1905 Violation of Labor Laws

Apparently, Stephen takes his position of Truant Officer seriously enough to become unpopular in the community. In 1905, he finds 34 children between 14 and 16 wand five under 12 working illegally, and not attending school. The report is compiled from teachers' attendance records of those registered for school and missing from classes. It prompts him to ask how many never even registered. It is a brave move since it takes to task businesses as well as the students.

From the New York State site on history of compulsory education: 

Universal School Attendance. Attendance figures were used to calculate all or part of Regents' aid to private academies starting in 1847. The advent of free public education in the 1860s provided the opportunity to promote, or to compel, regular attendance in the public schools. Decades passed before success was achieved. Average daily attendance was used to compute part of general school aid starting 1866, in the hope of encouraging attendance. An 1874 law required most children to attend school at least 70 days a year, but there was little means of enforcing this law. Growing public concern about child labor in factories and sweatshops helped persuade the Legislature to pass a strong compulsory attendance law in 1894. The law required children aged 8- 12 to attend the full school year of 130 days; employed children aged 13-14 had to attend at least 80 days. The school year was increased to 160 days in 1896, 180 days in 1913, and has not changed since. The official school- leaving age was increased to 15 in 1916, 16 in 1936, and the end of the school year in which a person turns 16, in 1994. The 1894 attendance law required city and village districts to appoint truant officers, who could and did arrest truant pupils (over 25,000 arrests in 1903-04). To assist the truant officers, a biennial school census in the larger cities and villages was mandated in 1895; an annual census was required in all other districts with more than eight teachers starting in 1909. The Department's compulsory attendance division received monthly attendance data from every district (except cities) and could withhold state aid from districts with poor records. By the 1920s the Department stopped trying to coerce regular attendance. It now emphasized the child's right to an education and urged schools to cooperate with social workers and the courts. The old attendance and child accounting division was dismantled in 1937, and attendance and census functions were grouped with other school administrative services.

Since children could register for an exemption from school, it was unlawful to work without such paperwork and unlawful to employ those children. 

See Compulsory Education Law of 1894.

Violation of labor laws

 

Universal School Attendance. Attendance figures were used to calculate all or part of Regents' aid to private academies starting in 1847. The advent of free public education in the 1860s provided the opportunity to promote, or to compel, regular attendance in the public schools. Decades passed before success was achieved. Average daily attendance was used to compute part of general school aid starting 1866, in the hope of encouraging attendance. An 1874 law required most children to attend school at least 70 days a year, but there was little means of enforcing this law. Growing public concern about child labor in factories and sweatshops helped persuade the Legislature to pass a strong compulsory attendance law in 1894. The law required children aged 8- 12 to attend the full school year of 130 days; employed children aged 13-14 had to attend at least 80 days. The school year was increased to 160 days in 1896, 180 days in 1913, and has not changed since. The official school- leaving age was increased to 15 in 1916, 16 in 1936, and the end of the school year in which a person turns 16, in 1994. The 1894 attendance law required city and village districts to appoint truant officers, who could and did arrest truant pupils (over 25,000 arrests in 1903-04). To assist the truant officers, a biennial school census in the larger cities and villages was mandated in 1895; an annual census was required in all other districts with more than eight teachers starting in 1909. The Department's compulsory attendance division received monthly attendance data from every district (except cities) and could withhold state aid from districts with poor records. By the 1920s the Department stopped trying to coerce regular attendance. It now emphasized the child's right to an education and urged schools to cooperate with social workers and the courts. The old attendance and child accounting division was dismantled in 1937, and attendance and census functions were grouped with other school administrative services.

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