Adolescent Behavior In School
Middle School is a large school and has students attending from six Putnam

County towns and two Dutchess County towns. On the average, the graduating class
has close to 500 students and the typical class has 32 students attending. The
school has two cafeterias in order to accommodate it\'s large student population,
one cafeteria to provide for fifth and sixth graders, and another for seventh
and eighth graders. Interesting enough, the different classes do not attend
lunch together, in other words, seventh and eighth graders do not attend lunch
together nor fifth and sixth graders. Again I assume this is strictly do to the
large population of this school. I entered the school at the start of the day, I
considered this to be to my advantage, therefor not standing out so much among
the huddles of people gathered outside the school building. It can be said that
the students appearances varied somewhat, but a whole it remained within a
certain unspoken code. The girls wore their hair long-shoulder length or longer,
and had it tied back in a pony-tail or very straight. Some were in skirts
(slightly above knee level)-all were either corduroy or floral material. Most of
the girls though were in jeans and hip length sweaters and wore tennis-sneakers
or the "clunky" type shoes which are all the fashion now. All the
girls I saw wore earrings, mostly the small dangling type and often they had two
holes pierced. Most of the girls wore make-up, mostly lipstick and eye-shadow,
although it was not excessive. The boys all seemed to be in clothes that were
least five sizes too big. It consisted primarily of one of these two clothing
options: extra-large sweater overlapping a thermal-type shirt, with jeans that
were just short of slipping to the ground or extra-large flannel overlapping a
thermal-type shirt, with jeans that were just short of slipping to the ground. A
close second to this dressing trend for boys was the sweater and jeans/sweater
and khakis style, although nowhere near as prominent. Nearly all of the boys
wore their hair short, most frequently with the back cut close to the nape of
the neck and the top "gelled." Some had earrings (both hoop and stud
types were observed) and many wore neclaces-either choker chain or
"hemp" styles. All of the boys seemed to be wearing sneakers of
endless varieties, and most in the one-hundred dollar range. Aside from these
primary gender fashions, there were those who differed. A few of the girls had
short hair, a few of the boys grew the top of their hair long. Some of the kids
were in clothing that seemed "out-dated" in comparison to their piers,
and even had the appearance of being passed down from an older sibling. For
example, not being in this seasons color or style. There were also those
students, primarily boys, that were in football or basketball jerseys or jackets
that sported the schools name or mascott. I did note a few girls wearing a
football jacket, incidentally with boys names on the front. It was easy to note
from these observations that generally, clothing was an outward indicator to
distinguish among the various social groups. The clothing the students wore was
an immediate indication to various social groups, being that it is a visual
observation. It can be said that this is a common factor even in the adult
world, but not once did I note a "poorly" dressed student socializing
with a student that was in an athletic jacket or a student that was
"fashion-forward." It was during the lunch period that I figured I
could make distinctions among social groups most accurately At first entering
the cafeteria, it was much as I remembered, even much like college. The
"volume" was high and immediately I noticed the groups forming, again
this is something which does extend into the later teens, and even into
adulthood, but here I was observing a much more rigid standard. There didn\'t
appear to be any casual socializing among different groups (except in one
situation which I will mention). The first group I noticed was the
"jock" group, I most likely noted them first because this was the
group that I was part of during my teenage years. All of the boys were sporting
either baseball, football, or basketball jersey and/or jacket. The girls were
all of the "cheerleader" type, many of them also wearing athletic
jackets. An interesting thing to note was that this group was tightly packed
together, even when every apparent inch of the table was