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MEMO

TO: DALLAS INDEPENDENT

SCHOOL DISTRICT

FROM: JIM ATKINSON

RE: MORALITY INSTRUCTION



I read with some alarm recently that your plans to institute “morality courses” in your schools’ curriculum have reached something of an impasse. Very sorry to hear that – I, for one, thought it a really valid idea. Furthermore, I have heard nasty talk to the effect that the entire notion of “morality instruction” is an absurd one. Well, it’s my feeling that there is nothing better than tangible evidence to quiet the howling critics. With that in mind, I’ve taken a few moments to write down some suggested courses and disciplines you might include in this new curriculum. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I hope that this bit of citizen input can be of some help to you.



CLEAN FUN, 601.

Introduction to Responsibility as Recreation. Activity-involvement sessions include going on a field trip and asking the teacher questions; running for president of the Science Club; eating lunch in the school cafeteria and sending recipe ideas back to the kitchen; volunteering for hall duty; taking the bus to school for one full week and “rapping” with the bus driver; inviting mom and dad to the Prom and staying with them most of the dance to be sure they’re having a good time; organizing a bake sale; moderating a student panel discussion on “Pep Rallies: Functions and Manifestations.”



THE BEAVER: A ROLE MODEL IDENTIFICATION STUDY.

Special seminar including weekly screenings of classic Leave It To Beaver episodes, followed by coffee-’n’-dough-nuts “raps” with Hugh Beaumont.



WHY PROFANITY? – THE EVOLVING ALTERNATIVES.

Course includes weekly sessions in language lab, in which students are encouraged to develop and articulate acceptable substitutes for traditional Anglo-Saxon “cuss” words. Emphasis will be placed on originality and usability. Lab includes impromptu “pepper drill,” in which students are confronted with real life situations (stubbed toe, flat tire, broken date) and required to respond immediately with such terms as “shoot” or “fudge” or “dadgummit” in place of more traditional epithets. Students exhibiting difficulties in the drill will receive mild shock treatment from a special device developed by the Schick Center.



THE WHITE LIE: MEANINGS AND USAGES IN MODERN SOCIETY.

Students are instructed in the philosophical implications and practical implementations of “harmless” fibbing. Testing focuses on student discrimination between so-called “white lie” and real lie. Example: “How do you like my new hairdo?” “Fine” (white lie). Example: “What are you doing out here in the hall?” “Oh, nuthin’” (real lie).



SMILING THROUGH, 701.

Special lecture series by Bobbie Wygant.

THE BAD EXAMPLE: COGNITION AND RECOGNITION.

Innovative seminar designed to instruct students in how to recognize bad examples. Instruction is centered on so-called “rotten apple” drills, in which students are “briefed” on fictional peers and required to select the “rotten apple” in the group.

Example:

1. Johnny is a sophomore footballplayer with a B average. He’s also amember of ROTC.

2. Susan is on the girl’s debate teamand serves as a junior leader of a Camp-fire Girls group in her spare time.

3. Tony is a cheerleader, president ofYAF, treasurer of the Junior ClassicalLeague, photographer for the annual staff; he has lettered in track for three years, he re-painted the gymnasium during last year’s Junior Work Week, and holds down an after-school job.

4. Janet is recording secretary of the senior class. She won last year’s Science Fair.

Identify the rotten apple. Answer: #3 – Tony takes speed.



BASIC DRIVE-IN, 206.

Introductory course in which students are exposed to moral pitfalls of the American drive-in theater. Through special psycho-dramatic techniques, students are able to observe firsthand such phenomena as “petting” (light and heavy) and “boozing.” Recommended lab materials: Bacardi rum, one pint bottle cherry sloe gin, one small spray can Binaca.



MORALITY AND THE POLITICAL PROCESS.

A limited enrollment seminar instructed by Representative Jim Collins. Congressman Collins is expected to focus on “Student Council as Political Stepping Stone,” and will probably cover such topics as voting machine malfunction, bulk mailings, and gerrymandering. However, Mr. Collins has requested that he not make any firm commitments to specific areas of study at this time.



THE FIRST DATE, 801.

Introductory course designed to familiarize students with procedure and process in first date situation, including appropriate and acceptable response method. Course features frequent “pop” quizzes employing multiple choice questioning.

Sample question: You’ve gone to pick up Nancy for a school dance. She’s running late. While you’re waiting, her dad asks you what your career interests are: You answer:

a) “Something where I can help people.”

b) “Dunno.”

c) “Something where I can make aquick killing and get the hell out of the country.”

d) “Something where I can make agood solid living, sir, you know, nothingextravagant, but enough to have a nicefamily and home like you have here,sir.”

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