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of hiring janitors leads them to speculate on cheap help or to find employment for their children and their grandfathers, putting boys and blind old men through the motions of sweeping, who wouldn't recognize a clean room if they saw one. When Dr. Raymond inquired of what help the principals would give the Health Department or the Medical Association if either should make an investigation, they shouted: “All you want;" “More than you can use;" “Everything," and "Try us and see."
Promised Reform of Janitor Service.
No such investigation was forthcoming. The only man whose chief business it is to aim for a clean building, the janitor, has no positive and continued incentive before him for cleanliness. Railroad companies offer cash prizes for the best kept station and have the awards made by a committee of station masters which is taken to all the houses of a division. Each one is educated thereby toward the standard reached by the prize winner. The scheme which the Board of Education maintains does not give a prize to the dirtiest, most poorly kept building, but it encourages every janitor to expend just as little as possible on cleaning, for every cent that the janitor abstains from spending upon labor goes into his own pocket. Questioned by the Civil Service Commission the inspector of buildings testifies that the Board of Education exercises no power over the janitor's helpers, as to number or fitness or remuneration. In regard to all the schools mentioned he gives as his opinion that they are not properly cleaned and cannot be . cleaned by the help employed. Principal Downing testifies that the janitor does not keep the building clean. His janitor is shown by his own testimony to receive more than $5,000 yearly salary, and after paying his wife and child, among other helpers, to have $3,000 profit remaining.
When the present Board of Education began work in 1902 the common talk in Fifty-ninth street was that the committee on care of buildings was going to take this bull by the horns and yoke him to a workable sweeping machine. A commission on janitor service was going to modernize the system. New rules for janitor service have figured in rumors, but the janitors, as such, have not seen them yet. An officer of the building department of the School Board has been assigned to the supervision of janitors and has already electrified some parts of the service, but the men do not
realize that it can be possible that any one can give them orders. In one of the Brooklyn schools this inspector was so unkind as to say that a floor was filthy.
"Have your man bring a pail of water and a mop,” he said. "Ilhen I have finished some further inspection I'll come back and show you how this should be cleaned."
When he returned the water was not there. “Great Scott !" said the inspector, “of course your floors are dirty if your help hasn't been trained to mind you. Now, if you can't command your help, do it yourself. Get me some water at once."
The man of influence was astounded, but brought the water and received a lesson in scrubbery. This man, with hundreds of others, needs repeated shocks of this kind until the service understands that some one means business. One inspector for the four hundred janitors under the present system is like a drop of pepper in a hogshead of army soup. And the janitors say they'll "break” him if he doesn't stop his "ungentlemanly insinuations and highhanded commands."
Plans Proposed by Principals.
Principals are not unanimous in their opinions of the cleaning problem. Some think the inspectors of the building department who are now sent to the schools to report on heating apparatus, repairs needed and the nature of work done by contractors, ought to be required to report to the board the adherence of the janitor to his rules, or his departure therefrom. They say that the rules are not observed. These statutes show careful work by some legislative head. They require sweeping of every room, stair and hall between 3 o'clock and 8 o'clock the next day; dusting all the furniture, window sills and woodwork; a monthly scrubbing (not mopping) of all the floors in entries, halls, stairs and schoolrooms; a custing of the side walls, blinds and cornices every two months, oftener if necessary; at the same intervals, oftener if necessary, a cleaning of the windows. They require the janitor to clean the sidewalk and to keep it clean; to allow no accumulation of refuse in the basement; to open the windows and thoroughly ventilate every classroom at the close of every school day, and again every morning before eight, to maintain the temperature of the rooms during sessions at 68 to 70 degrees; to run the ventilating apparatus to its full capacity; to visit every room,
water closet, passage, stairway, yard, etc., before securing the exits so as to avoid locking children in; to distribute the mail; to care for the clocks; to report in writing damage to school property; to keep an inventory of school furniture, and to observe four or five pages more of other rules laid down for him. Some principals suggest that the legislative end of the janitor service has been overdone and the executive part neglected. They intimate that if the same authorities that make the rules would attempt to oversee the janitors' observance of them the situation would be clarified. It is possible that some principals add unnecessary loads to the burdens already proposed for the guardians of the buildings. But all agree that the situation is bad and the problem urgent.
The Civil Service Commission is going over it again. It is serving summonses on principals, janitors, janitors' helpers, employes of the Building Department and members of the Board of Education. The counsel of the Janitors' Association has asked permission to cross-examine the witnesses, and is keeping things interesting. Whether the commission intends to try again to require the cleaners to be selected from an approved list and to be paid at known and regular wages by the city, it does not say. The dangers we, as parents, most fear are the dangers of dirt. It would be possible for a Civil Service Commission to increase them. Miles O'Brien and Abraham Stern told the commission that to cut down the janitors' pay would result in a refusal of janitors to serve. The delay in getting others from the list would throw the schools into chaos. School No. 33, in this borough, was without a janitor from August to January last year. The opponents of the civil service scheme claimed that the civil service rules prevented the more speedy appointment of a caretaker. The rooms became notoriously filthy and the place was finally closed and 1,500 children sent home until the matter was settled.
