Latin's Handbook: Then and Now

Maddie Cohen Co-Editor in Chief   Recently, Latin’s Alumni office came across a few Student Handbooks from the early 1970’s. With 1970 to 2015 covering nearly a third of Latin’s entire history, and with Student Handbooks still used as a cornerstone of school behavioral expectations today, I made it my mission to see how much has actually changed. Some things were all too familiar: disciplinary measures and homework guidelines and ACT testing dates marked on the calendar. Others proved to be not quite as timeless:   Back in the 1970’s, students were allowed to smoke on the roof or in the basement bathrooms. According to former Latin math teacher Mrs. Kritzberg, even teachers would occasionally join students on the roof to smoke:   SMOKING For health reasons, the school takes a strong position against smoking. Therefore, students in grades 9-12 are allowed to smoke only in two areas of the school: the athletic areas on the roof or the lavatories in the basement at the south end of the school. In order to smoke, students must submit written permission from their parents to the Academic Office.   Unlike the freedom we have with an open campus today, being a junior meant you could only leave the building four times a day and could only move within view of the school: SIGN-OUT PRIVILEGES Eleventh Grade – Eleventh-grade students are allowed four sign-out periods a day. They may come to school any time before their first class or other commitment. When students in grades 9, 10 and 11 leave the building on sign-out privileges, they are restricted to the following areas: Sandburg Market, Lum’s and the area along North Avenue between Clarke and LaSalle Street, their own home, and areas of Lincoln Park within view of the school.   In case you were ever home sick, the school could go into your locker and bring down your books for you: WHEN A STUDENT IS TO BE ABSENT FROM SCHOOL Books and Homework for Ill StudentsWhen it is anticipated that a student will be ill for more than one day, Middle and Upper School families may call the Academic Office and request that specific books be removed from the student’s locker and brought down to the reception desk. These books may be picked up by the family.   …and the school really made sure you were going to that doctor’s appointment…   Medical and Dental Appointments – When a student must leave school during the day to attend a medical or other appointment, a parent should write a note for him to carry to school on the given morning. The note must state:

  1. the time the student will need to leave school
  2. the time it is estimated he will return
  3. the name and address of the physician or dentist
  …and getting help from a teacher warranted a payment…   Absences Before and After Vacation – The school strongly discourages students from leaving early for vacation or returning late from vacation. Families whose needs make this imperative must contact the Headmaster directly for permission. Where such absences require extra help from a teacher, tutorial fees will be charged.   School on Wednesdays always got out an hour early, that extra time used for sports games for students and meetings for teachers:   MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL BELL SCHEDULES A special schedule has been arranged for Wednesdays so that students will be dismissed promptly at 2:30.   And the dress code, especially after its recent changes, was much more strict in the 1970’s. Boys had to steer clear of the forbidden “blue jeans” and “tie-dye,” although girls got away with wearing sandals sans socks:     DRESS CODE (1973-1974) GIRLS: Plain navy blue skirt, jumper, or culottes. Dress blouse or shirt with sleeves and collar, with tails tucked in. Jewelry and cosmetics should be simple if worn at all. BOYS: Dress shirts (shirts with collars) with tails tucked in. Ties, jackets, and sweaters are optional. Trousers of any design except “tie-dyed” and “blue jeans” may be worn. Boys in grades 1-3 may continue to wear knit collarless shirts. SHOES FOR ALL: any boots except the work variety. All canvas and leather shoes must be in good condition. Socks are to be worn. Exception – when girls are wearing sandals.   …but walking to school in the winter required a wardrobe change…   Girls who walk to school in cold weather may arrive and leave in slacks; they are to change before school begins and at the conclusion of the day.     And the next year, the girls’ dress code got revamped when Latin discovered the horror of “T-Shirts”: DRESS CODE (1974-197) GIRLS: Shirts, slacks, and dresses of any color except “tie-dyed” and those of “blue jean” material or appearance. Shirts with shirttails must be tucked in. “T-shirts,” sweat shirts, halters, and midriff blouses are considered inappropriate.   Classy, conservative dress, jeans were finally allowed to be worn once they hit the floors of fashionable department stores.     And last but not least, the 1973 version of the laptop thief: BICYCLES The risk of theft of bicycles brought to the school is exceedingly high; consequently, students are urged not to ride their bicycles to school unless there is a real need to do so.]]>