Assistant principal Brad Ek was not pleased. He told the Derry News, “School is more than book learning; it involves social development as well. Students need some degree of guidance.” After saying that, he added “but maybe I’m all wet, too.” Mr. Ek further rationalized that if the dress code had really “encumbered” the students then he should now expect to see a thousand names on the next term’s honor role. Headmaster Ivah Hackler simply said that the students “don’t look so good this week.” According to a Derry News reporter, the typical reaction by the PA students in 1970 was that having no dress code was “neat!”
The school’s clothing restrictions after 1970 was based on what the school viewed as reasonable and what they believed would pass the court’s muster. The academy defined proper school attire as having no holes or tears and “appropriately covered the body.” Girls could not wear pajamas or dresses that were too short — either on the top or on the bottom. Also on the forbidden list were dresses with spaghetti straps. Clothing could not have inappropriate words or pictures on them, practically if they referred to gangs, drugs or sex. Hats could not be worn in the buildings.
Rick Holmes is the official town historian of Derry. His office hours at the Municipal Center are Mondays from 8 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Several of his books on local history are available at Mack’s Apples and Derry’s libraries.