The new St. Louis Park Senior High School opened in the fall of 1956. Things got off to a rough start, as the Minneapolis Star reported:
It all started…when an early-morning disk jockey [WDGY’s Herb Oscar Anderson] plugging “Oscar Socks” urged students to don knee-highs of one design left leg, contrasting design right leg. Girls responded in droves…But Principal Edward Foltmer…suppressed the fad promptly. “We’d be opposed to any distracting influence at school,” he explained with a cautious smile. “We can’t allow bizarre clothing.” A bag lunch protest last Friday, with many girls wearing black and spurning the school’s hot lunch, followed. Boys at St. Louis Park High came to the girls’ rescue. “The boys wore their shirt tails out in protest after we weren’t allowed to wear Oscar Socks,” student Elaine Smedberg said. “But the administration made ‘em pull the shirt tails in. So the boys hiked up their pants, wore them around their ribs. Then a week ago, about 15 boys peroxided their hair.” Next morning, “the kids hissed the principal and started singing ‘Chain Gang’ in school,” other girls reported.
The School’s student council came to the rescue and calmed the situation down. The PTA put a teenage dress code on its next agenda. Oh, and it wasn’t Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang;” in 1956 there was another song with that name, with two versions on the charts by Bobby Scott and Len Dresslar. Oddly (or not so oddly), the Park High Echo did not report on the incident.