Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, January 21, 1912, MAGAZINE, Image 19

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PAGK 03TE 10 loUE
VOL. - XII NO.- 31.
Boys Given New Tight on Life at State Industrial School
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WITH th opening of pobllc Kbool build
ings In Chicago to dancing and other ,
amusements tend lot to create social
' center to which young men and
women will be attracted from the
'streets and public dance balls come editorials from
tbe press of the country denouncing the step , as
retrogressive In the ultimate object-sought that
of substituting good, for bad influences over the
future men and women of the country which tbe
home bas failed to give.. . '
These editorials deplore tbe fallacy of all
schemes that seek to give the influence by means
that lead the growing child away from home. That
there is a weakness in tbe Influence of the homes
of the land Is admitted. Tbe home as the unit of
I conization holds the key to the situation, but this
t failure of tb borne Is a reality nowhere better
' Illustrated than by tbe Inmates of ths horn pro
vided by the state, of Nebraska for boys that have
: passed beyond the pal of horn Influence and
restraint. This membership has gradually In
creased In tbe last twenty-six months from seventy
eight to 188 Inmates. -
This great family of possibilities Is mads up of
'Individual members adjudged and committed to the
car and keeping of the commonwealth, thus
throating on the shoulder of the stats proteges
that cannot be guided and -controlled by parental
discipline or mother's ear; or If denied then, as Is
true In many cases, - then thst of relatives or
guardians. ... ,
State Long Ago Took Heed of Boy' Needs
Nebraska's bom for boys, established thirty
three years ago, and msCe the Nebraska State In
dustrial school, but popularly known as the reform
school, bas within the last few years made marked
advances toward attaining .the desideratum for
which it was founded. Today the creed of the in
stitution is stated in the trinity character build
ing, first; education useful In a business or mechan
"ical career, second r and the mastery of a useful
trade, that tb young man may become a self-supporting
citizen, third.
I Tbe policy is changed) from tb objective point
of securing sufficient merits to cancel all demerits
so that the boy may b paroled to that of a complete
mastery of 1 trade. Many Instances of boys with
an "honor" month to their credit asking to remain
a month, six months or a year longer that they
might complete their training in the trade they are
learning, or that they might receive further in
- traction In their music, serve aa proof of this
change. :
Each Inmate when committed is given to under-
stsnd his equality In every respect to every other
boy la the institution. His past record Is not
quired Into, nor are, questions asked concerning
it. However, a record of that Is secured for the
superintendent's reference. Tbe boys are no longer
assigned to different grades of punishment by re-
, celvlng a different number of demerits to work off.
'The principle of -tbe indeterminate sentence is
worked out by giving all boys enrolled an equal
number of demerits: the only classification made
being one of site. This is necessary for the mili
tary drill. It is useful la that the young boy who
is overgTown is found better able to associate with
fellows cf his sise than those of his sge, and tbe
older boy. diminutive In size. Is fcfund lackinr Jr-
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leadership, so bis Influence on those with whom b , , i NlrVi7 , (ij. 1 L Wi1 , ""ft, f, "iWH
is classed Is not necessarily vicious. -5 2tJ3G Mf
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' .- . . JOAIyY TO A SWJ2T , . ' ' ' ,
Boys Travel Alone on Honor
Tbe acme of faith In a boy was reached, It was
thought, a few years ago, when the superintendent
then in charge ssw fit to hare boys committed to
tbe school make the Journey from the place of
commitment to tbe institution unattended by an
officer. ' A further step is In practice today. Even
a bad boy, one who Is not yet on bis "honor"
month. Is granted a furlough of one or two weeks',
duration. He Is allowed to go to bis bom on a
visit and returns a better boy. Since the InsuguraA
tlon of this plsn two years sgo there bss not been
a boy who has failed to return from such a fur
lough. There have been many Instances of escaped
boys voluntsrily returning to the Institution,' some
arriving at 1 or S o'clock In tbe morning.
