Jeff Roland: What would Mr. Jaggers have done?

Publisher Jeff Roland

If you’re like me you were shocked at the events that unfolded this past weekend at a high school football game in Ames, Iowa.

As the national anthem was played thirteen members of the marching band linked arms and walked off the field and the remainder refused to play their instruments.

The national news media reported on the incident as students protesting, “social injustice, homophobia, inequality” just to name a few.

Call me old-fashioned but I was just sickened by the whole display.  I couldn’t help but think what my Sheffield High School principal Mr. Howard Jaggers would have done had we tried to pull a stunt like these misguided kids did.

We were blessed to have a principal like Mr. Jaggers.  As the administrator, during the 80’s, he believed in order and discipline. In fact, Mr. Jaggers once told me, “Students learn a lot more when provided an environment conducive to learning,”  In other words, people following the rules, like keeping your mouth shut when the teacher is talking, etc. In fact, things I had difficulty with at times. I loved talking during class.

At the beginning of every school year, Mr. Jaggers would hold an assembly of 350-400 students in the auditorium. It was a show of force and by design let us all know who was boss. We were all cutting up back and forth fresh from summer vacation. He would pace across the stage like a panther demanding order.  Every year he would make an example of the one brave soul who continued to talk or laugh while he was talking. My friend Brack Whitfield, a defensive lineman weighing 288 and six foot four inches tall, made the cut one year. Mr. Jaggers, a black belt in Judo, jumped off the five-foot stage with true cat-like reflexes, ran out into the audience and grabbed Brack up by the shirt. Saying, ” I’ll show you,” You could have heard a pin drop.

No one was hurt but maybe our pride at not being able to do what we wanted to do when we wanted.

Well in actuality Mr. Jaggers showed us all that day how the school would run from day to day. Brack may have got detention hall for the unauthorized talking, I don’t remember but we all made a mental note that it would not be peaches and cream if you were sent to that office.

Every time I see Mr. Jaggers around town, I try to thank him for running that school with decency and order.

The principal at Ames, Iowa, reportedly told the kids to walk off the field and was clearly instrumental in the whole debacle that has cast a long shadow on that school for years to come.

It’s amazing the impact one person can make in the lives of others.

See you next week,


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