Skip navigation

The Rhode Island State Home and School Project

RESOURCES

Presentations and Publications

An Act to Establish a State Home and School for Children


CHAPTER 418

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A STATE HOME AND SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN [1]

AN ACT IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 701 OF THE PUBLIC LAWS

Resolution to pay the members of the joint special committee to investigate the management of the State Home and School for Dependent Children, appointed at the January session of the general assembly in 1890.

Report of the Joint Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the State Home and School

It is established by the General Assembly as follows:

Section 1: The state board of education shall constitute the board of control of a state home and school for dependent and neglected children. Said board is hereby authorized to establish said home and school at some place to be hereafter designated, and to maintain the same in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Such institution shall be known as the state home and school for children.

Sec. 2: The said board shall establish a system of government for the institution, and shall make all necessary rules and regulations for imparting instruction, and for the proper training of the children. They shall appoint such officers, teachers and employees as shall be necessary, and prescribe their duties and fix their salaries.

Sec. 3: They shall receive, in accordance with rules by them established, such children as may be declared vagrant, neglected and dependent on the public for support, as provided in this act, who are over three and under fourteen years of age, and who are in suitable condition of mind and body to be instructed; for exceptional reasons, children under three years may be received, should the board deem it advisable. No children shall be retained in the institution who are of unsound mind, or who may be considered by the board improper inmates; and all children admitted shall remain until they are sixteen years of age, unless otherwise ordered by the board.

Sec. 4: It is declared to be the object of this act to provide for neglected and dependent children, not recognized as vicious or criminal, such influences as will lead toward an honest, intelligent and self-supporting manhood and womanhood - the state, as so far as possible, holding to them the parental relation. But if at any time in the discretion of the board, this object can be better attained by placing a child in a good family, they shall have the power to do so, on condition that its education shall be provided for by such family in the public school of the town or city where they may reside. The board are hereby made the legal guardians of all the children, who may become inmates of the home and school, and charged with the duty of following such children as may be placed in families, with watchful care, and of taking them back to their own immediate supervision if at any time they fail to receive kind and proper treatment and a fair elementary education.

Sec. 5: It shall be the duty of the superintendents or overseers of the poor in the several towns to bring before the courts of probate of such towns for examination, children supported in poor house or otherwise dependent on the public for support, or other children found to be in a state of vagrancy, want or suffering, or abandoned by their parents or guardians, or not having any home or settled abode or proper guardianship; and thereupon, it shall be the duty of the court of probate before whom any such child is brought, to investigate the facts and ascertain if the child is so supported, or is in a state of vagrancy, want and suffering, or is abandoned by its parents or guardians, or is without home or settled abode or proper guardianship; and also to ascertain its name, age, and the residence of its parents or guardians if it have any; and said courts of probate shall have power to compel attendance of witnesses. The parents or any friend may appear in behalf of any child, and the court of probate in its discretion, may request some suitable person to appear in behalf of any child; and if, on such examination, the court shall find that such child is so supported or dependent, or is in a state of vagrancy, want and suffering, or is so abandoned, or without home or settled abode or proper guardianship, it shall make a proper order, and shall deliver to the superintendent or overseer of the poor procuring such examination, a certified copy thereof, which shall contain besides such findings a statement of the facts ascertained as to the age of the child, place of birth, names and residence of its parents or guardians, and where and for what length of time, if at all, it has been supported at the expense of the town or state. Such certified copy of such order shall then be delivered with the child at the home and school to the presiding officer thereof. All expense attending the foregoing proceedings shall be paid by the town or city in which the child belongs: Provided, that the board of state charities and corrections shall transfer from the state almshouse to the state home and school for children, any children between the ages of three and fourteen years.

Sec. 6: The board shall provide, and always keep open for the inspection of all persons desiring to examine it, a book in which shall be registered the names, ages and places of birth of the children under their care; the residence of the parents or guardians as nearly as can be ascertained; the date when each child is received and from what town, and when he leaves the school; and whenever a child is placed in a family, the name residence and occupation of such family.

