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peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 07:56 PM
I am doing some personal research about the practice of swimming in the nude for swim class in public school. I was at Windermere Elementary in the early 70s and remember swimming without trunks -- the girls (in their own class) were supplied suits by the school, but the boys were not. How long was this done in Buffalo? I have read accounts that it was done at a few schools in the Buffalo area. Did they do this in middle and high school as well? (I left town right before the 6th grade, so only know that this was the practice at Windermere Elementary until I was in 5th grade -- 1973). How many people experienced this during their childhood? Was it all over Buffalo, or just at Windermere? When did they stop doing this, and was there a reason? Was any teacher ever criticized for anything inappropriate?

As an adult and parent now of children of school age, the thought of swimming nude for swim class today is unthinkable today, and most likely would be considered abusive. What were others' experiences with this in Buffalo? Is there anyone that attended Windermere elementary in the 70s that could shine some light on what the policy was when they attended?

bigpoppapuff
October 22nd, 2007, 08:32 PM
i'm pretty sure we swam naked at bennett...it didn't have a lasting effect on me...too bad it did with you...

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 08:39 PM
Where is Bennet? What years?

I'm curious about other's experience with this. Perhaps it's nothing. Thanks for the info.

bigpoppapuff
October 22nd, 2007, 08:41 PM
Where is Bennet? What years?

I'm curious about other's experience with this. Perhaps it's nothing. Thanks for the info.



main st....north buffalo....mid-60's

PAC police
October 22nd, 2007, 08:43 PM
are u gay?

HipKat
October 22nd, 2007, 08:46 PM
We did too, at Williamsville North, in the late 70's, early 80's.
I always hated it.
My gf, who is 14 yrs younger than me (29) thinks it's the most obscene thing she ever heard of, especially when you consider the crazy amounts of abuse that teachers have heaped on kids (over 2500 nationwide).

WTF was that all about, anyhow????

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 08:55 PM
Wow, that's amazing.. up until the 80s. Yeah, I think it is pretty amazing -- and the view of this certainly has changed a bit from that time. The people I've talked to about this swim class policy have all been pretty surprised that this occurred in a public school. Some people think it sounds abusive, especially since the girls got suits and we didn't. I wondered if there was any event that stopped this at some point -- like a teacher being fired for inappropriate behavior or something like that. I remember hating it also.

It seems to me that most children would be uncomfortable with nudity in this situation, just changing would have been difficult enough for some of them, but to actually do an entire class in the nude would have been really uncomfortable.

HipKat
October 22nd, 2007, 08:59 PM
HA!! Wanna talk about what would be deemed abusive now, once we were in the pool, naked and the girl's class came filing in.
They had a schedule SNAFU.
Think about how THAT would go over now

Linda_D
October 22nd, 2007, 09:00 PM
Gowanda Central had the same policy at least into the late 1970s.

It sounds like it was SOP around WNY.

Achbek1
October 22nd, 2007, 09:03 PM
Swimming Naked in Buffalo Public Schools.

Didn't Spaulding Gray have a book by that title?

Seriously though, with all the perverts out there these days as a mother I would not want my kids swimming naked around anyone. That's just gross.

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 09:37 PM
Yeah, I agree... with kids of my own, jeees, I know how hard it is for them to just do the locker room thing. I don't remember anything overt during classes -- other than the instructor asking for voluteers to do examples of the strokes. He would hold them around the waist while they demonstrated the strokes...it makes me uncomfortable to think about it today, actually.

However, I've been told that this situation is very powerful for children (in a negative way) even without overt abuse. It was required, obviously, and none of the parents objected (that I know of) which left the kids feeling kind-of abandoned. There is a shaming aspect to it. I remember that we had to line up for attendance, I remember wanting to at least jump in the pool quickly. There was one poor kid in class who would cover his crotch with his hands when he was out of the pool. We made fun of him, but inside, I know I felt uncomfortable like he did but tried to pretend it didn't matter.

And yes... I also remember the girls looking in the window... or just our fear of them looking in, maybe. I think there were small windows in the door to the hallway from the pool, yikes.

sabres07
October 22nd, 2007, 09:45 PM
I attended Clarence schools and the boys definately swam naked in the junior high school (7th and 8th grades) in early 80's.

