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program that shall guarantee that for the future the defects now known to exist shall be remedied.

The only place that every family is represented and can be approached is in the public schools. The inauguration of compulsory health education in the schools will do more to permanently eliminate physical defects for the great mass of children than all other measures combined, even though it requires a generation to accomplish the results.

The state must assume the responsibility for the health as well as the education of its children, and there is no more effective way of bringing parents and children to a realization of the value of a sound body, than to require a definite physical standard from every school child, thereby applying retardation to the physically defective as well as the mentally deficient child. When a child's progress in school is equally dependent upon his physical as on his mental ability, the report showing defective ears, eyes, or teeth will not be regarded lightly by either parent or child.

The need for a compulsory physical education program is now recognized, but many have felt that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. After several conferences between the local health and educational authorities, it was finally decided that since our city had made provision in a municipal dispensary to care for all remediable defects of children whose parents could not afford to employ private practitioners, that the local authorities would be justified in requiring a definite physical standard from every school child. Health must be made a condition for promotion.

The following resolutions were finally adopted by the Board of Education in conference with the Department of Health:

Rules Governing Health Program in the Public Schools Adopted December 13, 1920, by the Board of Education.

"Whereas, the results in the draft of the young men between the ages of 21 and 31 in the Great War necessitated the rejection of approximately one out of every four such young men by reason of physical defects, and

Whereas, we have laid the foundation in our public schools of a course of Civics and Health to correct for the future generation such deplorable results, and

Whereas, the State of Connecticut has shown its intent to produce a citizenship which shall be sufficiently strong in health to meet its demands, through the enactment of provisions of Chapter 21 of Laws Relating to Schools, and

Whereas, the City of Bridgeport has made provisions in the various clinics housed in its Welfare Building to meet the city's responsibility in this fundamental matter of health,

Be It Resolved, That the Board of Education, in order to put into effect the full requirement of the State Statute with reference to health as stated in Chapter 21, paragraphs 306 and 307, do enact that the course of instruction in Physical Education which seeks to provide proper physical development through the use of calisthenics, athletics and supervised games, as is outlined below or may be outlined by the Board of Education, be made basal for promotion from one grade to another as follows:

I. Program of Physical Training Activities.

This program to include schoolroom and playground supervised games, calisthenic drills and other large muscle activities, and to culminate in a promotional mark.

1. 50 and 100 yard dash.
2. Standing broad jump.

3. Basketball far throw.

II. Program for Right and Efficient Living.

This is to be carried through by the classroom teacher with the aim of teaching hygiene, of making health attractive, and in fastening wholesome health habits covering at least the following:

1. Proper use of handkerchief.

2. Emphasis upon cleanliness and its value.

3. Proper use of toothbrush, hair and shoe brush, etc.
4. Bathing, with special emphasis upon shower baths.


5. Breathing exercises for posture and lung development before open window.

6. Rest and short relaxation periods.

7. Correct methods of eating.

8. Individual drinking cups, pencils, towels, combs, toothbrushes.

9. Proper use of voice.

10. Proper use of eyes.

11. Necessity for daily exercises in open air.

12. Cheerfulness and the game spirit.

13. Liberal water drinking.

14. Ventilation-school and home.

Be It Further Resolved, That in co-operation with the Board of Health that the following physical defects and growth handicaps be corrected or be in the process of correction as a requisite for promotion:

111. Program for Controlling Growth Handicaps.

a. All remediable defects of hearing.

b. All remediable defects of vision.

c. Defects of the nose and throat.
d. Diseases of the skin.

IV. Dental Standards for Advancement.

a. Certification from the dental hygienist that there are no cavities in the permanent teeth.

b. That the pupil has demonstrated effectively the use of the toothbrush to remove food debris and to keep the gums in a state of health.

c. That the teeth and gums are in a clean and healthful


This entire program for promotion from Grade 5 to Grade 6 shall be effective beginning June, 1921, and shall be extended as the Board of Health is able to cope with the problem. Any pupil of the fifth grade who has been in our school system less than half a year is exempt from meeting these requirements."

The legality of any such drastic regulation as an abrupt action by any Board of Education would have to be determined through the permissive powers granted by state law. Before our Board enacted this, it was submitted to our City Attorney, who ruled that under the state law Boards of Education had entire power to determine the content of any subject, and the basis upon which promotion from grade to grade should depend.

However, there is a much larger aspect than the legal one. Pressed to a final conclusion on that basis alone it would defeat its own ends, and our aim has been to administer the preparation and operation of this regulation from the standpoint of the values involved in health. That we have succeeded fairly well in so short a time is a matter for congratulation. There were nearly 1,200 children involved in our upper fifth grade classes. Our normal number of repeaters in that grade ranges from 12 to 15%. This would mean something like 150 pupils who, under the old conditions, would repeat the fifth second grade. The results under the application of this stern physical test are indicated in the table below:

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The pressure in the clinics through an attempt to put into condition this large number of children was very great, and the industrial depression made parents hesitate. For this reason we decided to include conditional promotion for those pupils who assured us from the parent that they would meet the requirement before September. This will be carefully checked by each division.

No. 4 tells the story of the amount of positive non-cooperation. Should the actual pupils reported in the Health Board Division and Dental Hygiene Division be in every case different children, the total non-promotion is 59, which is only about one-third of the normal number of repeaters. Meanwhile the compelling attention that has been brought to the parent of the defects and the great value that the school as an organization is assigning to these defects, we believe far outweighs anything that we have heretofore attempted in any one subject in any grade in the elementary schools.

The Child Labor Law in most of our states is so faulty in its protection of the rights of the children and the future rights of society, that something of this nature must face the child before he can go into industry. In Connecticut twelve years ago the Consumers' League, in attempting to establish some sort of test for children to go into industry, secured the passage of a law requiring the ability to handle common fractions, which at that time, in most of the schools, was completed in the sixth grade. The fallacy of this test has been apparent, because the position of common fractions is something of a movable feast, and under pressure has moved downward. In practice the law has worked so that at the end of the fifth grade children were permitted to go into industry, without regard to the fundamental involved-physical capacity of the child to stand up under the competition of industry. Bridgeport was the one city in the state that of its own volition has required a careful physical examination of its candidates. This is now backed by state law and so may not be abandoned by future administrations. Schoolwise, we have felt it our duty to protect the child going into industry with conditions that would tend to later make him an industrial asset instead of a probable liability.

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