Sec. 7: The governor shall appoint three commissioners for leasing or purchasing at their discretion a suitable location for the state home and school, and the sum of fifteen thousand dollars is hereby appropriated for that purpose to be paid out of the treasury upon receipt of the properly authenticated vouchers. The site must be satisfactory to the board of control, and the deed, made to the State of Rhode Island, must be approved by the attorney-general before the property is paid for.


State Home and School [2]

The State Home and School for dependent and neglected children was Established by an act of the General Assembly, passed April 29, 1884, at the earnest solicitation of ladies known throughout the State, for long, faithful, intelligent and philanthropic service in all good works. Their desire was for an institution where children should be placed, who in their environment naturally drift into crime, but from whom, if taken young and properly surrounded, nothing but useful, self-supporting men and women could be expected; also, that the poor child should not be contaminated by contact with the criminal child; that the institution should be but a temporary home; and that the "Home property" should be separate and away from that of any other criminal institution.

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan had already established similar Institutions, with eminently satisfactory results, and public sentiment, at first somewhat adverse, now gives them hearty support.

The experience of these States has shown that the work in the beginning was not only unfamiliar to the mass of the people, but questioned by the officers of the other institutions who believed that children had better be taken to and kept in their own institutions. In all of these States the work has grown greatly in favor, and especially so in Michigan, where the dependent child is cared for.

In a letter received from Michigan the writer says, "I am so glad your 'Home' was not located among the other institutions of the State. It would, it seems to me, have ruined its prospects." Another gentleman from the same state writes, "Our law was enacted in 1871, which provided then as now for a radical separation of dependent children from delinquents. This was the first government that ever took that step. In framing the original law of the school, that, and the feature of a temporary home was my radical idea. In all I could read in the writings of social scientists, the most advanced said that these classes could be treated together. I did not believe it. I would not favor it. There was no reason why our innocent, poor child should be contaminated by contact with criminals, as in the Monson, Mass., school, and in all other public institutions for children.

The legislature of 1871 did not question the wisdom of this idea, and passed the law as framed. But in 1873 the legislature (of which I was not a member) undertook to destroy the work of 1871. Since then no similar effort has been made."

The Rhode Island State Home and School was opened for the reception of inmates in April, 1885, and during that year 26 children were admitted, as many as could be accommodated in the buildings then existing.

The whole number received to January 1st, 1887, has been males 43, females 17, making a total of 60, and the number of children in the Home on the same day was 50.

During the months of September and October more than two-thirds of the children were afflicted with whooping cough. At the present moment the health of the children is excellent.

Last year the Board of Education advised the erection of two additional wooden cottages, since which time, owing to a re-organization and consolidation of the employees of the Home, the farmer's home has been converted into a cottage, affording accommodation for about 15 children, and it will therefore recommend that but a single cottage and laundry be build this year.

The annual appropriation for 1886 was $10,000, and the current expenses for the same period $9,014.14.


The State Home and School [3]

The most evident sign of growth and favorable conditions for any people, is the desire to lift those who are dependent upon them for elevation in the scale of life. The State School is meeting a necessity that will prevent a class of dependents from growing up in idleness and fastening themselves upon the State as paupers. We would repeat the sentiment expressed by Mrs. E. B. Chase in an article written after the founding of this institution: "Let no taxpayer consider the money thus spent as thrown away. Our State has never performed a wiser, better, more self-protecting, ecumenical action than in the establishment of this State Home and School." It is not a penal institution in any sense, but a State Home and School for the dependent and neglected children that are deprived in various ways of the advantages of a home. Education is not a matter of the school solely. The human being is educated by the habits and conditions of the family of which they are members. The public schools are agencies for the education of children that are in the engagement of homes, and the State having guardianship over children less fortunate, provide for their education in the State Home and School. The great aim of this institution is to make it as much as a Home as possible. The facilities of these boys and girls are being trained in such a way that will form habits of right feeling and conduct. It may properly be called an elementary training school. Many of these children are very bright. "They are not sent here because they are criminals, but to prevent their being such." "There is an angel in this stone," says Angelo. May it not be true that some of these children have within them an angel that can be made to live by patient endeavor, such as the cold marble was made to reveal its hidden form of beauty by the genius of the master. We would say in regard to our State School, let it go on in its work of growth and conquest, and may it be extended and elevated at the same way as its prototype in Michigan. "That state has never gone backward, but with every advance step she has only rested to be sure she was right and again advance." The institution in Michigan was ready for use on the 18th day of May, 1874. Five cottages were completed with room for 150. Each succeeding legislature made appropriations to extend the work, and cottages have from time to time been added, and in 1884 there was room for 300. At that date 1005 children had been placed in homes, 913 had been reported upon by guardians. Our own state has made a fair commencement, and can well afford to carefully and thoughtfully devote much time and some money to perfect the system. The greatest need at the present time is in the laundry, as the accommodations and facilities for washing are very inadequate for the work. At the Michigan institution the clothes are washed in an ample laundry by improved steam appliances. In conclusion we would say that our State is engaged in a noble work, as it is extending its influence in reaching out its hand in child saving work. The three P's: press, pulpit and politicians should serve as a quickening power to make the project successful.


