Inside his Haight-Ashbury home, Ron Jones stands in his brightly adorned kitchen, hunched over vintage newspaper clippings splayed on his colorful kitchen table. He picks up one up and laughs.
“Look! I have hair!” Jones jokes. “I can’t believe that’s me!”
Many things changed in the 50 years that have elapsed since the Third Wave, a social experiment Jones conducted in which he turned his classroom at Cubberley High School into an authoritarian regime for a week in order to demonstrate Hitler’s rise to power. (Main story about Third Wave here.)
Two years after the Third Wave, the school administration refused to tenure Jones as a teacher, supposedly for reasons unrelated to the experiment. More than 300 students and parents protested the district’s decision, which alleviated Jones’ sorrow; however, he still felt heartbroken, as it had always been his dream to be a high school teacher and basketball coach.
Jones went on to work at Mount Zion Hospital and Stanford. He late met a woman named Janet Pomeroy at a party, resulting in his next and final job at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center.
There, Jones spent 30 years teaching mentally and physically handicapped adults, in addition to coaching San Francisco’s first adult Special Olympics basketball team. Even after retirement, Jones helps out in the local community by leading youth theater and performing his own comedy and spoken word.
“I coursed my life into new things, and I am blessed for that… I have great children, great grandchildren, and that’s all that matters,” Jones says.
The Third Wave at 50 by Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee
Ron Jones: After the Wave by Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee
The Third Wave: Timeline of events by Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee
The Third Wave: Recognition in the Media by Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee
What Happens When We Accept Torture: Why the Stanford Experiment Still Matters by Julie Cornfield and Saurin Holdheim
The Details of the Stanford Experiment: What Really Happened by Julie Cornfield and Saurin Holdheim
Dear Grandma: Why Haven’t We Learned From the Past? by Noga Hurwitz