October 1969

Beards suddenly popular on faculty at Maine South

   Are beards suddenly everywhere, or do they just seem to be? Actually only three Maine South teachers have them.
   Mr. Daniel Silkowski, English teacher, was the first of the bearded trio to experiment with the fashion. On June 26, 1968, Mr. Silkowski attended a convention for Advanced Placement English teachers in San Francisco. About half the male teachers there, he said, had beards. When he returned home, he decided to grow a beard himself.
   "I think it enhances my personal appearance," Mr. Silkowski remarked. Also, he feels it establishes a "certain social distance" between himself and his students.
Mr. Leo Skinner, also of the English department, returned to South with a beard this September. "I really don't know why I grew it ... At the time I thought more lumberjack than hippie," he commented. Mr. Skinner explained that he feels he "looks good with it," but at the same time has "mixed feelings."
   Third of the trio is Mr. William Lange, biology teacher. Mr. Lange grew his beard during the summer, while living in Chicago. He felt that the atmosphere of the neighborhood encouraged him to experiment with a beard. He stated that the beard is "no reflection of any internal beliefs or attitudes."
   Each of the teachers remarked that he encountered some "good-natured ribbing" upon first returning with his beard. All commented that they would probably keep their beards, for a while at least.
   "Some people think it's unprofessional," noted Mr. Lange. No one from the school has suggested to any of these teachers that they shave their beards off....
   Students have expressed various opinions. "Some kids say, 'Teachers do it, so we can too,' that's wrong." One student said that students should be allowed to grow beards because teachers do it.
   Said Mr. Lange, "Judgment of a person should not be on external appearances. A person is a person no matter how beautiful or ugly he is."