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A practice prevails to a very considerable extent among the sevoral school disiricts, of trustees' engaging with a teacher that he shall board with the parents of the children alternately. There is no au. thority for such a contract, and it cannot be enforced on the inbabitants. This compulsory boarding gives occasion to constant altercation and complaint, which often terminate in breaking up the school. The best arrangement is to give the teacher a specific sum and let him board himself But there are some districts so destitute that it may afford the inhabitants considerable relief to be permitted to board the teacher. In such cases the object can be obiained in another
way. Let the trustees contract with the teacher at a specific sum per month, or by the quarter, and they may agree with him, that if he shall be afforded satisfactory board at the house of any of the inhabitants, he shall allow whatever sum may be agreed upon per week for such board.--N. Y. Dec.
TEACHERS' CONTRACT. If a teacher's certificate is annulled, the trustees (district board) are at liberty to dismiss him, and to rescind their contract with him. They engage him as a qualitied teacher, and the moment he ceases to be so, there is a failure of the consideration for the contract. If, however, the trustees continue him to the school after notice that his certificate has been annulled, it will be regarded as such a continuance of the contract that they will not be allowed at a subsequent period to dispute it.-16.
EXEMPTION OF INDIGENT PERSONS. In the exercise of the power conferred upon the trustees, of exempting indigent inhabitants of their district from the payment of the whole, or of portions of their rate bills, the utmost liberality, compatible with justice to the district, should be indulged. Nothing can be more at variance with the benign spirit and intent of the school laws, than the compulsory distress and sale of articles of absolute necessity to an indigent family, for the purpose of satisfying the rate bill for teachers' wages. And yet cases of this kind are frequently brought to the notice of the department. Every reasonable facility should be afforded to the children of the poor, for the attainment of all the blessings and advantages of elementary instruction; and this should never be permitted to become in any degree burdensome to their parents. Where any inhabitant of the district in indigent circumstances cannot meet the rate bill for the payment of the teachers' wages, without subjecting himself to serious embarrassment, or bis family to sensible deprivation, he should promptly and cheerfully be exonerated. A just feeling of pride may reasonably be expected to preclude any from availing themselves of this exemption, unless under the pressure of absolute necessity; and occasional abuses of the privilege so accorded, are productive of less disastrous results, than & prevailing impression among the indigent inhabitants of a district, that their children can partake of the advantages of common school
education, only at a burdensome charge to themselves, and by a sacrifice of the ordinary necessities and comforts of their families. -N. Y. Dec.
As a general rule, all under the age of twenty-one years, and of a proper age to be benefitted by instruction, are entitled to admission. There must, however, be some discretion vested in the trustees, in regard to such admission. Children having infectious diseasesidiots--infants—and persons over twenty-one, may undoubtedly be excluded; and colored children, where their attendance is obnoxions to the greater portion of the patrons of the school, especially in cases where schools have been established for their separate benefit, within a reasonable distance from their residence.-16.
DISMISSAL OF SCHOLARS.
It is the duty of the trustees to co-operate with the teacher in the government of the school, and to aid him, to the extent of their power and influence, in the enforcement of reasonable and proper rules and regulations; but they have no right to dismiss a scholar, except for the strongest reasons; for example, such a degree of moral depravity as to render an association with other scholars dangerous to the latter, or such violent insubordination as to render the maintenance of discipline and order impracticable, in which case they may legally exclude him from the school
, until such period as he may consent to submit to the reasonable rules and regulations of the teacher and trustees; and if after such exclusion be persists in attending, without permission from the trustees, and contrary to their directions, he may be proceeded against as a trespasser.-—-16.
The object of the law for procuring district libraries is to diffuse information, not only, or even chiefly, among children or minors, but among adults and those who have finished common school education. The books, therefore, should be such as will be useful for circulation among the inhabitants generally. They should not be children's books, or of a juvenile character merely, or light and friv. ulous tales and remances, but works conveying solid information which will excite a thirst for knowledge, and also gratify it, as far as such a library can. Works imbued with party politics, and those of a sectarian character, or hostility to the Christian religion, should on no account be admitted; and if any are accidentally received they should be immediately removed. Still less can any district be permitted to purchase school books, such as spelling books, grammars, or any others of the description used as text book in schools. Such an application of the public money would be an utter violation of the law.
