Letters to the Editor … March 1970

Dear Editor:

I am writing in regard to your interview with Mr. Weitzenfeld and Glenn Swimmer.

I have been a student at Niles West for a little more than two years whereas Mr. Weitzenfeld and Glenn have only been here 6 months.

I was a student at Roosevelt for about 3 months and when I first came to Niles West it was a big change from Roosevelt.  First impressions were good but the novelty wore off.

Much of what Mr. Weitzenfeld said was true and perhaps Roosevelt can benefit from the criticism, but some things were not true.

For one thing, there is vandalism at Niles West.  Recently the auditorium was off-limits because of student vandalism.

Also the hall-problem is not non-existent.  There is a hall-problem mainly on the first floor.  However, students rarely make it up to the third floor, where the math department is located.

I disagree with Mr. Weitzenfeld on the statement that learning is emphasized in the home.  For many, it is the grades that are emphasized so that the students can enter a “name” college.

There are many pseudo-intellectuals as well as real intellectuals here.  Class ranks are considered important to the students and your “acceptance” into their group depends on your “intelligence.”

The teachers and the school system are good but the student society leaves much to much to be desired.

In a sense, Mr. Weitzenfeld is lucky that he got into a school of upper middle class white students who are essentially interested in education and do study whether they are working for a grade or not.

He has solved his own personal problem but has probably escaped the challenge of teaching where teaching is most needed.

Emi Yamaguchi


Dear Mr. Weitzenfeld:

I must disagree with you on one of the points you have made in your interview.

I resent your implication that my staff is not professional in terms of curriculum innovation.  All curriculum innovation had indeed come from within the department since I have been at Roosevelt.  This includes essential biology and PSSC Physics.

In the works for the future is an introductory physical science lab course.  We are presently engaged in an articulation program with our feeder schools.

None of these innovations came as suggestions from Downtown.

R.J. Wortman

Science Department Chair


Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter concerning your interview with Mr. Weitzenfeld and Glenn Swimmer.  I don’t think it’s fair of them to compare Roosevelt to Niles West.

Niles West is a suburban high school, so right away one  knows that their classes are smaller.  Naturally, the teacher will have more time to spend with each student.  Here at Roosevelt the classes are much larger, so the teacher will have less time to spend with the student.

Mr. Weitzenfeld said that the students at Niles West respond more than the ones here in Roosevelt.  I think this is because here, the students have so many teachers that don’t care about them.  In the teacher’s case since the student doesn’t respond he gradually cares less about his students.

Another thing which I want to comment on is classrooms and facilities.  It isn’t fair of Mr Weitzenfeld to compare our light bulbs with Niles West’s.  They get more money than Roosevelt so they of course have better facilities.

Although your article is a good one, like I said before, it isn’t fair to compare Roosevelt with a suburban high school.

Damaris Romero


Teacher blasts student irresponsibility

by Kenneth M. Krone

The discontent of youth has given rise to a 20th century “Children’s Crusade.” “Oh my, from the mouth of babes,” exclaims many a bewildered adult.  You, students of Roosevelt High, are also children of the world.

Nurtured in the bosom of hypocrisy, you can see the double standard, and you rebel, either out of conviction, or for the hell of it.

The world does truly extend beyond the walls of our school, and you are a part of it like no other generation.  Perhaps to you, school is a non-essential accessory to that big world out there, representing mostly the worst of it.

Roosevelt, like most public schools, is more or less, a replica of the society which created it.  What’s good and bad about Chicago, America, and the world is what’s good and bad with Roosevelt.

However, rather than taking on the outside world, for many of you, your school becomes the scapegoat.  You localize your anti-social behavior, and your school becomes the whipping boy on which you vent your frustrations.

This era of questioning and protesting those values and institutions that some perceive as being illegitimate and unjust, has led to a new higher level of disorganization, confusion, and indiscriminate rule-breaking. Thus, the typical quantity of instances of anti-social, unlawful, and immoral behavior is at an all time high.

You the students, have been taking advantage of the current situation by “getting away with all you can,” with little regard for the justice of your behavior.


You have been acting against people, and their institutions, but you have accepted little of the responsibility for your behavior.  Too often you have been living a “negative existence” by engaging in disruptive, anti-productive activities, later taking advantage of the resultant confusion, and accepting non of the blame for it.

I shall cite some specific examples here at Roosevelt of what I speak.  Of course, there will be disagreement as to how widespread they are.