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 09:53 PM
Is anybody else amazed by this? I thought initially that it would have been some archaic practice from the past, but to think it continued into the 80s is really a surprise to me. What would be the rationale for this -- I can buy the "it doesn't matter" "builds character" type of attitude from the 50 into the 60, and early 70s, but with awareness of sexual abuse, and lawsuits, it really surprises me this continued into the 80s. It also surprises me that it was done up until freshman year in high school. I know certainly that the grade school kids wouldn't complain, but the students didn't complain about it as they got older? That is a surprise to me.

Achbek1
October 22nd, 2007, 10:07 PM
Maybe the school districts were just too cheap to buy suits?

Seriously though, my brother in law took a trip to Greece and apparently in many foreign countries being naked around other people is SOP (to borrow a phrase from Linda) and they don't seem too freaked by it... However, in America we have more conservative values... Quite franky, I for one like the old conservative values and hope the we can hold onto them for as long as possible... But anyways...

I think middle and high school is the worst time to be naked around other kids and adults, of the same or opposite sex. It's adolescence, when bodies are changing and the kids are self conscious to begin with.

I too remember feeling weird and grossed out changing in the locker room when I was younger and going through puberty. It really makes things even tougher on kids, and puberty is tough enough. Some girls in high school used to also deliberately prance around in their skimpy underwear almost as if they were showing off... It was kinda sick, kind too Penthouse Forum-y. :rolleyes:

But today we now are aware of how vulnerable kids are, in all areas.

Put the suits on!

Note: Yes, I was known to walk by the gym to sneak peeks at the boys swimming team, but they had their swimming trunks and suits on! If they were naked, that'd be too much for anyone.

Eat My Gun
October 22nd, 2007, 10:13 PM
I'm convinced that the entire physical education department in the Ken-Ton School District, and perhaps school districts everywhere in the mid to late 70's, were infiltrated by NAMBLA members.

I was lucky enough to avoid naked swimming because I went to private schools, and luckier still to have dodged the pedophile priests. Most of my friends, however, weren't so lucky and, sadly, some still bear the scars.

Wasn't the rationale for naked swimming that students would swim faster? Kinda lame if you ask me.

Too bad no one filed a class action lawsuit before the statute of limitations passed.

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 10:28 PM
Were you serious about the "swim faster" comment? Somehow, I think you were... and that is amazing isn't it. What a strange reason -- certainly, we weren't in competition to be olympic athletes in grade school, in basic swim class.

And yes, I experienced this 5th grade... before puberty, which has its own bizarre-ness to it for kids, being ashamed of being undeveloped. But to do it during puberty would carry with it another entire set of issues, seems to me, equally, if not more uncomfortable.

Part of my question is: it sounds like hundreds (thousands?) of boys had this experience. Were most OK with it, and it didn't impact them? Or did the majority feel it was uncomfortable? Did it impact their lives in some way? It would be interesting to know.

I'm not expecting to find some kids of conspiracy from NAMBLA, but was there a culture of, at least, turning a blind eye to this in Buffalo? Or did most people feel it really was OK, or even, appropriate or healthy for the students... that somehow they would develop a more healthy attitude toward nakedness and sexuality? If not, how did this continue for so long -- unless people either thought it was OK, or ignored it?

HipKat
October 22nd, 2007, 10:30 PM
Is anybody else amazed by this? I thought initially that it would have been some archaic practice from the past, but to think it continued into the 80s is really a surprise to me. What would be the rationale for this -- I can buy the "it doesn't matter" "builds character" type of attitude from the 50 into the 60, and early 70s, but with awareness of sexual abuse, and lawsuits, it really surprises me this continued into the 80s. It also surprises me that it was done up until freshman year in high school. I know certainly that the grade school kids wouldn't complain, but the students didn't complain about it as they got older? That is a surprise to me.


Freshman??
Dude, in 1982, when the girls walked in on us, I was senior!!!

HipKat
October 22nd, 2007, 10:31 PM
Maybe the school districts were just too cheap to buy suits?

Seriously though, my brother in law took a trip to Greece and apparently in many foreign countries being naked around other people is SOP (to borrow a phrase from Linda) and they don't seem too freaked by it... However, in America we have more conservative values... Quite franky, I for one like the old conservative values and hope the we can hold onto them for as long as possible... But anyways...

I think middle and high school is the worst time to be naked around other kids and adults, of the same or opposite sex. It's adolescence, when bodies are changing and the kids are self conscious to begin with.

