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Laws of Vt. 1862, sec. 11.) Whenever, upon personal examination of schools, the superintendent of any town shall become satisfied, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a teacher to whom a certificate has been granted is setting an evil example before his school, the superintendent is in such case empowered to revoke the certificate of such teacher. (Id. sec. 16.)
SEC. 6. MASSACHUSETTS.—The school committee, unless the town at its annual meeting determines that the duty may be performed by the prudential committee, sball select and contract with the teachers of the public schools; and shall require full and satisfactory evidence of the good moral character of all instructors who may be employed. (Gen. Stat. of Mass. tit. xi. ch. 38, sec. 23.) The duty here indicated is more important than any other connected with the public schools of the State. The teacher gives character to the school, and the duty of ascertaining the moral and literary qualifications of candidates is put upon the superintending committee. How inadequate for the performance of these solemn trusts is the opportunity of a few minutes' or a few hours' examination? The evidence of fitness must be found, if found at all, in the previous life and experience of the candidate, and not in a brief personal examination or the certificates of friends. (Sec. Rep. 1861, p. 102.) The fact that a person claiming to be a teacher entered upon the work without first securing the approval of the superintending committee would be evidence of his ignorance of duty, sufficient to justify the committee in rejecting him. Such a person must be either ignorant of the duty which every teacher ought to know, or morally disqualified for rightdoing. (Id. p. 103.) The school committee may dismiss from employment any teacher whenever they think proper, and such teacher shall receive no compensation for services rendered after such dismissal. (Gen. Stat. tit. xi. ch. 38, sec. 25.) This power is as nearly absolute as any power in our government. It will often happen that a committee may be in possession of sufficient reasons to justify the dismissal of a teacher, and yet a wise public policy would avoid disclosure of them. There is no probability that the power will be abused; indeed, committees are reluctant to take the responsibility except in extreme cases. (Sec. Rep. 1861, p. 103.) For immorality, however, we think that the committee should dismiss the teacher without a moment's hesitation, although public policy may require that when this is done further or unnecessary disclosures should be avoided.
Sec. 7. CONNECTICUT.-The provisions for the examination of teachers are plain and positive. (School Laws of Conn. 1864, ch. 5, sec. 1.) The examining committee are to be satisfied with the moral character, literary attainments, and ability to teach, of all candidates to whom a certificate is given. The law leaves no discretion in giving the certificate to be exercised by the examining committee till the candidate is found to possess a good moral character. The penuriousness or ignorance of district committees may lead to the employment of incompetent persons as teachers, but the school visitors have no authority by law to give certificates to such persons.
On the contrary, they are under obligations to the school, to the State, and to teachers, not to certify to a person's ability or authorize his attempting to teach, till they are satisfied that he possesses the qualifications required by law, the most important of which is a good mcral character. (Id. p. 39.) The board of visitors shall annul the certificates of such teachers as shall be found unqualified, or who will not conform to the law. (Id. p. 40.)
SEC. 8. NEW-YORK.-The superintendent of public instruction may, on evidence satisfactory to him, grant State certificates and revoke the same. While unrevok. ed, a State certificate shall be conclusive evidence that the person to whom it was granted is qualified by his moral character, learning, and ability to teach any common school in the State. (School Laws of N. Y. 1866, tit. 1, p. 6, sec. 15.) Every commissioner shall have power, and it shall be his duty, to examine persons proposing to teach common schools within his district and not possessing the Superintendent's certificate of qualification, or a diploma of the State normal school, and to inquire into their moral fitness and capacity. (Id. p. 11, sec, 5.) The Commissioner shall also examine any charge affecting the moral character of any teacher within his district, first giving such teacher reasonable notice of the charge, and an opportunity to defend himself therefrom; and if he find the charge sustained, it is his duty to annul the teacher's certificate, by whomsoever granted, and to declare him unfit to teach. (Id. sec. 7.) Under the old system of licenses by town superintendents, a town superintendent in one case refused to examine a female who applied for examination as a teacher, on the ground that her moral character was not good; and his refusal to examine was not limited merely as to moral character, but also as to her learning and ability to teach a common school. The applicant appealed to the State superintendent, who examined as to her moral character, and decided that it was good and sufficient, and he directed the town superintendent to examine her in relation to her qualifications as a teacher of common schools, and if she was found qualified in other particulars than that of moral character, that he should license her accordingly. The town superintendent then examined her, and found that she was duly qualified as to learning and ability to teach a common school, and he offered her a certificate to that effect; but he declined to certify as to her moral character, as he could not conscientiously do so. The Court held that the town superintendent had done all that could legally be required of him. (People v. Masters, 21 Barb. 261.) It was also held in the same case that by the appeal the question of moral character was disposed of, and the State superintendent's decision on that question, together with the town superintendent's certificate of learning and ability, would entitle the applicant to teach. The State superintendent's authority to decide such questions can not be disputed, consequently the Court could not have held otherwise; but we have always thought it unfortunate that the State superintendent had not a higher appreciation of what is for the true interests of our public schools. Our examiners generally require too little evidence as to the moral character of candidates for certificates, and such decisions must have a tendency to make them require still less. In our opinion, school teachers should be above suspicion.
“Heaven doth with us as we with torches do
SEC. 9. NEW-JERSEY.-The town superintendents, in their examination of candidates for licenses to teach, are required particularly to have regard always to the moral character of the candidates. (School Laws of N. J. 1864, p. 17, sec. 34.) The law requires that the superintendents should be well satisfied not only with the learning of each applicant and his ability to teach, but with his moral character. With respect to learning and ability to teach, the examiners can easily satisfy themselves; but as to moral character the case is more difficult, and must, in a great measure, depend upon testimony, either verbal or written, from persons known and of good standing. This is not a matter to be passed over slightly; it is of equal importance that our teachers