Public Opinion Is Inclined to, Take Sides With the Woman’s Club In An Important Petition.

An interesting hearing, involving some equally interesting questions of public policy, was held before the Norwood School Board Monday evening, on a petition presented by the Norwood Woman’s Club, asking for the use of the High School main assembly room for the gatherings of community value such as the free community meetings or lectures given by the club last winter. The club held one of its community meetings in this room last winter. Afterward, the school board decided that it was rather prejudicial to school policy to have mixed assembly of adults occupying the school room in the evening, and the further lectures were given in Library Hall.

The Woman’s Club has continued quite tenacious, however, in its request for the High School room. The hearing Monday evening was fairly well attended. The meeting was called to order by Clifford B. Sanborn, chairman of the school board. Miss Emily Fisher, president of the Woman’s Club, made an address and explained the object of the meeting. The club considers its community meetings in the line of school extension work. Mrs. B. F. Colburn made a few remarks endorsing the position taken by Miss Fisher. Mrs. Waldo Bigelow read a letter from John T. Prince of the State Board of Education, supporting the position of the Woman’s Club in the matter.

Principal N. A. Cutler of the High school read a letter from Principal Lincoln of the Dorchester High School, which is considered one of the model high schools of the state. Mr. Lincoln appeared to think that the High school assembly room might very properly be used for such lectures or meetings as the club proposed holding. Mrs.L. H. Plimpton read a letter from New York bearing on the use of schoolrooms for Woman’s club educational purposes. Francis Doane, after a few remarks, asked the school board as individuals to express their views on the point at issue. This they readily proceeded to do. The hearing was then adjourned, the school board taking the whole matter under advisement.

There seems to be a wide and honest difference of opinion among the people one meets on the street in regard to the granting of the use of the High school room for the purposes asked for. Several hard-headed old residents, who might well pass for solid average citizens, expressed themselves very decidedly against granting the use of the High school room for the purpose asked for. They thought the school buildings were for school purposes, and to devote them to other purposes was a clear infringement of school rights and established a very bad and dangerous precedent. It should be remarked that in times past, and oven now in some small towns throughout the country, school rooms are used for all sorts of evening and other functions, from religious services to church fairs and social dances.

There is quite a large sentiment, however, in favor of the Woman’s Club position. There are some pretty sensible and independent-minded people who say that community lectures for old and young, like those held last winter, are things precisely in the line of what schoolhouses are for, that is, the education of the people. It will be remembered that a very similar question to the one now before the school board came up in town meeting when it was proposed to erect a $75,000 schoolhouse in the centre of the town. At that time much opposition was shown to putting a public hall in a school building. The petition of the Woman’s Club involves some rather important points of public policy and the decision of the school board will be awaited with considerable interest.

(The Norwood Advertiser)

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