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Mail Tribune 100, March 10, 1920

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

March 10, 1920

DAVENPORT REFUSES TO QUIT POST

School Supt. Defies People to Put Him Out After Petition for Resignation is Presented — Will Continue at Post Until Contract Expires — Heated Meeting Held at High School Building — Hoodlum Spirit is Condemned.

The most striking feature of the most sensational meeting on school affairs ever held in Medford was the emphatic refusal of Superintendent William Davenport last night before a large crowd of parents, patrons and teachers, in the high school building to hand in his resignation at the request of Judge Wm. M. Colvig after the latter had read a petition to the school board requesting the superintendent’s resignation, signed by 53 citizens and taxpayers, including John Mann, Judge Glen O. Taylor, A. C. Hubbard and E. M. Warner.

“Without going into details and giving the reasons for dropping certain teachers for next year I absolutely refuse to resign. Things are fair and square. All the data is there (pointing to his and the board’s records lying on the table) and substantiated all the way through. You will find there some astonishing things. There is pen and ink on the table, but I am not going to resign. I am going to continue to teach in Medford until the end of my contract for another year and continue to do my level beset.”

While all the members of the audience which crowded the high school assembly room and balcony to the doors, by an overwhelming majority were not in sympathy with the superintendent and board, and regretted that school matters had come to such a state and recognized that the situation was unfortunate, deplorable and disgraceful in a way, even the fairest minded are puzzled to seek the best way out of the puzzling dilemma that has arisen for the future welfare of the schools.

One thing that even the most bitter opponents of the school administration insist on, is that no matter what the difference on school policies among the patrons and parents, the school pupils must be respectful and observe discipline. It was brought to the attention of the audience by President Riddell of the school board that on the previous night some high school boys rotten egged the office of Superintendent Davenport. The audience unanimously disapproved of this disgraceful act.

...Finally, under pressure, and the demands of the deposed teachers and their friends, the board gave in, after vainly trying to ward off having the matter read in the meeting, as to the reasons for the dropping of fifteen teachers from the schools of the city from next year’s teaching staff.

The board only consented to do this by showing the Parent-Teacher’s council the reasons, and the council in turn read off the reasons after each deposed teacher’s name after that teacher had given her consent.

These reasons were mostly for not being up to the requirement standard set by the board, and in a few cases for not “co-operating with the system.” Of course, the married women were let out because of the board rule adopted some time ago barring married women from teaching in the schools after this year. It came out in the meeting and this caused a sensation; that the board had retained one well-known married teacher for next year.

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