AN ACT IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 701 OF THE PUBLIC LAWS, PASSED AT THE JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 1888 ENTITLED "AN ACTION IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 418 OF THE PUBLIC LAWS PASSED AT THE JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 1884, ENTITLED ‘AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A STATE HOME AND SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN.'" [4]

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

Section 1. Section 3 of Chapter 418 of the Public Laws, passed at the January Session A.D. 1884, and amended by chapter 701 of the Public Laws, passed at

The January session, A.D. 1888 is hereby amended so as to read as follows:

"Sec. 3. They shall receive, in accordance with rules by them established, such children as may be declared vagrant, neglected, and dependent on the public for support, as provided in this act, who are over three and under fourteen years of age, and who are in suitable condition of mind and body to be instructed; for exceptional reasons, children under three years may be received, should the board deem it advisable. Any child who shall be found by the board to be of unsound mind, or who may be considered by the board an improper inmate of said institution, shall be forthwith returned by them to the authorities from whom said child was received, who are hereby required to receive the same; and all children admitted shall remain until they are eighteen years of age, unless otherwise ordered by the board."

Sec.2. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed, and this act shall take effect on and after its passage.


Resolution to pay the members of the joint special committee to investigate the management of the State Home and School for Dependent Children, appointed at the January session of the general assembly in 1890. [5]

Resolved, that the following sums be paid to the following named persons members of the joint special committee to investigate the management of the State Home and School:

Lorin M. Cook $ 120
Hiram Howard 120
William Von Gottschalk 120
Adin B. Capron 120
William J. Swinburne 120
George H. Utter 120
John F. Richmond 120
Walter A. Read 120
Byron A. Andrews 120
Franklin P. Owen 120

And the state auditor is directed to draw his orders on the general treasurer for the said several amounts out of any money appropriated in the treasury.


Report of the Joint Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the State Home and School [6]

To the Honorable General Assembly of Rhode Island:

The undersigned, members of the Joint Special Committee appointed under a resolution adopted by the General Assembly on April 8th, 1890, to investigate the management of the State Home and School, respectfully report as follows:

The Committee organized by electing as chairman Representative Loren M. Cook of Providence, and as Secretary Walter A. Read of Glocester. In order to expedite the work of the Committee, and to relieve its members of the vast amount of detail necessary to properly arrange the charges made against the management of the State Home and School R. B. Comstock, Esq., of Providence, was appointed as counsel for the Committee, and he associated with himself Arthur L. Brown, Esq.; and Mr. George Farnell was appointed stenographer. Notice was given of Mr. Comstock's appointment by advertisement in the papers of the State, especially in those sections from which the charges against the State Home and School had chiefly come, and all persons having charges to make were requested to present them to him.
At a public meeting of the Committee held in the Senate Chamber on Wednesday, April 16th, those present having complaints to make were told to confer with Mr. Comstock, and he was instructed to formulate the charges and present them to the Committee and the counsel for the management of the School - James M. Ripley, Esq., for the State Board of Education, and Nicholas Van Slyck, Esq., for the Superintendent, Mr. Martin C. Healey - on Wednesday, April 23rd. Mr Comstock did this work and presented the following twelve charges, which on the following day, April 24th, were made public through the daily newspapers of Providence.

