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Episode 65 - The Third Wave


The Third Wave

Ron Jones, the third wave.
Ron Jones, the teacher behind the eye-opening teaching experiment called The Third Wave.

Ron Jones 25 years old, graduated from Standford University with a MA degree

He didn’t act like other teachers, he would teach with his sleeves rolled up and no tie.

He would allow his students to address him as Ron or Mr. Jones

In the 1960s experimental teaching was on the rise and he did use some out-of-the-box methods for the time.

His classroom configuration would be different almost from day to day either in a giant circle or rows. Some days he would take them outside to teach his lessons instead of staying in a classroom.

He was well-liked among the students due to his style of teaching with you and not at you.

His teaching style was considered controversial as he would bring in guest speakers of the subjects he taught. He brought in members of the Klan, a communist, and the nazi party to speak to his classes.

He taught at Ellwood P. Cubberly High School in Palo Alto, Ca. 

Cubberly High opened in 1956 and closed in 1979 and their mascot was the Cougars.

While teaching a lesson on Nazi Germany when he was asked how the German people could claim ignorance of the slaughter of Jewish people. 

Ron Jones didn’t have an answer to this question and suggested they experiment to see

Jones would clean his classroom arrange the desks in rows and play classical music to greet his students. Students noticed that Ron Jones wasn’t his regular self which was smiling. 

With the words “Strength through Discipline” he would go on to give a lecture on the beauty of discipline. Using examples of athletes, painters, scientists, and ballerinas perfecting their craft by staying disciplined to achieve their goals.

He would explain in their experiment that if they followed what was asked of them, they would get an A, and passive members would get a C He never gave a clear answer for those who didn’t do what was asked, but students interviewed in the documentary Lesson Plan said it felt like an implied threat.

He commanded his students to sit up straight with their feet flat on the floor to show the power of discipline. Put their hand behind their back and push their spine into alignment. 

He would have them repeat this exercise over and over pointing out flaws and making improvements

He would dismiss them allowing them to leave their desks and then call them back to an attention-sitting position. He ran drills to see how fast they could silently enter the room and get to their seats repeatedly, telling them to do it smoothly and cleanly. They finished this task in 5 seconds after multiple tries. One of his students said they could do it faster.

On the second day Jones would introduce “Strength through Community”

He would also put in new rules to only address him as Mr. Jones 

Anytime they were to answer any questions they were to stand, start with Mr jones, give their answer in three words or less

Day Two

Jones anticipated his class would be back to normal but they were just sitting there as instructed to be the first day. 

Brings in strength through community using the La Raza movement as an example for “strength through community” La Raza built barns and homes together as a community and not just as individuals.

Gave them the feeling of being part of the group by chanting or whispering together. 

They would start studying together and turning in assignments as a group and not as individuals 

When answering questions the answer students had to stand up next to their desks and start with Mr. Jones and the answer would have to be three words or less.

He would then create a salute 

Arm out to your side at  90 degrees and your hand curved almost into a C to create a wave

And would be named the wave and them in CA beach lore is the third wave is the strongest and most powerful

Gave them third-wave id cards, if card had a red X they would be informants not all classes that participated in the third wave gotten cards some had the word Gestapo And they were to report back to him if they saw anyone not sticking with their community values

They were to salute each other in public or in the halls of school 

Not to gather in groups larger than two on and off campus

If you had a trusted friend maybe to bring them into the third wave

They werent allowed to talk about students being removed from the classes.

Told students he had collected their names and told the school faculty he had kicked them out

The first revolutionary Sherry Tousley

Would ask Mr. Jones why cant we just say what we think or express our opinions about the third wave. Mr jones would send her to the library for the rest of the semester. More than one student was sent to the library as the days went on.  When questioned why she was there and not in class by the librarian she was fearful to tell her why she was there. But wanting to know why she was there she would stay on the student. Figuring she has already failed the class she would go on to tell the librarian the nature of the third wave. The librarian found this shocking to be happening as she grew up in Nazi Germany and tell her you can’t take this sitting down and you have to do something about this but the student wasn’t sure what to do to make an impact in secret. 

