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Henry
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« on: March 19, 2006, 09:08:29 AM »

ROWDYISM AFTER SCHOOL EXERCISES

Member of Faculty at Bellows Free Academy Upholds Principal Wright in Quarrel with Trustees, Parents and Members of Graduating Class

A tale of rowdyism and what almost amounted to a mob scene, following the graduating exercises at Bellows Free in Fairfax Wednesday, is related by Miss Katherine Katz of 29 South Union street, a member of the faculty of the Academy at which the altercation between Principal J. H. Wright and some of the members of the graduating class and their parents occurred.  Miss Katz states that every other member of the faculty is with her in her stand in favor of Mr. Wright.  She refutes some of the statements made and published regarding the affair.

Miss Katz states that on Wednesday afternoon of graduating day, Mrs. Wright found a handfyul of new tacks scattered in the driveway to the garage as she drove in.  Only one tire was injured to any extent but the intent was plain.  She also tells of the rotten egging of Mr. Wright’s house following the graduating exercises on Wednesday Night and of hearing threats of various natures being made against the principal by some who attended the graduating exercises.  Such remarks as “if he don’t sign those diplomas, we’ll throw him in the river” were common.  She states that reports of threats to destroy the Wright garden were also made.

The trouble started last February, according to Miss Katz.  It has been the custom to have an annual dinner and play, and this was held.  Mr. Wright told the students that he did not think it the proper thing to do to attend a public dance after the play as it interfered with the studies next day.  He was attempting to raise the standard of the school, which had fallen far below par, in the opinion of Miss Katz.  This, she said, was shown by the fact that in the intelligence tests, the pu0ils showed up well on general knowledge, but were below in their studies.  It was also manifested by the large number who flunked out of college after they had passed through Bellows Free Academy.  It is understood that another reason given was alleged drinking at some dances and the students had fallen into the practice of attended dances every Tuesday evening.  One Wednesday they didn’t show up or were so sleepy they might as well have stayed at home.

The parents of the students who dance upheld them and it was necessary to try to enforce discipline.  One student left school for two weeks and then came back as calmly as though she had been there all the time.  Others left and returned as they liked with the apparent consent of their parents.  A hearing was held before the selectmen and school commissioners to sift matters.  The school board upheld Mr. Wright, as did the selectmen, according to Miss Katz.

The statement that Mr. Wright attached his signature to the diplomas of his daughter and Roger Cyril Rugg before he signed the others is denied by Miss Katz.  He signed all those, which he did sign at the same time.  Miss Katz will not return to Bellows Free Academy next year as a teacher neither will Mr. Wright.  He will take the position of supervising principal in Enosburg Falls.  Miss Katz states that Bellows Free Academy has had six principals in seven years.
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Henry Raymond
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