1st. That brutal and cruel punishment have been inflicted upon the children in said School, viz. severe beating on the feet, in some cases causing lameness; beating on the body, in some cases causing welts, bruises, and black-and-blue marks; beating of young children by stick or ruler; horsewhipping of the boys; striking of children with the hands so as to cause bruises and black eyes; choking of children, in some cases causing bruises, and leaving the marks of fingers and nails upon their throats; confining children to the house for a long time; confinement of children in the cellar and in dark closets; depriving the children of food.

2d. That corporal punishment has been inflicted with unnecessary frequency.

3d. That punishments have been inflicted for very trivial faults, which could have been more effectually remedied without punishment.

4th. That punishments have been unwisely and unnecessarily inflicted for faults arising from physical causes which should have received the careful and considerate attention of the management, and which could not, from their very nature, have been remedied by punishment.

5th. That the children have not been regularly supplied with sufficient and proper food.

6th. That the fundamental idea of the institution, as expressed in the act establishing it, and in the rules created for its government, to make a home for the children, has been subverted by the adoption of the methods of reformatory institutions, and by a system of harsh enforcement of discipline.

7th. That the whole design and purpose of the School, as expressed in the act establishing it, has been subverted by its present management.

8th. That designs and purposes of the present management tend more to the improvement and ornamentation of the grounds and plant than to the proper training and education of the children entrusted to the management.

9th. That the management of said State Home and School for Dependent Children, as conducted by the present Superintendent and matron is generally harsh, oppressive, and injudicious, and does not tend to encourage in the officers and teachers a proper appreciation of the necessity for a kind and considerate treatment of the children.

10th. That sufficient provision is not made for the proper care and treatment of children afflicted by sickness or disease, and that proper attention is not given thereto by the present management.

11th. That many of said children have been put to hard, protracted and severe labor, to the detriment of their proper education, and with greater regard to making a show of economical management, and to the improvement of the condition of the grounds and buildings, than to their own welfare.

12th. That the rule prescribed by the Board of Education, requiring a record of all cases of corporal punishment, with the reasons therefore and the extent thereof, has been violated by the present Superintendent.

The Committee began to take testimony first from the complainants, on Monday, May 5th, and continued in public session daily, except Thursday, May 8th, until Tuesday, May 13th. The hearing of the testimony was concluded on Monday, May 12th, and Tuesday was occupied with the summing-up. Mrs. Elizabeth B. Chase was given permission to read a prepared address, after which Mr. Van Slyck reviewed the testimony in behalf of the Superintendent, and Mr. Comstock in support of the charges.

On Wednesday, May 14th, the Committee assembled to consider the testimony. It was the unanimous opinion that the charges could be condensed into four questions, and that in answering these questions the testimony presented to the Committee would be covered. These questions, as finally framed, were as follows:

In answering these questions the Committee presents its conclusions as to the charges made against the management of the State Home and School, basing them upon the testimony presented during the investigation, what the Committee has seen at the School, and the previous knowledge of its members as to the School and its work.