Various Ways of Cleaning Up.
We do not want chances of such action increased. But we do want something better than we have now. Douglas Stewart says the present system compels children to pass their time in such wretched places that it ruins their health and dwarfs their minds. He says a good part of the next generation of New Yorkers will be nearsighted, crooked and hysterical. He wants a department of window cleaning organized so that the squads may go from
PUBLIC LIBRARY Dirty School Houses.
ABO, E NO. AND school to school to let in the light. He thinks the apathy and *TIONS. indifference of the public to dirty school houses is terrible. A writer in the "Eagle" of last Monday wants the local school boards to take the matter up. The charter says they shall visit each building at least four times a year and inspect the same in respect to cleanliness, safety, warming, ventilation and comfort. The principals say that the service of the local boards in this respect would be a hundred times more valuable than the attempts to estimate the scholastic intricacies of the course of study. One principal suggests that the schoolmasters themselves should ask for a committee consisting of an elementary school principal from each borough, one high school principal from the greater city, one district superintendent, one associate superintendent, one member of a district board, one member of the school board, one physician or sanitary expert and one manager of a large office building. This committee should invite all interested or able persons to speak before it; this committee should investigate the janitor work in other cities, in schools and large buildings, and should devise and present to the Board of Education a report of what constitutes adequate janitor work and what constitutes a fit school from cellar to garret. The committee on buildings should then be asked to draw up rules to require such work. The principal and the local boards should be given report blanks on which they should be required to record at stated intervals the evidence of compliance or non-compliance with each rule. These reports should be sent to the Building Department and deductions from the janitor's salary made for each violation. That reverses the present system which puts a premium on neglect and discourages complaint from interested parties.
I myself have a plan different from all of these. The present scheme gives the janitor a lump sum and lets him hire his help. Why not carry this further? Syndicate the whole thing. Make a janitor trust; give me the half a million a year, as general manager, and let me hire my workmen and clean up what I can (for myself).
[The Editor of THE SANITARIAN recognizing in “Milo” a whilom contemporary in the Brooklyn Board of Education and active co-operator in the adoption of resolutions for the appointment of a standing committee on hygiene and other sanitary measures.]
AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION.
THIRTIETH ANNUAL MEETING, NEW ORLEANS, LA., DECEMBER 8-12,
1902-ABSTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS.
As usual, the Bacteriological Section met the day before the sessions of the Association began. The Section met in Gibson Hall, Tulane University, Dr. F. W. Westbrook, of Minneapolis, chairman, who, in his opening address, paid tribute to the late Dr. Wyatt Johnson, of Toronto, former chairman of the Section. At its conclusion, resolutions memorializing Dr. Johnson and Major Walter Reed, of the Medical Corps of the Army, deceased members, touching upon their ennobling efforts for humanity, were adopted.
Dr. J. M. Lindsey, of Havana, was introduced to the Section and made a brief address on the progress of sanitation in Havana.
Dr. E. A. Alderman, president of Tulane University, was introduced, and gave a welcoming address. He touched upon the importance of the efforts of the Section, paying tribute to the work that had been accomplished.
The chairman responded in behalf of the Section, which then proceeded to business. Report of committee on standard methods of water analysis was submitted. Papers on: “The Colon Bacillus,” by Dr. Veranus A. Moore; “Notes on Bacillus Coli and Related Forms, with Special Reference to the Neutral Red Reaction," by Stephen deM. Gage and Earle B. Phelps, of Lawrence Experimental Station, Massachusetts; “Certain Precautions Required in the Interpretation of the Colon Test of Drinking Water," by S. C. Prescott, of Boston ; “Bacillus Coli in Ground Waters,”' by Dr. E. G. Horton ; “The Practical Value of Presumptive Tests for the Presence of B. Coli in Public Water Supplies," by Geo. C. Whipple; “Experiments with the Neutral Red Test for Bacillus Coli in the Examination of Water," by Dr. Frederick S. Hollis ; "Immune Serum in the Separation of B. Typhi and B. Coli," by Dr. Adolph Gehrmann.-Adjourned for lunch.
Afternoon Session.-Officers elected for the ensuing year: Chairman, Dr. H. L. Russei, Madison, Wis.; vice-Chairman, Dr. Veranus A. Moore, Ithaca, N. Y.; Secretary, G. C. Whipple, Brooklyn, X. Y.; Recorder, Dr. H. B. Pease, Albany (N. Y.)