Many of you students frequently come unprepared for class.  Typically you lack paper, pens, pencils, books, assignments, locks, gym outfits, projects, etc.  This has, in some cases taken on epidemic proportions, resulting in a poor educational environment in the classrooms.

Your day-to-day dishonesty is a shame on you.  Stealing each other belongings, cheating on tests, refusing to admit to others or yourselves the truth of a self-debasing or self-incriminating fact – your working definition of truth is “that which the involved parties can be made to accept or to believe.”  You are making wilderness into a jungle.

Harassment of Teachers

There is a widening policy of harassment of teachers – the most vulnerable of your establishment – oriented authority figures.  You have been playing off one against the other, relating to them with the minimum amount of respect, as the situation requires, ignoring deadlines for turning in forms, assignments, coursebooks, moneys, etc.

This has place a spiraling burden upon the teachers, for they must put forth an added effort on administrative trivia and follow throughs.  As a result, teaching quality inevitably declines – less innovation and more blandness.  You, therefore, rebel further by cooperating less, leading to further deterioration.  Where does the spiral end?

Put your own house in order, first.  With so much concern about “environmental violence” (pollution, etc.) let us examine our immediate situation.

Our lunchroom is truly a sore spot in our environment.  The lack of consideration for the other person’s right to dine in a state of relaxation, in a wholesome atmosphere, is being infringed upon.

The intentional spilling of food and drink – yes the wasting of our limited resources – is a despicable crime against humanity.  The fact that one-third of the world’s people are undernourished or are starving to death is not in itself a logical argument against your actions, but it does indicate a great hypocrisy in in your life style.

We gave in to your demands for autonomy in the lunchroom and you proved that you cannot accept the responsibility.

Lack of responsibility

The destruction and removal of property not belonging to you alone is every bit as selfish an act as “American Imperialism.”  If you have guilt, you have committed an act of selfish gratification.

If you have ever stolen a book, if you have intentionally destroyed a piece of school property, if you have stolen a purse or wallet, you have violated the “power to the people” principle.  You have taken the power derived from ownership, from the people, for yourself.

Class cutting, tardies, and unnecessary absences are running rampant.  But in the long run you will suffer.  Too often, instead of working to reform and improve classes – by constructive criticism, positive suggestions, continuous follow-ups, and accepting responsibilities for successful failure, you withdraw, later only to strike out in a negativistic way.

Do the rest of you commit these selfish, irresponsible acts because of some lofty reformist principle, or because of a chronic unwillingness to tackle the responsibilities of being a student?

These are some of the examples of your lack of responsibility.  Granted that not all of you are guilty on all counts.  There are considerate people at Roosevelt and to those I am indebted and humble.

Parents partly to blame

The society that is ours is mostly the handiwork of your parents and their contemporaries.  Our school (whose job it is to pass on the accumulated knowledge of our culture to you) should be of great interest to your folks.  Far too many of them, however, are not sufficiently concerned.

The exceedingly poor turnout at our open house is a symptom of their indifference.  You may or may not be getting short-changed in your education, but most of your parents will never know.  And they are the ones who can demand improvements the most readily, by virtue of their taxpayer and voter status.

If some teachers seem unqualified to teach, if some students lack textbooks, if some rules are unfair, if some courses are irrelevant, let your parents be part of the reform.  They helped to make the “mess,” they should at least wring the mop.

Administration and some faculty party to blame

In some ways, we educators can be justly blamed for some of Roosevelt’s ills.  For one thing, we tolerate much of your anti-social, anti-educational behavior without holding you accountable.

If you have committed an act defined as wrong by our existing code, you should pay the price, whether it be detentions, suspension, or whatever.  An unfair rule or practice will hopefully, not long stand the test of time.  But the power to force change must never be solely a game of power politics.

We are mistaken in being so accommodating to many of you students  When you mess up the lunchroom, you should clean it up.  When you break or deface school property, you should pay for repairs.  When you frequently come unprepared to class, you should be punished.  You should be held accountable for your actions.

Society emphasizes education

You stand to be big losers.  Our times dictate that to be a financial, social, or moral success, you must be knowledgeable.  Whatever your political belief or social philosophy, knowledge is power for you.  Learn all you can to work toward your own Utopia.

Hard-boiled institutions do not get changed overnight.  The irrelevancies of our educational matrices will take a long time to change.  The matrices themselves, a reflection of “the system,” may take far longer.  In the meantime public education, although mediocre, is not worthless, and it would be in your best interest to get what you can from it.

