Times have changed in schools since the time when most of us were students.
I remember, while attending Norris City Grade School, we started the day with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Also, when I was in the third and fourth grades, I remember our teacher Harriet Jordan playing and singing the song, “The Lord’s Prayer” on an old upright piano. That would be unheard of today. This was a four classroom school in Norris City.
A few years ago, a friend of ours took a job working as a security guard at a Southern Illinois high school. He was told when he was hired that school was very different than when he attended school. All we needed for a security guard at Norris City when I was in high school, was the Superintendent of Schools Humbert J. Phelps hollering, “Little boy” or “Little girl” when someone got out of line in the school hallway.
I came across a list of Rules and Regulations from Norris City School for Superintendent or Principal, Teachers, and Pupils dated in 1909. Number 5 about punishment is especially interesting. When I was in school, if I got into trouble, I got into worse trouble when I got home because my Dad would already know about it.
1. All teachers are required to make themselves familiar with all the rules of the Board and to see that they are faithfully obeyed.
2. All teachers are required to be at their respective rooms at least twenty minutes before time to open school.
3. Teachers shall observe the hours appointed for opening and dismissing school and shall during such time, devote their time to the duties of their charges.
4. No teacher shall dismiss her room before time without the consent of the superintendent. When for any cause the pupils of any room are dismissed before the regular time, the teacher shall require pupils to leave the building and premises immediately and in an orderly manner.
5. Teacher shall practice such discipline in their rooms as would be practiced by a kind, firm and judicious parent in his home. But they shall inflict corporal punishment when milder means have been tried and found to fail. The Superintendent being called only in cases when the teacher thinks she cannot punish the pupil.
6. It shall be an especial duty of the teachers to exercise watchful care as to the manners, conduct and habits of the pupils both during school hours and intermissions, and on the playground as well. They shall not permit unnecessary noise or rude behavior in the halls or rooms at any time.
7. In case of absence or tardiness teachers shall visit the parents or guardian or correspond with them as regards the cause. They must, at all times, use due diligence in securing good attendance and to prevent tardiness.
8. The teachers shall allow no agents or other persons to announce any public entertainment or take up the time of the schools or request any exercise from the pupils without a permit from the Superintendent or Board of Education.
9. The state course of study shall be the adopted course for all grades below the high school, and the teachers shall be expected to follow this course as nearly as is practicable.
10. Teachers are expected to give proper attention to the ventilation and temperature of their rooms. The room should be kept as near 70 degrees Fahrenheit as possible.
11. Each teacher having charge of a room shall make out a program of the exercise at the beginning of the term and shall post same in a conspicuous place in the room. A copy of the program shall be furnished the Superintendent if it is requested.
12. Each teacher shall keep his or her register nearly and accurately and in accordance with the prescribed forms suggested by the school law.
13. Teachers may, by getting consent of the Superintendent and Board of Education, visit other schools for the purpose of observing mode of instruction and discipline but not more than one day in any one term may be taken by any teacher and not more than one room be dismissed at the same time.
There was also a listing of Rules for Pupils in 1909; I’ll list it in a later article.
If anyone has any information about or pictures in this area to share with the readers of these articles please contact me at Edward Oliver, P. O. Box 456, Norris City, IL 62869 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.