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if it were not for their insanitary rural neighbors. Blind adherence to the old belief in nature as the only necessary sanitary agency, the lack of sanitary inspection, and the antiquated methods of the schools in emphasizing human anatomy instead of personal, school, and community hygiene and sanitation, have been instrumental in keeping several million rural people in the continual thralldom of typhoid fever, malaria, pneumonia, hookworm, and many other preventable diseases.
Under these conditions it is refreshing to report what the Pennsylvania State Department of Health is doing to eradicate disease in rural Pennsylvania, as was so graphically shown in the State board's exhibit in the Palace of Education.
Massachusetts, New York, Florida, and several other States have compulsory medical inspection in rural communities, but in no one State probably has the work been so thoroughly done as in Pennsylvania. The exhibit in the Palace of Education was complete in the field of school hygiene, and particularly so in rural school hygiene. The practical application of the principles of hygiene to school life is evidenced in two directions: First, personal hygiene as directed by medical inspection to the physical and mental development of the pupil; second, environmental hygiene as directed to the buildings and equipment under which school life is maintained.
In Pennsylvania all health authority is centralized in the person of the commissioner of health and an advisory board with authority to promulgate necessary rules and regulations. The commissioner of health has supervisory control in health affairs of the entire population of the State. As was shown in a county map of the State, the total number of persons working under the commissioner of health was 4,084. These include rural health officers, school medical inspectors, local registrars of vital statistics, tuberculosis dispensary physicians and nurses, sanitary inspectors, distributors of biological products, county medical inspectors, and marriage returns clerks.
A relief model of the State 301 by 62 inches in size indicated the location of all the rural schools of the State. A legend near by read “ 400,000 children in rural schools are examined by the State department of health in Pennsylvania. At the same time a sanitary inspection is made of the buildings as to heating, lighting, ventilating, sanitary conveniences, and water supply.” A series of interesting photographs dealt with school medical inspection service, showing the inspector and teacher taking temperature and pulse rate of pupil, testing vision in rural school, examining eyes for conjunctivitis, trachoma, etc. Other legends stated that 72.7 per cent of all school children have some form of physical defect which influences their mental and physical progress; that 24.2 per cent of all school children have defects of vision which retard their mental progress; that 3.2 of all school children have some degree of defective hearing; that 51.7 have defects of the teeth which interfere more or less with speech and proper mastication and digestion of food; that 35 per cent are affected with some occlusion of the upper air passage which favors mouth breathing and its consequent ills, such as frequent attacks of tonsilitis, nasal and pharyngeal catarrh, and lung affections.
The exhibit contained many interesting photographs and models of old and new rural schools, giving school interiors with practical equipment as well as well-planned school grounds with pay apparatus and everything else necessary for happy, wholesome play life at the school.
One section of the exhibit was devoted to nourishment of school children. One legend stated that improper feeding and underfeeding of school children is a prolific source of retardation and physical deficiency. Transparencies gave interesting views of penny school lunches, 3-cent school lunches, and free school lunches for undernourished children. Other photographs, transparencies, and models dealt with the children's play life, such as open-air sports, gymnastics and systematic recreation, school fêtes, flower dances, May Day pageants, and folk dances. Similar photographs and transparencies dealt with many phases of household arts. Open-air schools, too, were emphasized for their value in educational as well as physical development of children who would, under ordinary conditions, have been inefficient in both respects.
In connection with the Pennsylvania State Department of Health exhibit, it is interesting to reproduce the latest figures compiled by the board's service of its 1915 inspection of Pennsylvania rural communities: Total number of rural pupils examined--
469, 199 Number of defectives (71.48 per cent)
375, 427 Percentage of defectives, native born--
94.95 Cases of defective vision..
83, 748 Hearing
15, 600 Breathing
22, 837 Tonsils
123, 222 Teeth.-
212, 708 Instances of inadequate fire protection.
6,500 School buildings insanitary
12,336 The seriousness of this condition speaks for itself. What is true of health and sanitary conditions in rural Pennsylvania is, no doubt, true of most other States. The hopeful thing is that this State at least is honest with itself and has uncovered its own shortcomings. Would that other States might speedily follow Pennsylvania's example!
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BULLETIN, 1916, No. 3
PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN IN THE
A STUDY OF THE SCHOOLS OF RICHMOND, VA.
OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE PROCURED FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON, D. C.
10 CENTS PER COPY
7 16 25 32
Letter of transmittal....
II. Progress of children in the elementary schools (white).
V. Absence and entrance age in relation to progress through school...
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