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WINTER HOLIDAYS., Issue 7983, 12 August 1889
TO THB BDITOB. Sib, —I notice in your Saturday's issue an effusion by a Mr Dodds touching on my conduct. In my judgment of it the man cannot understand what he himself has written. He gives himself the He so direct that nothing could • appear more selfcontradictory— e. g., in the second paragraph he says " A conference of the whole of the members of the Kensington, Forbury, and this School Committees was held." And in the same sentence goes on to say "Mr Fisher did not attend." Whilst in the next sentence he admits that two or three more of the members of the same Committee were also absent. Yet more, unless his memory is peculiarly bad
he could, if I mistako not, name three or four members of the other committee who did not attend, and to whom he, as selfconstituted secretary, neglected, for reasons best known to himself, to send notice that even a conference was to be held. Then, since he states iu his letter that myself and other members of the Committee " did not attend," how cun he, with anything like a shadow of truth, assert in your paper and before the public that a conference of the " whole of the members" of the committees of the three schools " was held ?" The Conference behind which Mr Dodds takes shelter was organised by himself, seemingly with a view to deprive the schools on the Flat of winter holidays, for Mr Dodds was, in the early part of the season, a sturdy advocate ol the no midwinter holiday move. He managed to get a few of the members of the threeschool committees together at the Forbury School. Caversham declined bis invitation with thanks. After the Conference meeting he called a special meeting of his own Committee, and had that vexatious re solution, "no winter holidays," placed on record. We next find himself and our worthy chairman raising their voices, if memory serves me right, against winter holidays at the Dunedin Conference. But, lo and behold ! all of a sudden Mr Dodds veers round and uses all his powers in advocacy of winter holidays. To some members of committees he sent notice to attend the Conference ; others he did not notify. However, the Conference met and _ passed a resolution granting three days' holidays, and also gave instructions that the minutes disallowing the holidays should be rescinded. Mr Dodds thinks that the rescinding was not of "much importance." Surely he is not so ignorant as he pretends ; and I rather think it was the expressed opinion of the Macandrew road School Committee—that they were full up of his conferencing—that prevented him bringing it forward. The resolutions were not rescinded, and the school was closed; and it must have been disappointing to the children and annoying to tha _ parents to see them going to school during that week and to find it closed against them. A disregard for law begets abuses which, if allowed to go unchecked, will sap the foundation of the most perfect system ; and if connived at, and not put down in time by the authorities, will (instead of a system which under fair treatment might be good) give us expensive commissions of inquiry and fresh legislation. Lest any person might understand me in the same light a3 Mr Dodds, I wish it fully understood that the teachers of the Macandrew road School are, in my opinion, entirely free from blame in this matter. They got the holidays I have not the slightest doubt, and consequently have a perfect right to get fully paid ; but I contend that the Education Board are not justified in covering the illegal act of a school committee by paying these salaries. The mistake remains with the chairman and secretary, and, judging from the experience of the one and the presumption of the other, I incline to the belief that they have not acted iu ignorauce. I hold that they should be made responsible. That I was absent from two meetings is quite true, but for one of these our secretary neglected to send me notice. Of the other, I received notice fixing it for the 3rd July, whereas it was held on the second, I protested first against our secretary neglecting to give members of Committee the notice required by the Act; and, again, against approving of an illegal Act. So that it can easily be seen that to our secretary principally I am indebted for the "good record" which Mr Dodds gives me. In conclusion, I have to say that I do not deal with either teacher or scholar in any way. If I did I would hayo a delicacy in sitting on the Committee. "So says the man on the street." I havo no " purpose " to serve but to endeavor to have the school business transacted according ty the Act, and to prevent the Committee from bec.mi: ing objects of ridicule and the school from falling into contempt.—l am, etc., C. FISHEK. Dunediu, August 12.
WINTER HOLIDAYS., Issue 7983, 12 August 1889
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