I too remember feeling weird and grossed out changing in the locker room when I was younger and going through puberty. It really makes things even tougher on kids, and puberty is tough enough. Some girls in high school used to also deliberately prance around in their skimpy underwear almost as if they were showing off... It was kinda sick, kind too Penthouse Forum-y. :rolleyes:

But today we now are aware of how vulnerable kids are, in all areas.

Put the suits on!

Note: Yes, I was known to walk by the gym to sneak peeks at the boys swimming team, but they had their swimming trunks and suits on! If they were naked, that'd be too much for anyone.


There's a difference between the swim teams and swin class in P.E.

peter832
October 22nd, 2007, 10:38 PM
Hipkat...

A senior? Wow. I suppose by then, everyone was used to it? What was your sense? Did most people hate it, or did it not matter? You had much more awareness of what was going on than I did in 5th grade. Did you think the teachers were OK? Were they cool/healthy about it, or creepy? I remember feeling pretty creeped out by one of the teachers in grade school, which is significant, I think, since I don't remember much from grade school at all.

Achbek1
October 22nd, 2007, 10:43 PM
Okay, I've held back saying this but I can't resist...

I gotta make the joke...

But.. It might be too trashy...

I was gonna make a joke about a certain kinda hair clogging up the drain pipes!

That alone is reason enough for suits.

Ewwww!

HipKat
October 22nd, 2007, 10:45 PM
I went to school in Williamsville, where most guys were all about showing each other up to be the biggest, fastest, etc. I hated it, and avoided swimming at all costs.
By then, you could "voluntarily" wear a suit, but you'd get picked on for it by everyone, including the a-hole gym teacher.
I was in a class full of bullies.
As a matter of fact, my class was so lame, we've never had a class reuinion, in 25 years!

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 12:27 AM
The "optional" suit detail is certainly interesting. Of course, it seems to me that this is another shaming aspect of the experience...if students weren't comfortable (which I still think was probably many in the class), and it would seem to me that also it fosters the attitude of macho-ness -- "nothing bothers me" and "you are a whimp if it does".

Actually... if you were serious, that the TEACHER made fun of students for wearing a suit if they were uncomfortable, that is undoubtedly abuse. And only those who would claim that this is not the case, would believe in the doctrine that making fun of people "makes them stronger... more manly." In my opinion, that's surely not true, and just creates a whole new generation of men who can't feel anything.

But then again, maybe all the other guys didn't sweat it at all. That's my question.

Dr Funky
October 23rd, 2007, 02:00 AM
so thats why all the priests stopped teaching gym classes after the 70's ended...........

Trolls_r_us
October 23rd, 2007, 02:14 PM
this actually happened?

AND it was common?

Did nobody used to own swimsuits?

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 04:25 PM
One of the reasons that I started this thread to find out how many schools did this and how long.

It appears that Amherst, Williamsville, Kenmore-Tonawanda Schools all did this from Elementary through at least middle school -- one person said it was "optional" in high school. But that students were ashamed to wear a suit, because they would be teased. It also appears that they did this up until the early 80s.

If anyone has anymore information on this it would be helpful to know schools and dates where this was the practice, and any thoughts on it -- whether or not you felt that it was uncomfortable, or OK for you.

I would really like to find out anyone who knows why they stopped doing it. Was it merely change of teacher, or was it an event, or parent or student complaint that stopped it.

When I did it at Windermere elementary in the early 70s, it wasn't optional, everyone went without a suit, it didn't matter if you had one at home!

CSense
October 23rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
Went to a private school that had no pool. Sorry, I wasn't psychologically scared.

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
I just read that in YMCAs around the country (according to one article from Seattle) the boys and men did not wear suits until the 70s -- and this in a mixed age class. In my experience in Buffalo in the early 70s, the teachers did wear suits. This is a private organization though, not a public school, and I wasn't aware of this, because I never went to the Y when I was a kid.

Again this raises some interesting questions for Buffalo. If the YMCA changed their policy in the 70s, why did Buffalo schools continue until the 80s? It would seem that a public school might be ahead of the curve of change and not behind it for this type of social issue.

CSense
October 23rd, 2007, 05:05 PM
Never at the Y's either, we'll not until I was a jr. camp counselor but never got near a pool.

Deerhunter
October 23rd, 2007, 05:18 PM
I was in Jamaica and saw naked people on the beach, in the towns, walking along side the road. Both native and tourists. Look at the National Geographic, are all those people scarred for life ? It does seem like a gay practice(kids swimming naked together), but it is all over, hasn't happen in 20 yrs.

