. It wasn’t really even a sport. Participants couldn’t letter in it, and the girls put on “performances” instead of competing. Plans were made to have competition among different schools with a traveling trophy.
The Girls Athletic Association gave girls the chance to participate informally in softball, volleyball and basketball. The association also gave girls the chance to work with children on “grade school play days” and do secretarial work in the athletic department.
That’s not surprising, considering the WIAA’s 1967-68 official handbook had more rules for junior high boys’ competitions than for all of girls sports.
Girls didn’t go to competitions, meets or matches. They held “sports days.”
The WIAA handbook rules for girls sports included:
- Teams had to be “directed and supervised” by a woman, but a principal could authorize “a male member of the faculty to assist in instruction.”
- Sports days (competitions) “shall be conducted in such a manner so as to control spectator appeal and minimize publicity.”
- “Under no conditions shall there be organized cheering.”
- “Participants shall be removed at once from a practice or event if ill, injured or excessively fatigued, or if there is evidence of extreme emotional instability.”
- Participation during the menstrual period shall be voluntary, subject to the approval of the woman in direct charge of the group, with reference to a physician in case of uncertainty.”
Now: Clothing and jewelry promoting alcohol, drugs, tobacco products or gangs are not allowed.
Clothing items with objectionable pictures, sexual meanings and those that have negative messages about race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy or physical, mental, emotional or learning disabilities are not allowed.
Headgear, including hoods, hats and bandanas and jackets, must be kept in lockers during the day.
Crop tops, short shorts and chains are not allowed.
Then: The 1967-68 handbook opened its section on the girls dress code with the daunting line: “All of our girls are ladies.”
Blue-jeans (apparently they were hyphenated) were not allowed unless it was a “special occasion” and administration gave permission. Also, “culottes, pert skirts and beach-type shifts are considered sportswear and are not to be worn.”
The definition of a “pert” skirt was not given, so we’ll never know if the handbook meant pert as in flippant or pert as in audacious.
The rest of the girls dress code was addressed with this injunction: “The girls of Parker High School have always taken a great deal of pride in their appearance. This is an individual matter for each girl to see this high standard of personal appearance is upheld. NOTE: We do not want to jeopardize the fine attitude of the community.”
For boys, the rules contained fewer lectures but more specifics.
T-shirts are “not acceptable for school wear.”
“It is suggested that you wear wash trousers rather than heavy blue jeans,” the handbook intoned. Also, if your “wash trousers” have belt loops, you must wear a belt.
This next line was in bold and all caps: “SHIRTS WITH TAILS ARE TO BE TUCKED INTO THE TROUSERS.”
The line “Socks are to be worn at all times” was bolded but not capped, making socklessness a lesser crime than dangling shirttails.
Other handbook rules
- “No ink shall be kept in the lockers. Students who wish ink can get some from their advisers,” the handbook decreed.
And this from a school named after a pen magnate.
- Comic books were not allowed in study hall.
“All comic magazines are to be confiscated by the study hall teacher. Newspapers must be read so as not to attract the attention of other students or obstruct the view of the teachers,” the handbook stated.
In addition, “Study halls are to be dismissed by the bell, not the click of the clock.”
- The school was happy to welcome married and adult students, but “because of their added responsibilities, said students will not be permitted to hold any position of student leadership or become involved in the school’s athletic, social or co-curricular activities.”
- “Careful grooming is desirable but should always be done in private. Manicuring, combing the hair and using cosmetics in public mark one as a person of very poor taste.”
- From the rules regarding convocations: “Stamping your feet, yelling, and whistling are very poor ways to show your appreciation for a good program. Enthusiastic applause which is not overdone is much more pleasing to the performer.”
- The general introduction to school rules announced in bold and partial caps, “Rules and Regulations Do Not Enslave, They Emancipate!”
- For student drivers, “There should be no ‘horseplay’ with the use of automobiles around school. Always keep head, hands and arms inside the car.”
Also, “there is to be no driving around the school building.” It’s not clear if they mean “around” as in circling the building or “around” as in near the building.
If rules are to emancipate us, they should be clear.