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CHAPTER VIII.

THE LAW AS TO THE POWER OF PARENTS OVER

TEACHERS.

SEC. 1. The school-master and the king.--In school, where the mind is first placed under care to be fitted for the grand purposes of life, the child should be taught to consider his instructor, in many respects, superior to the parent in point of authority. The infant mind early apprehends and distinguishes with a surprising sagacity, and is always more influenced by example than precept. When a parent, therefore, enters the school, and by respectful deportment acknowledges the teacher's authority, the pupil's obedience and love for the master are strengthened; and the principle of subordination is naturally ingrafted in the child, and in the most agreeable and effectual manner possible; that is, by the influence of example. It is by this happy conspiracy between the teacher and parent that a new power—a genial influence over the infant mind—is acquired, which is of infinite importance to the welfare and happiness of society. To aim a blow at this power would be to strike at the very basis of magisterial authority. It was to support this important element of good government that the

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learned and judicious school-master said to Charles II. in the plenitude of his power: “Sire, pull off thy hat in my school; for if my scholars discover that the king is above me in authority here, they will soon cease to respect me.” (Morris's Case, i City Hall Rec. 55.)

SEC. 2. Every man's house is his castle.-- This old maxim of English law (5 Rep. 92) is as applicable to the school-master as to any other person who is in the lawful possession of a house. It is true that the school officers, as such, have certain rights in the school-house; but the law will not allow even them to interfere with the teacher while he keeps strictly within the line of his duty. Having been legally put in possession, he can hold it for the purposes and the time agreed upon; and no parent, not even the governor of the State, nor the President of the United States, has any right to enter it and disturb him in the lawful performance of his duties. If

persons do so enter, he should order them out; and if they do not go, on being requested to do so, he may use

, such force as is necessary to eject them. And if he finds that he is unable to put them out himself, he may call on others to assist him; and if no more force than is actually necessary to remove the intruders is employed, the law will justify the teacher's act and the acts of those who assisted him. (Stevens v. Fassett, 27 Maine, 266; 1 City Hall Rec. 55; 2 Met. 23; 6 Barb. 608; 8 T. R. 299; 2 Ro. Abr. 548; 2 Selk. 641; 1 C. & P. 6; 8 T.

i R. 78; Wharton's Am. Crim. Law, 1256.)

In case a teacher has been selected and approved by the superintending committee in conformity to law, there is no authority in the prudential committee or the district to close the house against such teacher. (See 8 Cush. 191, and Law Reporter, vol. 22, 213, Ninth School District in Weymouth v. Loud.)

But in such case or in any case where the teacher is not in actual possession, but merely has the right of possession, he should not attempt to gain possession by physical force. The law will bear him out in maintaining his possession by force if he can make it appear that force was necessary; but his right of possession he must maintain in another way. For example, if a teacher is

barred out” of the school-house by his scholars or others, he should at once notify the directors, who in turn may appeal, if necessary, to the township board invested with the legal custody of the house. In case neither the directors nor the board cause the door to be opened, the teacher, by holding himself in readiness to discharge his duties, can collect his pay precisely as though his school had not been interrupted. (Ohio School Laws, 1865, Dec. 32.)

SEC. 3. The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous.As it would be manifestly improper for the teacher to undertake to dictate to the parents in their own house, so it would be improper for the parents to dictate to him in his, the school-house. Nor does it matter whether the parents own their house, or whether, like

the teacher, they only have possession of it for a certain time specified and on certain conditions, and perhaps for certain purposes named in the lease. In either case, the lawful possession is enough. It may be very proper, under certain circumstances, for the teacher to go to the house of the parents for an explanation, or to receive or give advice; and it may be equally proper for parents, under certain circumstances, to go to the school-house for an explanation, or to receive or give advice, provided that, in both cases, it is done in the right spirit. For it must be borne in mind that the school-master has no right whatever to exercise authority over parents out of the school-house, and that parents, as such, have no right whatever to exercise authority over the master. When the interests of parents and teachers are properly understood, there will be complete harmony and unity of action; but until

1 that happy day comes, it is well enough for all to know that the teacher's position does not require him to please any parent, but to do his duty, even though he displease them all. The impression that parents have a right to go to the school and dictate to or insult the teacher is entirely contrary to the spirit and letter of the law establishing the common or public schools throughout the country. In private schools the case is somewhat different; for the parents there,

legal effect, are the employers of the teacher, and consequently his masters ; but in the common and public schools they are neither his employers nor his masters, and it is entirely out of place for them to attempt to give him orders. “If any parent, guardian, or other person, from any cause, fancied or real, visit a school with the avowed intention of upbraiding or insulting the teacher in the presence of the school, and shall so upbraid or insult a teacher, such person, for such conduct, shall be liable to a fine of not more than twentyfive dollars, which, when collected, shall go into the general tuition revenue.” (School Laws of Ind. 1865, p. 36, sec. 162.) “Any parent, guardian, or other person, who shall upbraid, insult, or abuse any teacher in the presence of the school, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to a fine of not less than ten nor exceeding one hundred dollars." (Revised School Law of Cal. 1866.) If any parent or guardian shall abuse a teacher, by the use of offensive language, or shall use any means to intimidate him from exercising proper discipline, the teacher may suspend from school privileges the children of such parent or guardian until the case can be heard and determined by the commissioner. (By-Laws of Md. School Comrs. 1865, p. 18, No. 11.) In no case shall a patron of the school, who has reason to complain of the discipline or conduct of the teacher, make such complaint in the presence of the pupils. The commissioner is the only person authorized to hear and determine charges against teachers. (Id. No. 10.) In Ohio, the boards of education have power to determine the studies to be pursued, and the school-books to be used in the several schools under their control. (Ohio School

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