February 12, 1910
The physicians who are empolyed in school inspection have been endeavoring of late to find out what the children ate and drank at home. This has been done with a view to finding the reason for nervousness in so many otherwise healthy children. In one school which has a large foreign attendance the information gained from but two rooms was startling. In one room of forty children it was discovered that seventeen had either beer, wine or whisky to drink with some of their meals the previous day.
In this room the teacher was making a record of what each child had to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner the previous day. The following has to do only with the beverages, or liquids, served them:
Water -- Two had it for breakfast, eighteen for lunch and five for dinner.
Milk -- Three for breakfast, two for lunch and nine for dinner.
Tea -- Four for breakfast, two for lunch and nine for dinner.
Coffee -- Twenty-three for breakfast, three for lunch and four for dinner.
Beer -- Three had it for lunch and nine drank it for dinner.
Wine -- Three drank wine for lunch and one for dinner.
Whisky -- One had it for dinner.
In another room, while no wine or whisky was given t he children, they showed up strong on the coffee and beer. The report follows:
Water -- One had it for breakfast, six for lunch and none for dinner.
Milk -- Eight for breakfast, three for lunch and nine for dinner.
Coffee -- Twenty for breakfast, two for lunch and ten for dinner.
Cocoa -- Five for breakfast and one for lunch.
Chocolate -- One for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Beer -- Five for breakfast, fourteen for lunch and fifteen for dinner.
"While people are buying $30,000 organs for churches here in this city," said the physician who inspected this school, "I think it would do more good to get a cheaperr organ and use the rest of the money in educating the parents of these children. The children of this generation will be the parents of the next and if they are reared on beer, wine and whisky, what kind of citizens will they make? This is a very serious matter and parents who see no wrong in poisoning a child's brain with alcohol and making it a nervous wreck before it is half grown must be taught better."
On account of this startling discovery it is the intention now to go further than the inspection in the school and only in the home where disease exists. Mrs. Kate E. Pierson, a member of the board of pardons and paroles and connected also with the Associated Charities, has taken an interest in the matter. An effort will be made to secure nurses who speak the foreign languages necessary in this case, to go into the homes and instruct the mothers. They especially will be warned regarding giving intoxicants to their children.
"The nurses will have to do more," said Mrs. Pearson yesterday. "They will teach the mothers what is best for a child to eat, how and where to buy the proper food and how to prepare it. They also will be taught how to care for their babies and growing children."
"We find a great many nervous children in the schools, especially in certain districts," said one of the inspectors. "There is no doubt but that the giving of intoxicants is bad for them, but the constant drinking of coffee and tea by a child is also injurious.
"A growing child going to school needs the proper kind of nourishing food to hold up its end of the game. Much of the nervousness among the children in a certain district comes from alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea. Others are permitted to eat anything they choose and at any time, and consequently are badly nourished."