The selection of the books for the district library, is devolved by law exclusively upon the trustees, (in Michigan upon the school insepctors,) and when the importance of this most beneficial and enlightened provision for the intellectual and moral improvement of the inhabitants of the several districts, of both sexes and all condi
tions, is duly estimated, the trust here confided is one of no ordinary responsibility. In reference to such selections, but two prominent sources of embarrassment have been experienced. The one has arisen from the necessity of excluding from the libraries all works having, directly or remotely, a sectarien tendency, and the other, from that of recommending the exclusion of novels, romances and other fictitious creations of the imagination, including a large proportion of the lighter liertature of the day.
The propriety of a peremptory and uncompromising exclusion of those catch-penny, but revolting publications which cultivate the taste for the marvellous, the tragic, the horrible, and the supernatural—the lives and exploits of pirates, banditti and desperadoes of ev. ery description—is too obvious to every reflecting mind to require the slightest argument. Unless parents desire that their children should pursue the shortest and surest road to ignominy, shame and destruction-should become the ready and apt imitators, on a circun. scribed scale, of the pernicious models whic they are permitted and encouraged to study-- they will frown indignantly on every attempt to place before their immature minds, works whose invariable and only tendency is disastrous, both to the intellect and the heart.
The exclusion of works imbued to any perceptible extent with sectarianism, rests upon the great conservative principles which are at the foundation of our free institutions. Its propriety is readily conceded when applied to publications, setting forth, defending, or illustrating the peculiar tenets which distinguish any one of the numerous religious denominations of the day from the others. On this ground no controversy exists as to the line of duty. But it has been strongly argued that those "standard” theological publications which, avoiding all controverted ground, contain general expositions of Christianity--which assume only those doctrines and principles upon which all “evangelical” denominations of Christians are agreed, are not obnoxious to any reasonable censure, and ought not, upon any just principles, to be excluded from the school district library. There are two answers to this argument, either of which is conclusive. The one is, that the works in question, however exalted may be their merit, and however free from just censure, on the ground of sectarianism, are strictly theological, doctrinal or metaphysic-l; and therefore no more entitled to a place in the district library ihan works devoted to the professional elucidation of law, medicine, or any other learned professions. Their appropriate place is in the family, church or Sunday school library. The other answer is, that in every portion of our country are to be found conscientious dissenters from the most approved theological tenets of these commentators on Christianity; individuals who claim the right, either of rejecting Christianity altogether, (as the Jews.) or of so interpreting its fundamental doctrines, as to place them beyond the utmost verge of "evangeli-' cal” liberality; and this too, without in any degree subjecting themselves to any well-founded imputations upon iheir moral character as citizens and as men. The State, in the dispensation of its bounty, bas no right to trample upon the honest convictions and settled
belief of this or of any other class of its citizens, against whose demeanor, in the various relations of society, no accusation can be brought; nor can it rightfully sanction the application of any portion of those funds to which they, in common with others, have contributed, to the enforcement of theological tenets to which they cannot conscientiously subscribe. Any work, therefore, which, departing from the inculcation of those great, enduring and cardinal elements of religion and morality which are impressed upon bumanity as a part of its birthright-acknowledged by all upon whom its stamp is affi xed, however departed from in practice, and incorporated into the very essence of Christianity as its pre-eninent and distinctive principle-shall descend to a controversy respecting the subordinate or collateral details of theology, however ably sustained and numerously sanctioned, has no legitimate claim to a place in the school district library, nor can its admission be countenanced consistently with sound policy or enlightened reason.