I. Have the children been properly and sufficiently nourished?

The appearance of the children now at the Home, the undisputed testimony that they improve physically after coming there, the entire absence of any infectious epidemic, and the small number of deaths - four only - which have occurred at the Home since its establishment in 1885, prove to us that they have been sufficiently nourished. Whether they have been "properly" nourished is largely a question of individual judgment. We think it would have been better had there been a greater variety in the food, and a variation from the regular daily routine. Also, we think the milk furnished the children should not be skimmed in the least, and that they should be given butter, or some substitute for it. Upon whom the responsibility for the past lack of variety rests, we hardly knew. The Superintendent has evidently endeavored to manage the establishment economically, to meet the approval of the State Board of Education; and the Board, knowing the reluctance with which money for this institution has been granted, has evidently hesitated to ask the General Assembly for the increased appropriations needed if the bill of fare was to be much changed or enlarged. Yet, we can hardly believe, had the Board given the facts to the Assembly, and properly pressed them upon the attention of the members, that the needed money would have been withheld. At any rate, there is no longer cause for such a hesitancy, and the General Assembly cannot do a better thing than to readily grant the needed funds. To detail the changes which should be made, is not the duty of this Committee; but it is its duty to urge that some change be made. The weakly (sic) routine of food has been such that every child could know what would be served on any particular day of the week for weeks in advance. This should not be so; on the contrary, whoever has charge of the arrangement of the meals should vary the order, so that when the children come to the table there may be some feeling other than that of simply being fed. One other change we would also recommend, which is that the larger children, those employed on the farm or in the heavier work about the houses, be given a food more suited in the kind to keep up their physical strength, and to meet the needs of their growth, than is that given to the little ones, and those not so employed.

II. Have the children been required to do too much or too hard work?

It was very evident from the testimony that this is largely a matter of personal opinion. No testimony was presented to show that a child had been in any way injured by the work, either in kind or in quantity. The larger boys are employed upon the farm during six months of the year, working much as do farmer boys throughout the State; the larger girls work in the kitchen part of the time; and others, both boys and girls, scrub the floor (which are without coverings,) take care of the beds, and do other light work about the cottages. But this occupies only a part of the time, leaving opportunity for play both in and out of doors. School privileges are afforded on the grounds, one lady being engaged as a teacher.

In the testimony there was one case which looked like over-work. That was the case of Bessie Leeman, who assisted the cook in the kitchen. But the witness who testified to this also testified that for the two weeks Bessie was the only assistant, there was no other girl at the Home large enough to work with her, and that only such work as was necessary was done. It was also clearly proven that the duties of these kitchen girls were largely regulated by the cook, and that she was supposed to use her judgement in fitting the task to the child. Therefore, we are of the opinion that, even in this case, the work required was not so severe as it at first appeared; and that the amount required was not excessive, considering the temporary lack of other help and its short duration.

The Committee recommend that the day-school facilities of the Home be increased, so that the children may receive such an amount of instruction as the originators of the School intended; and also, that an effort be made to instruct the children in the more simple trades and the use of tools, the boys being taught by the carpenter and others employed in the place, and the girls being trained in plain needlework and kindred pursuits. We also recommend that sufficient employed help be used in the kitchen so that no child be deprived of the school facilities.

Right here we wish to add, that it seems to us the Home can fulfill it mission in no better way that to instruct the little waifs who come to it that labor is both necessary and honorable. The habit formed of doing something, and doing it well, is the best weapon with which to fight the inclination to pauperism or crime. Without that habit formed, it makes little difference whether a child comes from a home presided over by a natural mother or one furnished by the State, the result of its life must be a disappointment to itself and to all who have an interest in it.

III. Have there been (a) unusual, (b) severe, or (c) unjustifiable punishment?

Certain things were proven or admitted in the testimony, which should be stated before we consider the question proper. It was shown conclusively:

1st. That the State Board gave to the Superintendent, and expected him to use, a discretionary power in the matter of punishments, though they also gave him printed instructions on the subject.

2d. That the Superintendent in turn gave to his assistants like powers, though he was, by the printed rules, expected to administer all corporal punishments.

3rd. That punishments, corporal and otherwise, were administered by both Superintendent and assistants.

4th. That punishments, other than corporal, consisted of deprivation of supper, deprivation of play, and numerous others depending much upon the inventive ability of the Superintendent of the assistants.

5th. That the Superintendent whipped upon the feet with an ash stick, about eighteen inches long, three-quarters of an inch wide, with rounded edges, tapering from the handle to the point, and weighing three ounces; and that he also punished with some other instrument or with his hand, when not in his office.

6th. That the Superintendent generally punished children by themselves, and without any witness being present, and that the assistants judged of the severity by the information received from the child and the appearance of the part of the body said to have been punished.

7th. That the assistants sent to the Superintendent many children whom he did not punish.

8th. That the Superintendent did not always comply with the rule requiring him to make a record of a punishment administered.

