In 9th grade, my chumash teacher was the school principal. She was also the one that gave "workshop." Workshop was a "class" that met once a week. It was a "class" that was created for freshman, to help them in-getting settled in. As a freshman, I had to take that class. (not that it mattered, I thought it was rather fun). The first day of workshop, we went around the classroom and introduced ourselves.
After we introduced ourselves, the principal starting welcoming us into the school, and then she gave an even more cordial welcome to the girls who came from different elementary schools. Because she recognized me, and knew I had come from PS, she asked me "what is the one thing that you miss most from Public School?" Of course, it was only a week into the school year, so other than the fact that now I had to wear a uniform, there really wasn't a major difference, so I didn't really begin to miss anything, but I had to answer, and so I told the truth "I miss the boy's talking back to the teachers." She started cracking up, and I looked around the room, and I saw some of my new friends all tense. I couldn't figure out why, maybe they were nervous she'd call on them?
It wasn't until the next day that I realized why they were so tense...apparently, it was because I mentioned boys. What did i know? I had no idea it was some sort of taboo to speak about the other gender. News of the 'event' that took place in workshop, spread throughout the kiruv program I was in (wasn't to hard, only about 15 girls from the entire school, and we all had Hebrew classes together). They, unlike myself, did not come straight from public school, but came from other "kiruv" schools, and apparently knew the etiquette of what not to say. One girl started freaking out, and said "I'd NEVER mention boys in class, especially infront of HER (referring to principal)." You see, I had NO idea that I said anything wrong, and I still had no idea why they were freaking out. Why would it be wrong to mention boys?
Anyway, my class members weren't nice enough to explain to me that I wasn't supposed to mention boys because it WAS taboo, and you were considered "slutty" if you spoke to them. It took me about 6 months to realize why what I said was wrong. And, even to this day, I can't figure out what the big deal was, considering the principal started laughing!
I don't understand why they don't allow us to talk to boys. I mean, if it weren't such a taboo, half the girls wouldn't be so curious about them. They'd feel comfortable speaking to their brothers friends, or their neighbors. Lately the frum divorce rate has been rising, while theirs simulataneously a shidduch "crisis." Would there be a high divorce rate if we had the opportunity to really figure out for ourselves what we wanted, as opposed to have our parents and teachers TELL us what we want? I understand "things" can happen, but with proper education and self-respect, nothing would. maybe an occassional lapse in shomer negia, but the speakers the schools bring in, would guilt the girl out of every doing it again. And if those speakers DON'T guilt her, she's a lost cause, and probably would not have been so shomer even if she weren't allowed to talk to the guys.
Anyway, a bit off topic, after I slowly started realizing what I can and cannot admit in this new school, I started remembering other things I did, that weren't so 'good'. Like the first day of our music class, the teacher asked us to write down what our favorite songs and bands were. And I, wrote the truth. I wrote "98 degrees" and "o-town" and then "My Everything" and "Baby I would." Imagine how much trouble I would have been in had I NOT been from Public School?