Whatever the individual does, he should be held responsible for this actions.  It is a privilege to be punished for what one believes in. Stand up and be counted when the chips are down.  Be strong and honest in setback as in victory.

A society which does not hold its citizens accountable for their actions, will find itself insecure, unstable, unjust and unmanageable.

You, the upcoming generation who must inherit and manage the society, must first look at yourselves – your life-styles, your attitudes, your philosophies and your day-to-day behavior.

I fear you’ll find yourselves as hypocritical and selfish as those people and institutions you oppose.  Some of you have noble ideas – why not be a living example of how people can live and work together in peace, co-operation, brotherhood and selflessness.


Letters to the Editor … Jan 1970

Dear (?) Editor:

After reading your last issue of the Review I couldn’t decide whether I should use it to wrap the garbage or read it again just for laughs.  I decided to write to you instead and find out exactly what your are trying to prove.  After devoting two pages of the paper to repetitious discussion of the student activity fee which we are all well aware of, you complain about the expensive cost of paper!  One of those articles would have been sufficient.

A good idea was mentioned in Hal Arnstein’s “CON” Sound-off.  The Review should charge a small fee to those who wish to buy it.  I’ve heard of other schools who have been doing this for years.

Now I realize (after reading your articles) that the activity fee is a waste of time and money.  I never asked for a plastic covered, color picture ID card to carry around.  I haven’t used it once (and it’s just as well ’cause it’s a terrible likeness).

As for charity, it should be up to the individual on how much he wishes to give.  And the shows – well – it’s not necessary for me to say anything – you see the reactions of the audience.  Maybe that’s why the shows aren’t as good as they could be.  With a group like that “cheering” them on why should the performers try?

That leaves 25¢ for “Misc. Expenses.” That’s more like it.  I think everyone can afford a quarter.

One thing makes me laugh (Ha-Ha).  For a “purely voluntary” fee I must say I’ve been goaded and pestered enough to make me wonder what tactics would be used if it were compulsory.

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Dear Bewitched:

We were not trying to “prove” anything by our stories on activity fees.  The purpose of our in-depth study was to (1) inform Roosevelt students as to where their money goes, (2) discover why the drive failed, (3) determine by those findings the fee’s importance and relevance to the school.

If similar dissatisfactions are found in next semester’s drive, a definite re-examination of the activity fee will have to be taken.

The answer to these questions could not be adequately discussed in a single article.  You say “we are all aware” of everything concerning the fee, and “one article would have been sufficient.”  Yet you then state “Now I realize (after reading your articles) that the activity fee is a waste of time and money.”  Obviously the study must have told you something that you didn’t know before.

Russ Hirai, Editor


Dear Editor:

The Student Council at this school is awful.  Being a representative, I find it very boring going to meetings.  Sitting at one of these meetings you find yourself listening to everyone talk at once.  The sergeant-at-arms sits up in front with his girlfriend and that’s all he does.  Chaos is not the word for these meetings.

When the attendance is taken, you’re lucky if you even see the sheet of paper.  People look up and down the attendance sheet writing obscene words next to people’s names.

The Student Council at Roosevelt is nothing to be proud of.  Something should be done to change the ways in which the Council meetings are held.

– A Student


Dear Editor:

My letter to you is not criticizing any one person, but all those whose crying complaint is “The Student Council never does anything!”

They probably don’t know when the meetings take place.  Because for them to complain so much I’d think they’d want to help our Student Council do something.  But they never show up at any meetings.

Every time it is announced in the bulletin that there is to be a meeting it also states that visitors are welcome.  The results of this are that only the representatives come.  If the complainers would use their mouths for giving ideas instead of complaining, maybe they could really help.

The Student Council is the voice of the entire student body.  That why they need more participants.  To voice an opinion they need to help.

– Barbara Heiman


Dear Editor:

I am writing to you about the dress code.  I think we should be able to wear what we want and when we want.

I don’t think we should be able to walk around the school barefoot, but I think we should be able to wear shorts, and even shorts for the boys (if they want to).

I think the boys and girls should be able to wear leather jackets and coats in class.  Does it bother the teachers any?  No, of course it doesn’t.  If the teachers just ignore it, then they would be fine.

It doesn’t bother anyone to wear shorts or jackets or to have long hair.  I think we should have freedom of the dress code and wear whatever we wish.

I do not wish to antagonize the teachers – I am just expressing my opinion.