While all these changes seemingly denote laxer
methods than those -employed under the penal
system that aped the penitentiary. It Is paradox
Ically true that the methods are even more vigilant
than formerly. Instead of allowing the boys to
spend the nights in the dormitory bedrooms alone,
where soundless orgies might be -possible, addi
tional night watchmen have been employed to tb
extent of having one in each building.. '
Iamates Live a Families
Tbe Inmates are divided into five families or
grade. At tb bead of each grade, living la tb
grade cottage, Is tb grade manager. His duties are
multifarious, having general supervision of thos
under his charge; seeing that each Inmate deports
himself in a proper manner; that each maintains
proper cleanliness. Truly a task, for the are
American boys. ' He Is their teacher, giving regular
class room instruction. He looks after each Inmate's
diet, reports all cases of sickness, sees that the re
quirements of tbe attending physician are carried
out, looks after their clothing as a mother would.
noon hour on tbe athletic field. In the evenings
tbe play rooms, one located In each cottage, are
opened for their amusement and diversion. The
school also bas a nice skating pond nearby. Bu
balls, bats, masks, gloves, foot balls, boxing gloves,
etc,-are hanging on ths hooks of the owners. A
strict enforcement of tbe right to private property
Is enforced, no one taking th other's cstcblng
glove, bat or skates, without permission.
In the administration building a well equipped
library is at their disposal,, but. contrary to expec
tations, tbe books preferred ar not those of fiction.
Tb boys favpr books of travel, outdoor life and
biography, especially tbat ef great Americans,
with Lincoln and Washington, holding prominent
places. - "
The school system begins with tbe primary
Tades. some coming to the school unable to writ
keeps a daily record of th deportment of each and their own names. Instruction la given In li sub
reports any Infringement of the rules and regula- jects usually taught In. grammar schools. Th
tloas to th superintendent He Is held responsible greatest number of tb inmates ar In or below
by the superintendent for the discipline of the
members in bis cottage. All of this be does for
the bountiful stipend of SCS.fS a month. Where it
Is possible to secure a manager with a wife and no
children th wife holds th position of bouse
matron. 8b fills in th lark of feminine love and
foresight by such touches here and ther as her
maternal Instinct prompts In the alleviating of dis
comfort In tbe lives of boys in her cottage. - fihe
has general supervision of tbe .cottage, doing that
"and-so-forth" element of housework' which takes
so much of a woman's time without any apparent
result; which, being translated into Nebraska
English (pay mean "going back and. forth.".
Tb Annates of tbe cottage sleep In th dor
mitory, located on the second floor, more for pre
caution than for convenlence.'A general undressing
room outside of U main bedroom Is provided
'the seventh grade, but studies ar orrered as blgn
as the capabilities of th Individuals admit, some
students receiving as high as tenth grade high
school Instruction. Tbcy attend school four hours
dslly, the forenoon usually being devoted to class
room instruction. There is practically no differ
ence In tbe metbcls employed in their instruction
and that given In the )est public schools.
Vocational Training I Fcatored.
When a boy arrives at tb school hs is at one
assigned to" some dpartmont for work. It be
"fits in" and takes 10 tbat particular kind of work,
he Is kept at that trade during his whole stay
In th Institution, or until th' bas thoroughly
mastered It. If he fail to f& U1'8
first assignment, then he' Is tried at something
else, practically following the-lines of the voca-
with hooks, on which the boy hs'ng their clothes - tlonal schools now be'" established In different
' ' cities of the United ! aes. - Thi plan has been In
v 1 ' 'vogue In several rountrle of -Europe for a good
by night and their nighties by day.
