Merits and Demerits

from Apr 30, 2019 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

Here’s an excerpt from Merits and Demerits, Lee Webb’s contribution to the April issue of Tabletalk:

Until about fifty years ago, military boarding high schools dotted the American landscape. Today, only a handful remain. I attended and graduated from one of those schools and benefited greatly from the experience. From “Reveille” to “Taps,” practically every moment of the day was scheduled with military, academic, and athletic activities. The economy of discipline was based on a system of merits and demerits. Cadets were awarded merits for good behavior and demerits for offenses such as being late for morning formation, failure to clean one’s room, or my favorite, “trifling in ranks.” If one’s demerits outnumbered his merits, he was required to march, or, as it was not-so-affectionately called, “walk the beat,” while his fellow cadets enjoyed going into town for dinner or a movie. The system was effective, however, in maintaining discipline and preparing us for life in the “real world.”

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