 After going home to tell her parents about what was going on her father would take her back to school later that evening as Palo Alto being in the San Francisco Bay had open-air hallways and place posters she came up with about the third wave. The next morning all of her posters were gone. She would make posters again and place them higher up some did stay up as part members couldn't reach them and she would become known as “the breakers”

Day Three

Strength through action

Posters are being made, as flyers, and tables for the members of the third wave to try and recruit. Senior Rick Schloss would encounter a recruitment table between classes with two wave members standing behind it with a poster with “the third wave strength through unity”

Asking what they were about what they stood for etc… all they would tell him his “strength through unity”

As he stepped away the other party member produced a notebook and pencil wanting his name Rick refused and the other party member stepped in as if he is ready to fight

Fights were breaking out due to member becoming passionate about the third wave.

One remembered those fights started he thought those against them were in the wrong as they didn't understand the third wave and didn't understand it

Ole Christensen wasn’t a student of jones but seeing how the third wave was wanted to be part of it but was excluded as wave party members wouldn't give him the time of day about joining

Jones classroom was standing room only by the third day as described by the revolunatry

Juniors and seniors are now wanting to get in to the third wave 

Jones was hearing about students from other high schools wanted to join from his red x informants

Mock trials were held after the secret police informed jones there had been violators against the third wave.

Jones would call a part member by name and they would snap to attention next to their desk, jones would then relay he had seen them in the company of known revolutionaries and ask them what do they have to say about that and the class would start chanting in unison guilty. He would then give them paper work stating they are now exiled to the library until the end of the experiment and have them escorted out of class 

First Rev would pass a friend who is in the third wave who gave her the salute and as she didn't return it her friend was shocked to find out she wasn’t part of it and would not speak to her again after this 

Neel would make a joke to his best friend due to Ajax's laundry detergent slogan in the 60s being stronger than dirt.  Whereas third-wave party members would use STD for strength through discipline. Even though as friends they laughed about it but Neel was turned into Mr Jones for making the joke.  Neel would look at his friend seated in front of him, he had no smile sat at attention and neel realized he was turned in by his friend. 

One TTW member assigned himself to be mr jones body guard and followed him everywhere students would salute mr jones as he passed in the hallways and anywhere he went. The bodyguard even followed him to the teachers lounge as well

Jones was essentially kidnapped by his tech prep class he was also teaching essentially kidnapped him and put him in a dumpster and told him “We aren't letting you out until you let us be your Gestapo

DAY Four

His classroom/ TTW Hq was ransacked by poster torn down and breakers posters were put up, mr jones comes in closes the curtains, locked the doors and the car club was also acting as self appointed bodyguards.

Jone would change everything entirely this day, he would tell them this is not a game teachers across the nation were doing this as well in their classrooms in 1025 schools and they took his word as truth as the internet wasnt available to fact check him. The third wave was going to become a new political party.  

The trials were used to weed out the weak and those that were still in were the strongest to make a new political party. Jones mentions names all the big cities that are always mentioned

He would use president kennedys death as way to give the third wave a purpose as all the values and things kennedy stood for are lost

He would tell his class tomorrow a rally is going to be held and they would meet their new leader of the third wave political party. 

Some students are now realizing how dangerous this has become and are wanting to back out and not be part of the third wave. One would jump and tell them this is wrong we need to leave but nobody followed

They werent allowed to talk about how the third wave was a real political group or about the rally

One rumor had gone around about a party member who had gone to their counselor and complained about Jones and TTW and they were exiled even though just a rumor it kept them at bay from leaving or taking action

The parents of Steve Coniglio could tell something was wrong and questioned him if everything was ok but he would tell them that if they cant stay home from work try to be around a televisions around noon as the party leader of the third wave would be revealed

Day Five 

Up to 200 students filled H1 the assembly hall

News papers were taking pictures

The guards were at the doors

Mr jones in front of the assembly  and addressed them “let us show them the extent of our training” and belted out their salute of 

-Strength through discipline

-Strength through community

-Strength through action

In the front of was a television jones left the room with the tv left on static, no guards and no reporters 

Everyone staring at the screen 

As students left he turned on the lights 

The book the wave is required reading in germany to teach the dangers of fascism

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