' - All Diae at Same Time ' ' " '
Boys assemble la the morning In time for
breakfast, which Is served at. tb general dining
room In the industrial building. All Inmate 'dine
In the same room simultaneously,-nnder the super
vision of managers. After Breakfast tb boys go
to their details and school. Is called. .; . . .
rermlzsioa is granted for' a short J3' m 12Z
many years. '
la the laundry, f"' instance, which ts equipped
with all modern app nce of a first class steam
Isnndry, a boy fan become skilled In laundry
work, and If he " ""P1' n'nself faithfully, on
being' paroled he nii.ot fear to accept a Job
anywhere. The' nd -Kkin f In-
,stitution is all don In one department, with at
up-to-date plant, and a boy with any sort of
natural bent for baking or cooking bas ample
opportunity to become proficient. It Is a bosst
of the institution tbat aa good bread Is produced
here as can be made. The negro Inmate ar es
pecially fitted for this clsss of work and many of
them ar employed here. The result is that when
they again go forth Into th world they hav a
practical working knowledge tbat tits them to take
places as cooks or bakers.
In the tailoring department, where those who
show any skill with tb needle ar given a chance
to perfect themselves, all tb clothing used by
th Inmate 1 made, except underwear and socks.
Th output of this shop Is no small Item, since each
boy ha tvo suits of clothes, on of rough kbskl
for everyday us and a neat dress. suit of gray.
The caps to match are also made In tbe tailor
shop. Here, too, all the patching Is done, snd
every morning there Is a pile or clothing at hand
waiting repairs. When a boy leaves for home b
is given a neat suit of dvilisa elottfes msd to
bis measure.
Made Fair of Shoe for Governor.
Governor Chester H. Aidrlch wss presented
with a pair of shoes, lsst Christmas, made in tbe
sbo shop of tbe Industrial school. He hsa testi
fied they ar delightfully comfortable. The
great handicap here. In the view of tbe authorities.
Is th absence of shoemaking machinery. All
the work Is done by hand. Tbe Juvenile shoe
makers turn out a goodly tal of work Just th
ssme. Each Inmate bas two pairs of shoes, on
for working In and another for dress occasions.
Besides, each lad gets a new pair when he leaves
the school.
Boys with a hunch for farming or dsirying can
have the benefit of practical work and lrstructlon
In both branches of agriculture; a skilled farmer
and dairyman gives systematic Instruction, and
farm economics are emphaaised In the teaching.
On rented land adjoining tb school grounds th
farmer boy raise vegetables, alfalfa, sugar beets
and other crops. They also have the task of
doing the hauling and cartn&latjiin istsW work-
Besides supplying th needs of tb school family
the farming is so successful ther Is 'always
goodly surplus for Sale. ',
On of th most popular trades with , a good
many of tbe inmates is that of learning musie
snd to "play an instrument. . When a. competent
director wss employed for th school this "trad"
began to pick up at a wonderful rat. He found!
a long-limbed, ungainly boy doing chores about
the place, and at once said, "I'll make a cracker
Jack trombone player out of that chap. Today
tbe former chore-boy. after sixteen months' In
struction, will plsy sn entire selectlol of a heavy;
overture, under crlticsl Inspection, with bat a
cssual glance at the score. Others hav bm
quit aa successful with the cornet, clarinet, bari
tone horn, flute snd other Instruments. BUtr
boys ar now enrolled in tbe band, and not a few
have asked perm'stion to remain after their
"honor" month 'to perfect themselves aa nual-
How a -oy Works His Way Out.
In tbe matter of discipline, it may be sum
msrixed thus: On being enrolled, each boy ts given
C.0OO demerits. He can win ten merits per day fop
good behavior, and these go to cancel his de
merit. A perfect record for a month win twenty
ftve extra merits. Three months of good con
duct win an extra 100 merits, making ITS extra
merits for each quarter of perfect deportment.
Extraordinary service of any kind wins still other
extra merit marks. When h bas canceled all
his demerits he enters upon a final month, called
"honor" month. Usually tbe boys pass through
this final, period without spoiling their, record,
and If a good home is awaiting a lad he is paroled
for four months. It everything is "right" at the
end of four months, the parole I extended fori
one year, and this ia again extended, from yea?
to year, until tb boy reaches his majority. ,
Corporal punishment may be given, upon ordes
of tbe superintendent, for attempts to escape, for?
Immorality and for insubordination.' This ia
limited to a good sound spanking on the one ap
propriate place provided - by -nature. Tb oc
casions for administering this form of punishment
ar few and far between. s .