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The 1990’s Homelessness Experiment

Sometimes strange things happen around the school. Recently, it doesn’t seem like anything too strange has happened. So HSEnews decided to talk to Janet Chandler about something that happened way before all of us came to the school: An experiment to show reactions to homelessness.

“It was in the 1990’s. The teacher taught sociology,” Chandler said. “He did a demonstration to see the students reaction to homeless people.” She said before saying that the teacher no longer teaches here, and she talked about how the teacher wore a wig and brought a shopping cart.

“He wore tattered clothing.” Chandler added. “And he went outside during a fire drill.” Many students who were not in his class saw him, and some of the reactions included not meeting his eyes, avoiding him, and even made rude comments. The teacher never made it known to the school what he was doing, only revealed it to his class.

Which of course brings the discussion of how he was treated. People feared him, and treated him with disgust. They didn’t like how he looked, and in our town, and just in general, we tend to look away from things that we don’t like. The homelessness experiment showed how homeless people are ostracized from society, even though they are just people, same as all of us. Even though this took place years and years ago, we can still learn from it today. You could donate when the school has a food drive, since just because you look away doesn’t mean it’s not there.


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