The following general principles have been laid down in a special report on common school libraries, prepared under the direction of the department, by Henry S. Randall, Esq., County Superintendent of common schools of Cortland county, and may be regarded as the settled principles of the department in reference to this class of books:
“1. No works written professedly to uphold or attack any sect or creed in our country, claiming to be a religious one, shall be tolerated in the school libraries.
“2. Standard works on other topics shall not be excluded, because they incidentally and indirectly betray the religious opinions of their authors.
"3. Works avowedly on other topics, which abound in direct and anreserved attacks on, or defences of, the character of any religious sect; or those which hold up any religious body to contempt or execration, by singling out or bringing together only the darker parts of its history or character, shall be excluded from the school libraries.
“It is said that under the above rules, heresy and error are put on the same footing with true religion—that Protestant and Catholic, orthodox and unorthodox. Universalist, Unitarian, Jew, and even Mormon, derive the same immunity! The fact is conceded; and it is averred that each is equally entitled to it, in a government whose very constitution avows the principle of a full and indiscriminate religious toleration.
“ He who thinks it hard that he shall not be allowed to combat, through the medium of the school libraries, beliefs, the sin and error of which are as clear to him as is the light in Heaven, will bear in mind that the library at least leaves him
and his religious beliefs in 84 good a condition as it found him. If it will not propagate his tenets, it will leave them unattacked. If he is not allowed to use other men's money to purchse books to assault their religious faiths, he is not estopped from spending his own as he sees fit, in bis private, or in his Sunday school library-nor is he debarred from placing these books in the hands of all who are willing to receive them. His pon
er of morally persuading his fellow men is left unimpaired; nor will he, if he has any confidence in the recuperative energies of truth—if he believes his God will ultimately give victory to truth-ask more. In asking, or condescending to accept, the support of an earthly gov. ernment, he admits the weakness of his cause, the feebleness of his faith. He leans on another arm than that which every page in the Bible declares all-sufficient. In what age of the world has any
church entered into meretricious connection with temporal governments, and escaped unsullied from the contact? Any approximation to such connection, even in the minutest particular-any exclusive right or immunity given to one religious sect or another in the school library or elsewhere, is not only anti-religious, but anti-republican. we have the right to adopt religious creeds, and to attempt to influence others to adopt them; but as Americans, as legislators or officials dispensing privileges or immunities among American citizens, we have no right to know one religion from another. The persecuted and wandering Israelite comes here, and he finds no bar in our Daturalization laws. The members of the Roman, Greek. or English Church equally become citizens. Those adopting every hue of religious faith-every phase of heresy, take their place equally under the banner of the Republic-andro ecclesiastical power can snatch even *the least of these' from under its glorious folds. Not an hour of confinement, not the amercement of a farthing, not the deprivation of a right or liberty weighing in the estimation of a hair,' can any such power impose on any American citizen, without his own ful! and entire acquiescence.”—N. Y. Dec.
When it is considered that the foundations of education are laid during the period of youth, and that the taste for reading and study is, with rare exceptions, formed and matured at this period, if at all, the importance of furnishing an adequate supply of books, adapted to the comprehension of the immature but expanding intellect-suited to its various stages of mental growth, and calculated to lead it onward by a gradual transition, from one field of intellectual and moral culture to another, cannot fail to be appreciated.
And even if the intellectual wants of many of the inhabitants of the districts, of more mature age, are duly considered, it admits of little doubt that a due proportion of works of a more familiar and elementary character than are the mass of those generally selected, would have a tendency not only to promote, but often to create that taste for mental pursuits which leads by a rapid and sure progression to a moro extended acquaintance with the broad domains of knowledge. Those wbose circunstances and pursuits in life, have hitherto precluded any systematic investigation of literary subjects, and who, if they possessed the desire, were debarred the means of intellectual improvement now brought within their reach, can scarcely be expected to pass at once to that high appreciation of useful knowledge, which the perusal of elaborate treatise on any of the numerous branches of science or metaphysics requires; and the fact brought to view by the annual reports of the county superintendents, that by far the greater proportion of the inhabitants of the several districts neglect