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HH62/2/ROSS/7

Transcription

[Page] 6

ceed in our report. Meantime, assuming that this is the true
state of matters, how are we to set about reform? It is plain
that it cannot go very far and take a good hold unless the
people themselves are more or less in sympathy with it. Mere
coercion will not do.
Having considered this matter very carefully we are con-
vinced that efforts must be consistently made to explain the
principles of Hygiene. Acting on this conviction, at the invi-
tation of the Association for Advanced Education in the County,
I agreed to deliver a course of lectures on Hygiene weekly, both
at Dingwall and Tain, and a similar course is being given in
Stornoway by Dr Macdonald, whose name I took leave to men-
tion to the Association. I am glad to say that these lectures
are well attended, and that several teachers are taking advant-
age of them in order to qualify themselves to, in turn, teach
Hygiene to their pupils. I would press on the County Council
the view that a knowledge of the laws of health must begin in
the Public Schools of the County. It is not to be expected that
the older people will change their ways of living or will even
see anything wrong therein. But it is different with the young.
Their minds are open and plastic, and almost anything can be
made of them by their schoolmasters. Of the close connec-
tion between morals and manners need not insist. And surely
I do not require to point out what civilisers such as agencies
may become. Correct ideas as to personal cleanliness and
decency every boy and girl must feel break down barriers be-
tween himself or herself and the outer world, and allow them
to go forth to the world on equal terms with other competitors.
But I would wish to insist still further on this point because the
schoolmaster can here teach both by precept and example.
Every sanitary arrangement connected with a public school
ought to be perfect, because the health of the children so much
depends on it. The cubic space allowed is as a rule much too
small, hence all the more need for free ventilation. Then it is
almost certain that most outbreaks of epidemics can be traced to
school gatherings - another powerful argument in favour of strict
attention to every sanitary detail. And supposing all these
perfect, it is further essential that the schoolmaster should
himself be thoroughly acquainted with the laws of health, should

[Page] 7

indeed know a great deal about physiology; the working of the
different organs especially of the brain; the care of the senses
such as the eyesight; but above all be an enthusiast in the
cause of sanitation. There are many teachers who both under-
stand and practice the laws of health, but, I am sorry to say,
there are others who are careless or indifferent. I consider
it the bounden duty of every schoolmaster to make a daily in-
spection of the offices connected with the school, to note and
correct any nuisance, to see that the scavenging is properly
done, to make sure that the water supply is abundant and pure,
and to personally supervise the ventilation by freely opening
all the windows during the intervals of work, and specially at
night. Further, he should make sure that the floors are pro-
perly swept, periodically washed, and at longer intervals the
walls cleaned down and whitewashed or painted.
But the teachers cannot be expected to look after all these
matters unless the School Boards do their duty in the first place.
I have taken special pains to visit most of the Schools in the
County, and I am very sorry to have to say that the great
majority are sanitarily disgraceful. I shall give details in
another portion of this report, but I may be allowed to point
out in this place, the chief faults. First, a great many Schools
have no proper supply of abundant and pure drinking water on
or about the premises. A healthy active boy in the summer
season will drink at least a quart of water daily. There are
schools with 200 children in attendance with no water within
a quarter of a mile. How can such children be healthy? Second,
there are very few Schools provided with lavatories, or where
there are such in existence they are out of order. Third, where
water-closets have been provided they have in most cases be-
come broken down. Fourth, there is hardly such a thing any-
where as a proper urinal with some simple flush and drain.
They may be all said to smell vilely. Privies as a rule are
badly planned and ill-kept, and there it a great want of method
in cleansing them out sufficiently often. I have no hesitation
in insisting that every School should have an ample supply
of water for drinking and for cleansing. The first may be
most conveniently obtained, as indeed, in most cases it is obtained
by sinking a well. It is simply marvellous to find that

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