With these facts in view, we reach the following conclusions:

(a) We find that unusual punishments were administered, as in the case of whipping on the feet. In our opinion the Superintendent was not warranted in using this method of punishment - a method repugnant to the sentiment of every Christian community, and one which we condemn as unnecessary and cruel. Whipping on the feet is too closely associated in the public mind with a criminal punishment to allow of its being used for purposes of correction only. Perhaps at the time it is administered the child may think only of the pain, but in after years, when it comes to know the associations of such punishments, it cannot fail to think of itself as the outcome of a penal, rather than a fostering institution; and thus one of the main objects of the Home and School would be frustrated. We are of the opinion, also, that the deprivation of supper was in some cases done in a manner which made it unusual, and for which no adequate excuse can be presented.

(b) There were cases of severe punishment, though we do not think all of those charged were proven. By severe, we mean punishment greater than the wrong-doing would warrant, or greater than the child being punished should have received physically. It does not seem to us that for whispering, or even for conversation, at the table, unless it should become boisterous and defiant, a child should be deprived of a meal; yet two teachers testified that they sometimes did this, though they could use discretion in the matter. Other instances were proven where children had been punished with a severity out of proportion with the misdemeanor. On the other hand, however, we realize how difficult it is, when removed from the circumstances, to correctly judge of such matters, and therefore we hesitate to condemn in the instances proven without qualification. The swollen feet and black-and - blue marks on certain children prove to us the severity of the punishment was not always tempered to the child physically, as well as that the punishment was inflicted with unnecessary physical force. We are not unmindful of the fact that the Superintendent was sorely tried; or of that greater fact that a few unruly spirits in a school of this kind, unless physically overcome, could cause a disaster to all discipline and make the institution a failure. But we are convinced by the testimony that there were cases in which the punishments were too severe.

(c) We do not think that the evidence showed that the punishments were unjustified in that they were administered without cause. With this statement, however, should be taken what has already been said as to the severity in certain cases, but the testimony did not prove that children had been causelessly punished. It was shown, however, that children were whipped for wetting their beds, and that in some cases such punishment were administered with what we believe to be too great frequency; and while other causes, such as self-abuse and laziness, might in a few cases have been the real reason for such wetting, a physical weakness was admitted to be frequently found among the children, which showed itself in this way. We do not think, judging from the evidence above, that the management used sufficient care to ascertain which of the scholars were unable to retain their urine from causes beyond their control, and which from causes deserving severe punishment; and that neglect, we condemn.

Before we leave this subject of punishments, we wish to say that we are convinced that an institution like our State Home and School cannot be successfully conducted without corporal punishment of some kind. This being allowed, the Superintendent must be given discretion in its use. As in different families different methods have to be used, and even in the same family the severity of punishments vary, so in a Home with a hundred or more inmates, coming from all conditions of previous training or lack of training, the methods and the severity cannot be always the same. It was the unanimous testimony of the witnesses before the Committee, when questioned on the subject, that the children at the Home do not bear the indicatives of being cowed or ruled by fear, and what the Committee saw at the home supports this testimony. With this discretion in the use of corporal punishment which must be given to the Superintendent, must also go an understanding that he and his assistants are to be held to a strict accountability for its use. When a child commits an offence of sufficient quality to require corporal punishment, that punishment should be administered only in the presence of one assistant at least, and better two, and a permanent record, certified to by the witness or witnesses, should be made at the time; and if a child is sent to the Superintendent for punishment by any assistant, that assistant should always be present at the time of the punishment.

IV. Have the members of the State Board of Education neglected to give to the School the personal attention and oversight which the people of the State have a right to expect, and which the best interests of the School require?

