Safety came first back in the day

Dooper's Memories

Opinion: Columns

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John Stanger

When I was in grade school, the principal, the teachers, and the custodians did everything possible to keep the school safe.

Mr. Carlyon our principal at Holmes conducted safety training programs for students and teachers, including frequent fire drills and drills to use in case of an A-bomb attack. It was made clear that prevention was the responsibility of each student and all school employees, so everyone had to work together to make the school safe.

Accidents happen because people are in a rush, so the rules were to walk and not run in the halls, not crowd each other, not shove, and stay to the right when walking in the halls.

The custodians were always present, and they enforced the rule of never throwing paper or other objects on the floor where someone might slip on them and fall.

In the classrooms, the teachers told us to keep our feet out of the aisles and to keep our desk tops free of clutter. If someone threw a pencil, pen or other object at another student, he or she would have an unscheduled appointment with Mr. Carlyon.

The custodians made it a point to immediately repair any broken chairs or desks.

The gym was the place where most accidents could happen, so before we started a physical activity, we were required to warm up to loosen our muscles. The gym teachers stressed anger control because if a person lost his or her temper, a fight could occur which might cause injuries. When we had gym classes outside, the teacher would warn us about pushing a player running with a football and being alert to avoid being hit by a thrown bat or by a foul ball. We were also prohibited from sliding into a base.

When playing basketball, we were taught to avoid running into walls or crashing through closed doorways. With 25 kids in a gym class, I was amazed that there were very few accidents.

We had a very fine science lab set up in our old school. The lab was equipped with both liquid gas and dry chemical fire extinguishers, first aid equipment, and a spray for rinsing eyes. Because of strict adherence to both the lab safety rules and the teacher's instructions, no one in the class was ever injured while performing science experiments.

The art classroom was well ventilated so as to remove paint and other odors.

In the winter when snow covered the ground, the rules were strictly enforced. No snowballing was allowed on the main playground, and if a student did break this rule and hit another person with a snowball, he or she would be suspended for at least a week. Teachers supervised snowballing on the east playground from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

There a long rope tied across the middle of the field, and if a student crossed the line to throw a snowball, that person would have a one-to-one with Mr. Carlyon.

The rules were strict, but enforcement of these rules saved many students from being injured.

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