CSense
October 23rd, 2007, 05:21 PM
I was in Jamaica and saw naked people on the beach, in the towns, walking along side the road. Both native and tourists. Look at the National Geographic, are all those people scarred for life ? It does seem like a gay practice(kids swimming naked together), but it is all over, hasn't happen in 20 yrs.

Where in Jamaica? What kind of tourists? Who's your travel agent? Dude, you holding out?

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 05:38 PM
I don't believe that just seeing a naked body would necessarily scar anyone. This thread was started to find out more information about how widespread the policy was in Buffalo and for how long it was practiced. As perhaps thousands of people went through the system, I was interested in what other people thought of it. I have mentioned swimming naked in grade school to some people who were surprised that this happened in a public school, but have since discovered through wikipedia that this might have been more common. I was trying to find out how many public schools around the country did it this way, and when they shifted.

Achbek1
October 23rd, 2007, 05:39 PM
Call me a prudish American but I have no desire to see the dangling giblets of men other than my husband.

Deerhunter
October 23rd, 2007, 05:44 PM
nice place. Ocho Rios, for the town, walking right on the road.

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 06:01 PM
It seems to me that public school physical education swim class in Buffalo NY is different -- is much different than nudity in general -- in other countries, other situations. I don't feel that nudity is in any way wrong or weird, or that it harms people. But children need to feel that they can either participate or not -- that if they are not comfortable with nakedness, they are not strange or weird. In some hot springs Oregon where it is "clothing optional" people wear suits or not as they are comfortable. My children didn't care up until they were a certain age, and then they wanted to wear suits. What would be wrong or abusive --- would be to say --- "what's wrong with you?" and to make fun of them. It is a very delicate time in the development of children. It is the circumstance that can be abusive. In the case of swim class for P.E. nudity was required, and not something optional. In my experience, many young people are very uncomfortable with nudity -- especially around friends or adults.

sabres07
October 23rd, 2007, 06:45 PM
Like I said before, Clarence schools in the early 80's still had the boys swimming naked (at least 7th and 8th grade).

If I recall, I think the reason given to us was that the teachers were afraid that alot of wet swim suits would be left to mildew and rot in the gym lockers which would cause an unimaginable stench. At least that is how I remeber it....

Shasta13
October 23rd, 2007, 07:18 PM
If I recall, I think the reason given to us was that the teachers were afraid that alot of wet swim suits would be left to mildew and rot in the gym lockers which would cause an unimaginable stench. At least that is how I remeber it....

Maryvale did it too. I don't know when it stopped. But the stinky swimsuit thing makes no sense since we girls wore suits (our own, not supplied by the school). Many times the smell in the locker room would knock a buzzard off a poop wagon because of swimsuits fermenting in someone's locker. :eek:

Eat My Gun
October 23rd, 2007, 09:53 PM
I was at Windermere Elementary in the early 70s and remember swimming without trunks -- the girls (in their own class) were supplied suits by the school, but the boys were not.

I still don't know what's worse, being forced to swim naked or being forced to wear a school provided bathing suit used by God-knows how many other kids.

Eat My Gun
October 23rd, 2007, 10:02 PM
The rationale certainly was that students would swim faster naked, at least in Ken-Ton. In fact, in the Kenmore day camp, run by the Ken-Ton school district in the mid to late 70's, a swimmer could not earn his gold swimming badge (the highest swimming award) unless he swam naked.

Also, a certain instructor, we'll call him Mr. S., would berate the boys who didn't want to swim naked.

I remember talking with my dad about it. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard. He told me to tell Mr. S. I wasn't going to swim naked and if there was a problem with that, Mr. S. could call my dad and explain to him why he wanted me to do so.

I relayed the message. Mr S. left me alone after that. That was my first, and last year at Kenmore day camp.

Never got a gold swim badge, but Mr. S. never got to visually fondle me either.

peter832
October 23rd, 2007, 11:24 PM
Wow. That seems pretty amazing to me. So it seems that they allowed suits -- if you complained, but that you were shamed for using one. That seems pretty clearly abusive to me.

At least your dad backed you up. With me, I was younger, and didn't feel I could complain -- didn't even consider it. I was in 5th grade. I don't know if the parents ever complained. I don't think mine did.

