A bitter dispute that arose in the Appleton school section over the action of School Inspector J. C. Spence, of Carleton Place, in suspending the teaching certificate of Miss Annie Neilson, teacher of the junior room in the Appleton school, was settled, Tuesday, when Chief Inspector Greer of Toronto had a conference with Inspector Spence, the teachers and the school trustees. Appleton School has two class rooms, the senior one taught by Miss Ida Paul who has been there 34 years end the Junior form in charge of Miss Neilson who commenced her duties there at the opening of the last September term.
Miss Neilson comes from Appleton and taught school in Alberta for upwards of nine years before taking a position at home. The trouble began over the question of promoting a little girl. Miss Neilson’s predecessor is said to have recommended the pupil’s promotion when she was leaving, but Miss Neilson derided she would be better to remain a little longer in the grade -where she then was. Inspector Spence was appealed to and is said to have recommended that the child be promoted.
Friction followed and the Inspector, it is said, suspended the teacher’s permit to become effective on May 4, 1931. Trustees sided with Miss Neilson, and while the Inspector’s action made it impossible for them to use the room in the school formerly presided over by the teacher, they opened a temporary class room in the community hall and put Miss Neilson in charge of it. Lessons began there on Tuesday, May the 5th.
Several conferences were held at one of which J. A. Craig, M. L. A., for North Lanark is said to have been present to pour oil on the troubled waters. Apparently his oil was not effective, because a call was sent to the Department of Education and the chief inspector, Mr. Greer, was sent to Appleton to see what he could do about it. After a conference the purpose of which was to smooth over the difficulty it is said it was decided to leave the child where she is at present and the teacher, Miss Neilson, was reinstated in her position. The matter, it is understood, is still before the Department and the present solution may be but a temporary one.
Meanwhile several ratepayers of the Appleton School Section drew up a petition which is being circulated through the county and will be forwarded to other parts of Ontario praying the Government to discard its new legislation which greatly increases the powers of public school inspectors. Authors of the petition claim the new legislation, that came into effect recently, takes away all powers from school trustees. They can’t even buy wood without the school inspector’s sanction.
Trustees say the new control is the consolidated school system that Former Premier Ferguson tried to put over masquerading under another in the unit system. Those behind the petition claim this inspectorate is not the oniy one in which friction has arisen over the added powers the Government has given to school inspectors. It is the same in other districts and they think school boards representative of tax payers in country school sections should be given back the control over school administration that the trustees formerly enjoyed.
Under the new legislation school inspectors are no longer appointed by county councils, but by the Province had in return for this concession on the part of the county councils the Provincial Government has assumed the burden of paying the inspectors. When asked about the Appleton affair Inspector Spence said he did not care to comment. It was unfortunate, he thought, that the matter should be given publicity. There were only a couple of school sections in the district where trouble had been experienced and the more said about it the worse it would be for all concerned and particularly for the interest in education
Annie Neilson on right side of clipping
CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada19 Dec 1912, Thu • Page 14