A student 


Dear Editor: 

I think Roosevelt High School has many great advantages.  We’re allowed to wear slacks and culottes which many schools are not allowed to do.  We have a Student Grievance Board where students are allowed to take many of their problems.  If the students want they can go and see Dr. Zimmerman on Fridays.

Roosevelt also has many outside activities such as football, basketball, swim team for the boys, cheerleading, Pep Squad and language clubs.  Also this year we had a winning football team that went to play in the semi-finals.

On the whole, our school is pretty good.

A student


Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter to represent the feelings of the average and below-average student who reads the Rough Rider Review.

I feel that the majority of the students who read the Review feel that it absolutely stinks, with the exception of the sports section, which is well represented by a guy who has broad ideas on what the students would like to read.

In other words, who wants to read about grievance boards and especially those sick classified ads.  All you hear about is the students who continually send little ads to the same people and the same boring column.  That’s right – I’ve been here for four years and I still cannot give a good comment on the paper.

In all fairness, I feel that to put an end to this boredom, we should have other columns, that might have a greater interest for the average person.  Such as, how about movie critics who could give us their thoughts on the movies that we would like to see.  The ordinary critics in the newspapers today represent their points of views on a professional basis.  We don’t need that.  To correct this, we should have our own critics give their thoughts on the movies, on a teenage basis, so all of us could understand.

Well, I believe I am done giving my opinion of the Review and what I feel that we could do to have a more lively paper, instead of reading a paper as if it was reading an obituary of the school curriculum.

If this does draw any attention, I would personally offer my assistance as a movie critic for the Review.

For my lat words, I say, now, Review, get to work!

– A Student

Dear Student:

The reason that you continually hear about the same students in the Classified Ads is that the same students pay for ads.

I am sorry that you have been dissatisfied with the paper.  Any suggestions that you have for its improvement would be grealy appreciated.  We would welcome your assistance as a movie critic; however, we don’t know your name.  If you are serious about your offer, please contact Miss Strassman or myself.



Movie ratings unfair, ridiculous

by Kathy Licht

Supposedly, teenagers of today mature quickly, are knowledgeable, and have great access to education.  Yet we are patronized and turned away from some of the best movies.

“Medium Cool” and “Midnight Cowboy” rated excellent by movie critics and “X” by the Motion Picture Code Administration, are two prime examples.

The movie rating system was recently revised; movies are now placed in four categories. “G” movies like “Oliver” are for general audiences which may include your entire family.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” received an “M” rating (mature audience) although no restrictions are enforced.

The last two categories are the patronizing elements of the system.  “R” movies are restricted: you must be over 16 or accompanied by an adult guardian.  If you’re under 16, not even your grandmother can get you into an “X” rated movie.

What made 16 the critical age?  I am sure we can all name some 14-year-olds who are very mature, and just as many 20-year-olds who are hopelessly immature.

Besides, maturity isn’t taken into consideration when the friendly ticket lady insists that you pay an adult admission after your 12th birthday.

Possibly they are trying to shelter us from the harshness of the world, but there isn’t anything they can show on the screen that can’t be found in the daily newspaper, or looked up in the library.

I’m sure that many of us, even before reaching adolescence were aware of sex and violence.  There is nothing abnormal about sex or the human body.  Concealing sex only gives it an aura of mystery and sometimes forms wrong impressions in young teen minds.

The system itself is bad, but the way it is enforced makes the matter even worse.  Some theaters don’t care, some give an argument but let you in, and some are very strict.  If there is a system, it should be enforced uniformly, without exception, or the system should be abolished.

Many difficult and embarrassing situations arise from the rating system.  If you’re a 15-year old girl, your 17-year-old boyfriend cannot take you to see an “R” rated movie.  Identification poses another problem.  Most school ID cards don’t give age information and many 16-year-olds don’t drive.  Besides, how many girls do you know who carry draft cards.

If your parents enjoyed “Medium Cool” and feel you are mature enough to benefit from seeing this movie, there is no way they can take you to see it because of its “X” rating.

Of course 7-year-olds shouldn’t see a movie containing homosexual relationships, but at any rate, this decision should be left to the parents.

Movies are no more suggestive than books, and do not cultivate wild ideas in innocent minds of America’s youths.  We deserve a right to choose for ourselves.

A rating merely describing the type of movie, without placing restrictions, would be perfect.  The public would be made well aware of the elements of the film, and each individual could evaluate for himself whether or not the picture would suit him.

The job of choosing viewing material should be the responsibility of every individual, not a group of technicians.