The New Zealand TABLET THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1900. PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
New Zealand Tablet, Rōrahi XXVIII, Putanga 44, 1 Whiringa-ā-rangi 1900, Page 17
The New Zealand TABLET
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1900. PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
' To pro?7io!c f^prqiiap nf J?/'7u/inv nnd J)/fstirp hi/ the V'CIIJS of Truth and Peace. 1 Lbu Alii lo ti_ie 2> Z. i"Ai>i-I.T.
3E Government are to be highly commended for sticking to their guns in the matter of • The Private Industrial Schools Inspection and Industrial Schools Act Amendment Bill,' which was made the opportunity by a certain Bection of members in both Houses of the Legislation for stirring up the ' yellow dog ' and having a gird at Catholic institutions. In moving the second reading of the Bill in the Legislative Council, the Minister for Education, the Hon. W. C. Walker, made an admirable speech, in which he fully set forth the scope, tenor and intention of the measure. He premised that it was a matter of regret that legislation of this nature should be necessary, especially when the necessity arose because of misconduct on the part of the managers of any private industrial school. He had visited, he said, these schools in the course of his travels and met the managers and those who were teaching the boys. He saw the boys, and everything, so far as he could see, was going on satisfactorily. He knew the managers to be men of education and character, whilst the teaching was in the hands of one of the first teaching Orders of the Iloman Catholic Church. It was a terrible shock to him and had been a matter of concern ever since this matter had cropped up that these things should have taken place. If, he proceeded to say, he had been in Parliament when the Act of 1882 was passed, he should not probably have been in favor of those private institutions being allowed to take htate children. He had always felt a difficulty in the matter ; not as to any fear that the children would not be well treated — in fact, anyone who went to see them could not say they were not treated fairly well. Take, he said, the report of the Commissioners who had dealt with this question. They fiud fault with certain trifling points of clothing ; they say the food might have been a little more varied ; but still they say that the children looked healthy and well, and they pointed to the fact that, during so many months there had been nothing in the matter of health, as testified by the medical officers. What he did not like about this system was that these private institutions always keep the children as long as they can, whereas the object should in his opinion be, to do what the Government do in their industrial schools, put the children out as rooh as possible. He considered, therefore, that the Bill would tend to the good of the State if it tended to take some of the children away from these schools. What the Bill endeavored to do was not to destroy any of these institutions if managed in what Parliament was entitled to think aas a proper manner. It was evident from the report of the Ro}al Commission at Nelson that the real soutce of the trouble at Stoke aro>e from the fact that there was an amount of avoidance of responsibility — that, while the Government looked to one gentleman as manager, that gentleman handed over the responsibility to somebody else, who was responsible to another gentleman across the seas. That was the first defect that the Bill desired to remedy. Then a great deal more power was given to the Government over the children in these schools, and very direct powers of inspection. Power was also given, if at any time the Minister was not satisfied with the management, to withdraw the inmates from any of these private schools, and the Minister might, with the approval of the Governor-in-Council, purchase, take on lease, or otherwise acquire for the purposes of a Government school any land or buildings used as a private school — if it was to be closed.
The main provisions of the Act were thus described by Mr. Walk nit, but it may be interesting to give further particulars in regard to clauses w ,ioh provoked discussion in Parliament, and in regard to which considerable divergence of opinion evidently existed. It is enacted that in no case shall any institution, the governing body of 'which is in its management interfered with or controlled by any society outside of New Zealand be hereafter approved by the Minister i« o priv ,h> ,„• lorn] nor h :iny <snrh private or local school to be hereafter established under the Industrial School Act, ln*2. nh leaped to eveiy pmale. ur local eehoul Bui aforesaid, already established at the time of the passing of th.s Act, the following special provision is to apply : In no case shall any child be hereafter committed or transferred to any such school. At the expiration of twelve months after the passing of the Act every such school shall cease to be a school within the meaning of the principal Act and no public money shall hereafter be granted in respect thereof.' The clause quoted was really the crux of the Hill and the endeavor was made to alter it so that all private industrial schools should be included under it, and not only those, the managing body of which are interfered with or controlled by any society outside New Zealand/ the direct object being to close the Stoke institution, which is now entirely undtr New Zealand management. When the Bill was in Committee of the Legislative Council the Hon. C. C. Bowen moved that the words 'as aforesaid' be struck out, and this was adopted on a division by a majority of five. When the Bill with this amendment was returned to the House of Hepresentatives, it was decided, at the instance of the Premier, to disagree therewith, and a conference between the two Houses resulted, when, after some tall talking, the Council gave way and the words excised were restored : had they not been, it is well understood that Mr. Scddon would have abandoned the Bill.
The Act provides that members of the Legislature, of local bodies, of Charitable Aid Boards, justices of the peace, and any other persons authorised by the Minister shall at all t,mes be entitled to visit any private or local schools, and tint every p-r^on so visiting may inscribe in a book to be k"pt by the managers any remarks he may think fit to make. The Gocrnoi-in-Council is authorised to make regulations fur the conduct, management, supervision and inspection of the schools and for the employment, education, diet, cloth, iK, correction, and industrial training of the inmates thereof ; for the classifyingof the inmatesandfor keeping cci tain of them separate and apart according to sex or character, place of committal, cause of committal, or antecedents or otherwise. If any inmate absconds from, or wilfully destroys or damages any property belonging to the school, or refuses to obey or coufoim to any regulations, such inmate is on conviction in a summary manner before a stipendiary magistiate to be punished in such manner as is pn scribed by regulations ; provided that said punishment is not to be inflicted by the school or by the managers. The magistrate is atao, where necessary, to order the inmate to be sent back to the school.