I just had another memory of Windermere Elementary... I remember that we had some sort of health screening... and had to line up in our underwear, and walk on paths of newspaper... in the gym. What was that about? What would that have been? Do they do health screening these days -- en mass?

NoCtUrNaL
October 23rd, 2007, 11:45 PM
The rationale certainly was that students would swim faster naked, at least in Ken-Ton. In fact, in the Kenmore day camp, run by the Ken-Ton school district in the mid to late 70's, a swimmer could not earn his gold swimming badge (the highest swimming award) unless he swam naked.

I would think "freeballing it" would create drag. Or were you expected to use your joint as a rudder?

NoCtUrNaL
October 23rd, 2007, 11:51 PM
BTW....you can add the West Seneca School district to that exercise of exhibitionism.

therising
October 24th, 2007, 12:01 AM
It does seem like a gay practice(kids swimming naked together), but it is all over, hasn't happen in 20 yrs.

For some reason, it seems that, up until the 80's, gayness could be right in your face, and you wouldn't even realize it...I mean, for some reason, no one ever knew that these guys were gay :)
http://www.amarall.blogger.com.br/village%20people.jpg
http://www.nndb.com/people/776/000027695/liberace-LotImg15176.jpg
http://phpbb.loercks.net/phpBB/local/bilder/freddie-mercury.jpg
http://www.ticketservice.com/assets/images/judas_priest2.jpg
http://www.superlyrics.com/image/large/kGRU0hxOVA/Elton_John_-_Greatest_Hits.jpg

But, people started catching on in the 80's:
http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/MMPH/263463~Boy-George-Posters.jpg
http://www.artist-biography.info/artist_pictures/leonardo_da_vinci.jpg

buffy
October 24th, 2007, 12:28 AM
HA!! Wanna talk about what would be deemed abusive now, once we were in the pool, naked and the girl's class came filing in.
They had a schedule SNAFU.
Think about how THAT would go over now
Oh, that happened at Bennett in the early 70's.
Boys swam naked if they forgot their suits. It was tough getting out of swim. I remember because I got an "F" I refused to get in the water 1st period

Trolls_r_us
October 24th, 2007, 01:56 PM
"you will swim faster naked"

Ahh, the rationale of a pedophile!

Trolls_r_us
October 24th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Now that I think of it, though, when I was in college in the Adirondacks, I did cook for one summer at an all boys summer camp for rich kids from NYC, and every so often the kids (lead by the counselors) did what they called a "duke dip" which meant everyone jumped into lake Champlain naked for an afternoon swim....

It was a "tradition" going way back to the start of camp. Apparently swimming naked in a group has some roots everywhere.

But, I always thought that was odd.... imagine being some unsuspecting boater going by!

LOL

peter832
October 24th, 2007, 02:18 PM
I still think that jumping in the lake during summer camp with everyone is different than PE class in public school. Summer camp antics sound like fun -- and optional. It would be one thing if the couselor said, "OK, now everyone, take off all of your clothes and line up because now is swim-in-the-lake-naked-time" which, I think is not the way it probably happened. I bet there were those who opted out. Also, I imagine, some made a quick dash for the water! PE swim class where you line up and stand there naked while they take attendance still seems humiliating to me. What does everyone else think?

Trolls_r_us
October 24th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Peter,

I agree that PE class is worse. Plus, the summer camp is a different vibe, as you said.

Although.... it WAS a religious summer camp..... (Catholic)

:eek:

Sock Puppet
October 24th, 2007, 02:44 PM
My father swam naked at Bennett during the 50's. The swim teacher was suspected of being a perv.

peter832
October 24th, 2007, 07:05 PM
Do you mean that the teacher was actually charged with anything? If that were the case, it is amazing that if that happened in the 50s that nobody thought about the situation... and it wasn't changed until the 80s.

This is pretty amazing to me. Anyone else surprised by this?

I was wondering if there were any accusations with the teachers at my school. It does seem like the perfect job for a pedophile. Anyone who complains, gets the "what's the matter, is something wrong with YOU?" deal. Even if nothing overt happened, I believe that children are very intuitive beings, and they pick up stuff. It could be a very scary atmosphere for a child if an adult is sending out certain vibes. I remember being pretty creeped out by one of my swim teachers, and not at all by the other.

HipKat
October 24th, 2007, 09:26 PM
There's a difference between skinny dipping in lake champlain and being forced to do it 3 times a week in school, under the watchful eye of a middle-aged balding gym teacher..