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them can be saved, or that great progress can be made in fixing good habits, with only six to twelve months' teaching, and a return to the same conditions, environments and associates which were theirs before commitment? Are not the homes and their surroundings in many cases more to blame than the boys? Let us have more uniform sentences, as it is supposed that all cases are committed for truancy and not for crime. Why should not all be sentenced alike? It seems as if better results could be obtained if a full two years' sentence were passed at the school.

Receipts and Expenditures. — Receipts and expenditures for the year were as follows:

Amount received from towns and cities for board of boys,
Amount received from farm sales,
Amount received from chair seating, .

$3,160 12 1,337 24 652 18

Paid county treasurer, .
Net cost of school,

$5,149 54 4,547 42

Total drawn from appropriation,
Net cost per capita per week,

$9,696 96

2 07

Commitments and Discharges. — The following facts about the boys are of interest : Boys 16 years old when committed, .

1 Boy's 14 years old when committed, .

3 Boys 13 years old when committed,

7 Boys 12 years old when committed, .

4 Boys 11 years old when committed,

4 Boys 10 years old when committed,

3 Boys 9 years old when committed, .

1 Boys 8 years old when committed, .

1 Boys 7 years old when committed,

1

25 Sentenced for 2 years,

8 Sentenced for 18 months,

1 Sentenced for 12 months,

11 Sentenced for 9 months,

2 Sentenced for 6 months,

2 Sent by parents, .

1

25 Committed for truancy,

21 Committed as a school offender,

1 Committed as habitual absentees,

2 Committed by parents,

1

25

8

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Results of Releases on Probation. — The following statement gives the results of releases on probation for a series of five years :

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Why the Boys played Truant. — To ascertain from the point of view of the boys the reasons for their truancy, 100 of them were asked to answer the following questions :

1. Why did you “ hook Jack” (i.e., play truant)?
2. Where did you usually go, and what do?
3. Who usually went with you?

4. Did you take the lead, or did some other boy lead you to o hook Jack”?

5. What did you like best about your school outside? 6. What did you like least about your school outside?

Answers to question 1 were not illuminating, consisting chiefly of “ Because I did not want to go to school,” “ Did not like to study," and the like.

Analysis of answers to question 2 shows that: 26 went with the crowd, i.e., went down town, looked in the shop windows, went around with the boys; 22 engaged in some business or work; 22 went to the water (or ice); 20 went to the theatre; 18 made a point of getting tobacco; 12 engaged in theft; 10 went in pursuit of land sport of some kind, as base ball; 9 were attracted by horses, and went with expressmen or stayed around stables ; 4 confessed to “ bunking out.”

In reply to question 4, 70 claimed to have taken the lead. It usually happens that the leader is the first of the “gang” to go to the Parental School.

Answers to question 5 were meagre: 2 expressed a liking for the teacher, 3 for drawing, 2 for manual training and 1 for physical exercises.

In reply to question 6, 19 expressed a dislike for the teacher or master, 2 for music, 1 for drawing and 2 for physical exercises, while the great majority expressed simply a like or dislike for some such study as arithmetic, language, history.

H. E. SWAN,

Superintendent. AGENT'S REPORT. Mr. Prince, agent of the State Board of Education, reports as follows:

Land and Buildings. — The building in which the school is kept is an old one, but seemingly in good repair. In commodiousness, lighting, cleanliness, in all respects save in room for bathing and for play in stormy weather it is satisfactory, or as satisfactory as an old building can be. There are no facilities for manual training except through the bottoming of chairs, which is only slightly educational in value. Of course this work does give necessary occupation for the boys, and as such is good, but its value as compared with skilled manual work is small.

The grounds are extensive, — 33 acres, — affording ample opportunity for all the boys — 40 at the time of my visit to work several hours a day during the farming season. The time set for boys to work on the farm or in the shop is five and one half hours daily, and four hours daily in the school

room.

Educational Conditions. — In all respects except ventilation the schoolroom fairly well serves its purpose.

There are no means of getting rid of the bad air or of bringing in the fresh air except the windows and doors; and, as the room is heated by direct steam radiation, the air must be very foul on days when the windows cannot be opened.

For supplementary reading there is a well-equipped library, which the boys use freely in the evening. In appliances for teaching the school is not well supplied.

Character of Teaching and Discipline. — A good spirit seems to prevail. To all appearance no very harsh measures are used. The marking system is employed quite generally, — a given number of marks obliging the offender to be deprived of certain privileges or to receive a whipping, and no marks within a given time entitling the boy to be on what is called the “ clear record ” list. The “ clear record” boys— seven at the time of my visit — have certain privileges, as, for example, a certain place at the table, with an occasional extra piece of pie, and now and then a ride. The boys are said to prize greatly this honor.

The teaching seems to be as good as one has a right to expect, where it is not based on professional training and extended experience. The boys were quite attentive and studious. Recitations were heard in reading, language, geography, singing and memory gems, with fair results. For this kind of a school there should be a teacher for every fifteen or twenty boys. The work required is preventive and constructive, and the greatest care should be taken to have refining surroundings and skilful treatment of individual pupils. None of the truant schools that I have yet visited — I have not visited them all, however - meet these needs quite as fully as they should be met.

Miscellaneous. - In all the schools that I have visited I notice that the majority of the boys come from a few of the largest places. For example, in Lawrence 35 of the 40 boys come from three cities, — 25 from Lynn, 8 from Lawrence and 2 from

Haverhill. The rest are from the larger towns, — 2 from Peabody, 1 from Andover, 1 from Swampscott and 1 from Methuen. I am confident that a competent State attendance officer would bring in some from the smaller country towns.

Many of the boys in all the schools are worse than simply truants. The offence of some is actually stealing, nominally truancy. Two out of a gang of five were convicted for breaking and entering, but sent to the truant school for truancy. Superintendent Swan told me that the boys all understand that they are here for crimes more serious than truancy. All this goes to show that the training should be of a reforming character, — something more than being kept straight and taught to read, write and cipher a little. It should be a training that only experts can devise and only experts can carry out, instead of only a blind imitation of two institutions, — a prison and an ordinary common school.

HAMPDEN COUNTY TRUANT SCHOOL.

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT. Commitments and Attendance. — The following report is for the year ending Sept. 30, 1899 :Number of boys in the school Sept. 30, 1898,

26 Admitted during the year,

25 Discharged during the year,

26 Remaining Sept. 30, 1899, Average number for the year,

29
Number of different boys during the year,

51
Highest number at one time, .
Lowest number at one time,

25

25

34

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Of those committed, 1 was an habitual offender; 3 were habitual absentees; 5, truants; and 16, habitual truants. Of those released, 22 were discharged at the expiration of sentence, 3 by order of the court, and 1 paroled by the county commissioners. Of the number committed, 15 could read and write, 6 could barely read and write, and 4 could neither read nor write ; 3 are in school for the second time, for one year, 2 had served sentences of six months each, and 1 for one year; 22 boys out of the 25 admitted used cigarettes.

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