Mail Tribune 100, March 9, 1920
The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
March 9, 1920
SUPERINTENDENT WM. DAVENPORT AND SCHOOL BOARD CONDEMNED AT PARENTS’ MEETING YESTERDAY
The fire which has long been smoldering in the parent-teacher circles of the city has been fanned into a blaze by the wholesale dropping of teachers by the school administration.
The fire reached such proportions at a called meeting of the Parent-Teacher council, which is composed of the officers of the various Parent-Teacher associations of the city, held yesterday afternoon at the public library that a resolution calling upon Superintendent Davenport to resign was read. It would have been adopted unanimously in view of the temper of the assemblage, but wiser council prevailed and it was decided to hold the resolution in abeyance until after tonight’s meeting with the school board at which the board’s side and superintendent’s side of the situation is expected to be given, and at which the Parent-Teacher bodies will demand the reason why each teacher was lopped off from next year’s staff ...
Mrs. E. V. Maddox, president of the council, in calling the meeting together, and stating its purpose, stated her regret that things had reached such a stage in the educational affairs of the city, but said that the situation could not be ignored as the school administration had treated a number of the oldest and most efficient teachers unfairly and with injustice by dropping them from next year’s teaching staff. “We don’t want to be rash,” Mrs. Maddox said, “but we want to see that justice is done.”
She then stated that the meeting was open for expression of opinion. The speaking was slow in starting, but after one or two had spoken, it began rapidly to warm up, the speakers bobbing up one after another as pop corn does in the pan. All the remarks were of the same tenor, uncomplimentary to the administration of Superintendent Davenport and the school board and commending a number of the well known teachers who had been deposed. A number of the deposed teachers, as well as teachers who had been retained were present and took part in the meeting. There were only three men present, including a timid, trembling newspaper reporter.
Excerpts from the various talks made at the meeting are the following:
“We have the right as tax payers and parents of pupils to know the reasons of the superintendent and school board for the dropping of these teachers. This dropping of experiences, efficient teachers is all the more remarkable because of the great shortage of teachers generally throughout the United States.”
“The teachers were rejected in a way that is not only a great injustice to them, but to the school patrons and pupils.”
“Would it not have been much better if the superintendent had quietly hinted to the teachers who were to be dropped that they should not make application to teach here next year? This would have left them in a much better position to find schools elsewhere. As it is, a great injustice has been done them.”