When I went into the Peace Corps in Costa Rica to teach Physical Education to high school students I requested to be placed in the smallest town in the country that had a high school. And that’s where I was sent. So I spent two years in Palmar Norte, which is in the southern part of the country on the Pacific side. Palmar Norte was a small rural town with most people just getting by financially. On the other side of a big river, the Rio Grande de Terraba, was Palmar Sur. This was the northernmost plantation of the United Fruit Company, where they raised huge amounts of bananas. And it was far more upscale. But students from both towns and even more rural areas came to our high school.

Throughout Costa Rica K through 12 students are required to wear uniforms to school. From everyone’s standpoint this is truly a good idea. Why? Because the “have nots” can compete with the “haves.” Every family can afford two white shirts and pairs of khaki pants for their boys and two white blouses and khaki skirts for their girls. The rules further state that no marks or tags may be visible, so no students can wear designer clothes. In addition, this approach also drastically cuts down on conflicts about what one is and is not permitted to wear to school. And it also keeps the students younger longer. For example, one time our high school had a student dance where I saw many boys hanging around a girl who was wearing a low-cut dress and looking really sexy. Who is that, I thought to myself. Oh me, it’s little Leda, whom I have had in my classes for two years. But when she is in school she looked like the little young lady she was, and didn’t distract the boys. And this is a good thing. So I suggest that all schools in our country adopt this practice. It truly worked in Costa Rica, and I am certain it will work here as well!

My second-favorite play on words: What do you call an animal that has a nose and nothing else? (Don’t say “ugly,” because that would be cheating.) The answer is: “No body nose.”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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