We think they have, in both the latitude they gave to the Superintendent, and their failure to look after the assistants and the details of the institution. But we also think that this neglect is the result of the system of appointing to the Board rather than to any willing neglect on the part of its members: The Board of Education consists of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor ex-officio, and six other gentlemen selected from different parts of the State by the Grand Committee of the General Assembly. The first two cannot be expected to give time or attention to the detail work of the Board, and the six elected members, unless their interest in educational matters is considerable, finding the work of the Board largely overshadowed by that to the Commissioner of Public Schools, who is ex-officio Secretary of the Board, are liable to drop out of its councils and to yield their individual opinions to those of others whom they think have given more time and attention to the matters in hand. The Board has put the care of the State Home and School upon a sub-committee of theirs, and this sub-committee is supposed to take the immediate oversight of the institution. It was proven by the testimony, that this sub-committee, having confidence in the Superintendent, had not examined into the details of the institution as they should have done. They allowed to many things to go without questioning, and as a consequence the Superintendent became careless about reporting to the sub-committee the smaller, every-day occurrences. It seems to us that in so doing they did not fulfill their duty to the State, or to the children under their charge. We say this in no censurable spirit, except as any public official is open to censure if he fails to do his whole duty. We believe that so long as the Home and School is allowed to continue under the present method of oversight, just so long it will be subject to charges such as have been brought before this Committee of Investigation.


Conclusion

From the foregoing it will be seen that we think the State Board of Education has failed to do its full duty, and that we censure the Superintendent for whipping children upon the feet and for the severity of punishment in certain instances. At the same time, however, we wish to express our belief that the Home and School should be encouraged and fostered by the State. The General Assembly should be more liberal in its appropriations. Conveniences should be provided sufficient to accommodate all the children in single beds, A hospital should be provided not only for those seriously sick, (should such ever be there,) but also for those who are suffering from the little ailings peculiar to all children, thus allowing them to be removed from the aggravating noise of the other children at play, and putting them where some one person can give her entire attention to their little wants. Other additions we think might be made, now hat the Home and School has become admittedly a permanent institution. Finally, therefore, while we censure the management in the ways already indicated, we do not overlook the good results accomplished in other ways; and whatever actions the General Assembly may take as a result of the investigation by this Committee, in determining upon such action the good results, as well as the Committee's censures, should be considered.

Together with this report is presented a verbatim copy of the sworn testimony taken during the entire investigation, prepared by Mr. Farnell, the official stenographer of the Committee.

On the part of the House:

Lorin M. Cook
Hiram Howard
Aden Capron
Wm vonGottschalk
William J. Swinburne

On the part of the Senate:
Geo. H. Utter
John F. Richmond
Walter A. Read
Byron A. Andrews
Franklin P. Owen

Report of the Joint Special Committee to Investigate the Management of the State Home and School for Dependent Children Presented by Lorin M Cook for the Committee.

Notice of May 29, 1890 received and ordered to be communicated to the senate and 1000 copies ordered printed.


[1] Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. R. L. Freeman, state printer. Passed at January Session, 1884 (page 152-155). Transcribed, E. P. Morenon 5/30/01

[2] Appendix, Public Document No 1, Message of George Peabody Wetmore, Governor or Rhode Island, to the General Assembly at its January Session, A. D. 1887 (pages 12-14)

[3] Public Document No 14, Annual Report of the Women's Board of Visitors to the Penal and Correctional Institutions of the State Made to the General Assembly at the January Session, AD 1887. (page 10-11 only)

[4] Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. January Session, 1889 (page 240). Chapter 772 Passed April 26, 1889.
Found at Rhode Island State Archives and Transcribed by Susan B. Hughes 6/12/01.

[5] Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. January Session, 1890 (page 344). Resolution of a Public and Private Nature
No. 2 Passed May 30, 1890.Found at Rhode Island State Archives and Transcribed by Liz Trimbach 6/12/01

[6] Report of the Joint Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the State Home and School, Presented by Loren M. Cook on behalf of the Committee and received in the House of Representatives, May 29, 1890. 1000 copies were printed and distributed, but a Xerox copy of the original handwritten report was made available by the State Archives on 2/04/02 and transcribe in this present form on 2/06/02 by E. Pierre Morenon

To learn more about the project contact Patricia Nolin, Special Assistant to the President, call (401) 456-9854, or email pnolin@ric.edu.

To contribute to the oral history project contact Diane Martell at dmartell@ric.edu (email) or 401-456-8628 (phone).