Safety came first back in the day

Dooper's Memories

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

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.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad