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RETURN To an Order of the House for correspondence relating to the dismissal of the Teacher of Salmon… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1896

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 59 Vict. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 625
To an Order of the Souse for correspondence relating to the dismissal of the Teacher
of Salmon Arm School.
Minister of Education.
Education Office,
6th February, 1896.
Salmon Arm, B. C, July 7th, 1894.
Dear Sir,—I beg to call your attention to certain matters that are being agitated here
just now, by one or two of the residents, they having for their object my expulsion from this
School District. These parties were very forward in expressing their appreciation of my work
in the school on Friday last. They stated the same thing on Saturday before the election for
trustee commenced. When there was opposition nominated, Mr. T. Shaw withdrew his name
as a candidate, and as soon as the result was known Mr. Palmer resigned.
Having heard them express themselves so favourably I was surprised to have Mr. T.
Shaw call at our place yesterday and notify me that unless I resigned and get out of here they
would try to influence the Government to cancel my certificate.
The only ground on which they can found any complaint that I am aware of is an affair
that took place here last March. While passing the station one day, an irate parent came out
and struck me, intending, as he said, to give me a good " licking." I tried to prevent his
doing so as much as possible. I then went to Mr. Palmer, J.P., intending to have the party
arrested, but he thought it better to not do so, as the man had a family and had not overly
much to support them with. Had Mr. Palmer not advised me in that way I would have
prosecuted. Mr. Shaw and Mr. Parmer were considered my best friends up to the school
election on June 30th; they certainly were the loudest in speaking favourably in my actions.
They were trustees, and if anything wrong had been done then was the time to speak of it.
I am not ashamed of anything I have clone or said as teacher here, and I believe the people of
the valley are almost a unit iu saying that J have no. right to be.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        J. Irwin.
Superintendent of Education, Scdmon Arm,  B. C.
Victoria, B. C.
Victoria, July 17th, 1894.
Dear Sir,—In reply to yours of the 7th inst., allow me to say that no information has
as yet been received by this Department of any difficulty between yourself and the Trustees.
Of course, the matter of dismissal of teacher is one to be dealt with by the Board of Trustees.
Under Statute, the Trustees  can dismiss a teacher at any time by  giving  him  30 days'
notice and stating the cause.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
Superintendent of Education.
J. Irwin, Esq.,
Public School, Salmon Arm. 626
Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School.
Salmon Arm, B. C, July 7th, 1894.
Dear Sir,—We the undersigned ratepayers and residents of the Salmon Arm Public
School District, have heard with regret that certain parties who were friendly with our teacher
until the day of the school trustee election are now boasting that unless he leaves the district
they will influence the Educational Department to have his certificate broken.
We beg to state that we know of nothing Mr. Irwin has done to disgrace himself, his
family, or the school children over whom he presides, and we believe he has worked for the
interests of the children since coming here.
Arthur Murray,
Richard Davis,
Mrs. R Davis,
Frank McIntyre,
Mrs. F. McIntyre,
Thomas Davis,
J. W. Allan,
T. A. Noble,
A. Merrall,
Mrs. Merrall,
S. J. Rumball,
Ellen Rumball,
J. Stace Smith,
Jeanie Stace Smith,
Mrs. William Green,
Mrs. E. Dalton,
D. M. Blake,
Mrs. Blake,
H. D. Hume,
Mrs. H. D. Hume,
Superintendent of Education,
Victoria, B. C,
(Signed)        L. H. S. Armstrong,
m H. Clemes,
it Mrs. A. McGuire,
n Alex. McGuire,
n A. Paul,
ii Mrs. Paul,
,, P. M. Pearson,
ii P. Owens,
ii C. McVicker,
i. Jno. H. Forrest,
n William Miller,
ii Tom. Atcheson,
ii J. J. TOBIN,
ii Mrs. J. J. Tobin,
M         .    Mrs. McVicker,
ii Mrs. A. Armtsrong,
ii R. Armstrong,
ii H. C. Fraser,
ll J. Dalzell,
ii K. Laitiner.
Victoria, July 19th, 1894.
Dear Sir,—Representations referring to your present teacher made by yourself and
others have been duly noted.
It is always to be regretted that there should be any cause for differences between the
parents and the teacher of a School District. It is only by the existence of harmony between
them that the best results can be obtained.
Allow me to say that I have not received any communication reflecting on Mr. Irwin in
regard to the matter referred to.
Arthur Murray, Esq.,
Salmon Arm.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
Superintendent of Education. 59 Vict;. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 62y
Salmon Arm, Jan. 19th, 1895.
We, the undersigned parents of children attending the Salmon Arm school, beg to request
the removal of our teacher, Mr. Joseph Irwin, by authority given to the Council of Public
Instruction under section 50 of the Public School Act. We are dissatisfied with the general
condition of the school, and believe a change of teacher to be necessary in the public interest.
We consider our dissatisfaction sufficient proof of the unsuitability and inefficiency of the
(Signed) 0. B. Harris,  No. of children 6
ii J. J. Tobin, ii 5
ii A. J. Palmer, m 3
ii Joseph Harbell,        m 2
W. W. Shaw, „ 1
Hon. G. B. Martin,
Victoria, B. C.
Salmon Arm, Feb. 6th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—I sent you a petition about school affairs.     You answered my letter and said
that you had handed it in to the Superintendent of Education.
We are very anxious to know what to expect; our children are not attending school and
the way things are we are at a loss what to do.
Mr.   Shaw  has  written you several times,  but has not received an answer.    He thinks
that perhaps either your or his letters have miscarried.
Will you kindly drop me a line and let me know how things are likely to go, and oblige.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        C. B. Harris,
Hon. G. B. Martin, Salmon Arm, B. C.
P.S.—I am not registered as a voter, please enclose form.
Victoria, B.C., Feb. 11th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—Your communication of the 6th instant, addressed to the Honourable the
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, has been handed in to this office.
In reply, allow me to say that Salmon Arm School District will be visited by an official
from this Department as soon as the weather and roads will permit.
I regret that the present disagreement between the teacher and a considerable number of
the parents causes the non-attendance of scholars at the school. The subject of complaint
will, at the proper time, be inquired into.
I enclose blank form for registration of a Provincial voter.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
Superintendent of Education.
C. B. Harris, Esq.,
Salmon Arm, C. P. R. 628 Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 1896
Salmon Arm, B. C, Feb. 16th, 1895.
Sir,—As you are Secretary of the Council of Public Instruction, and as I am aware that
there is a petition in circulation here for signatures having for its object the removal of myself
and family from Salmon Arm, I beg to make the following statements in addition to those in
my letter of last year.
In the month of December, 1894, Mr. A. J. Palmer made certain charges to the trustees
against me. He accused me of brutally whipping his child without cause, of using abusive
and ungentlemanly language to the children, &c. His own and Mr. Harris' children had a
very sad story to tell, which they acknowledged they had gone over at home, so that all of
them answered in nearly the same words. There were enough children present to refute their
statements, however, and the following was the decision of the trustees :—
"We, the undersigned trustees of Salmon Arm school, having heard the charges and
evidence against Mr. J. Irwin, teacher, have decided unanimously that said teacher was
justified in punishing Mamie Palmer, and that the said teacher did not brutally punish Mamie
Palmer.    We also agree that the teacher did not abuse his authority."
The foregoing was signed by the three trustees of the school. Messrs. Palmer and Harris
then withdrew their children from the school, since which time they have been running around
home without education of any kind.
Shortly after this, Mr. R. Davis, the Secretary-Trustee, missed a spaniel dog he owned.
A few days afterwards he fancied the water in his well was tasting bad, so he bailed it out
and found his dog at the bottom of it. Of course the guilty parties are unknown, but there is
not a shadow of doubt that she was killed before being put in, as the cribbing stands fully
three feet higher than the surface of the ground at the well's brink, the water comes to within
a foot of the top of the ground, and there is a board at the surface of the water where she
could get up if she should jump in. The dog was an old one, and the well was beside the door,
so that the family could have easily heard her had she fallen in. Mr. J. S. Smith also states
that Mr. T. Shaw offered him the sum of ten dollars to give me a thrashing—a thing which
Mr. Smith was too gentlemanly to entertain.
Mr. Harris is taking around the said petition, and when people refuse to sign it he asks
them not to mention the matter, and states that he goes round with it at nights so that no
one -will be the wiser if he don't succeed. Is this the act of a gentleman 1 I do not know the
charges the petition contains, but I object to it on the following grounds :—
1st.  He is going outside the school district to get names.
2nd. Several parties are busy cutting wood for the C. P. R. contractors just now, and
although they are not likely to be in the district six weeks altogether are easily induced to
sign such a paper.
Trusting that the Government, should they interfere at all, will act honourably.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        J. Irwin.
Salmon Arm, B. C.
S. D. Pope, Esq., LL. D.,
Supt. of Education,  Victoria.
Victoria, Feb. 20th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—Your communication of the 16th inst., has been duly received.
In reply, allow me to state that the matters in dispute in Salmon Arm School District
will, at an early date, be fully enquired into by a representative from this Department.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
J. Irwin, Esq., Superintendent of Education,
Public School, Salmon Arm. 59 Vict. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 629
Report of Investigation held at Salmon Arm School-house on Monday, the 11th day
of March, 1895, by William Burns, Inspector of Schools.
Victoria, May 3rd, 1895.
S. D. Pope, LL.D.,
Superintendent of Education.
Sir,—In accordance with your instructions an investigation was held by me at the school-
house, Salmon Arm, at 2 p.m., on Monday, the 11th day of March, 1895.
The teacher (Mr. J. Irwin), Trustees, and about 60 persons were present.
After the meeting was called to order, Mr T. Shaw read the following charges against
Mr. J. Irwin, teacher :—
1st. For engaging in a fight brought on by himself by abusive language, and not allowing
the matter to drop after a settlement had been effected.
2nd.  Closing school to attend a shooting match.
3rd. Brutally whipping without cause, taking the tattling of his own children to disadvantage of others, and using abusive and ungentlemanly language to children.
4th.  Being a cause of annoyance and trouble in the neighbourhood.
Before any remarks were made, I stated that the first charge therein was considered to
be unconnected with the subject under investigation, namely, in regard to matters affecting
the conduct of the school.
Mr. T. Shaw then proceeded to the second charge, and stated that the school had been
closed to allow Mr. Irwin to attend a shooting match on 5th November, 1894, and as a ratepayer he complained that a day's absence should be given the teacher, without any necessity,
to the injury of the work of the school.
Mr. Rumball replied that the three Trustees had given Mr. Irwin permission to be
absent, as had been granted to others before.
Mr. Shaw contended that in other cases this absence had been for the good of the school,
and not for the benefit of the teacher only.
Mr. Irwin said that as he had received permission from the Trustees, he considered himself at liberty to close the school.
The third charge was proceeded with.
Mr. Palmer stated that about the middle of December Mr. Irwin had punished his
daughter Mamie too severely, that he had requested an investigation by the Trustees, but
when this was held the meeting was conducted without any order, nor was any chance given
him to present his case. He was continually interrupted by Mr. Irwin and others, and thus
his case was not fairly considered.
Mr. Davis (Secretary) and Mr. Rumball (Trustee) strongly denied these latter statements,
and said that all interruptions came from those making the complaints, and every opportunity
was given for them to speak, that Mr. T. Shaw called Mr. Irwin a " liar," and shook his fist in
the teacher's face.
Mr. T. Shaw denied this, and his denial was corroborated by Mr. Harbell.
Mr. Smith said that the word "liar" was used, but he could not say by whom. Whereupon Mr. Harris replied that Mr. Irwin insulted Mr. Palmer, and kept up his insults through
the whole of the meeting, and that the Trustees never even attempted to maintain  any order.
Mr. Irwin said that threats to fight him were made by Mr. Harris, and other insults
given, but this was again denied by Mr. Harris.
As no further evidence was given, the matter of the whipping of Miss Mamie Palmer was
next taken up.
Mr. Palmer requested that his daughter be allowed to make her own statement.
Mamie Palmer (a girl of about 14) stated that she had said to another girl in school that the
teacher favoured his own daughter Beattie. When the teacher heard of this, he had called her
up and given her five strokes with a stick (about 18 inches long and the size of a lead pencil),
three on one hand and two on the other, that the stick was broken by the last stroke, her
thumb slightly cut and swollen, so that she could not use the hand that day. After the
punishment the teacher told her she got that story from "a dirty liar," and said several other
things to her very angrily.
Mr. H. Scadden and Mr. Harbell both said that they saw the girl's hand on her return
home that same night, and noticed a severe mark, with the skin slightly cracked, as if cut
with a whip. 630 Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 1896
Mr. Rumball replied that the Trustees were told that six strokes had been given, that
nothing had been told them about the breaking of the switch, and that, as it was seven days
before he saw the girl's hand, he could say nothing about the severity of the punishment. The
Trustees should have been informed before, but he did not think the mark shown was caused
by a switch.
Mr. Irwin then gave his explanation of what had led to the punishment—substantially
the same—stating that the girl did her work the rest of the day as usual, that he had punished
others equally without harmful results, that he used no particular violence, and that, as to the
accusation of abusive and ungentlemanly conversation, it was "a make-up of herself or of some
of the family."
One of the boys present (W. Rumball) said the whipping was "just middling," and he
heard no rude words.
In reply to question from Mr. Palmer, the teacher said that Mr. Palmer's children were
perpetually sneering at him in school since his quarrel with Mr. Palmer regarding the election,
and that those who gave evidence for Mr. Palmer were men in his employ, and therefore spoke
as he wished.
The severity of the whipping and the remarks made were corroborated by W. Palmer,
F. Harris, and C. Harris, three of the pupils present; whereas W. Merrell and B. Irwin said
the punishment was " not too much," and no such words were used.
Mr. Harris then complained that his boy had been unfairly punished by the teacher, and
that since his quarrel with Mr. Irwin his children had been constantly punished and called
names, and that the teacher was always willing to hear anything against them, and made promotions to suit his own child. He added that it was impossible for him to visit the school to
make complaint without being insulted by the teacher.
Mr. Irwin denied these statements, explained on what grounds promotions had been made,
and that the others were deficient in their work from frequent absence.
In regard to the fourth charge, Mr. Palmer considered that inasmuch as a parent he could
not consult the teacher without being insulted—as fighting is improper, as the language used
in school and at other times was wrong—the teacher was a cause of annoyance and trouble in
the neighbourhood.
Mr. Harris remarked that the teacher had said of his child, when accused of some tattling
remarks, that " it was the training the girl had got," and this he considered to be a reproach
on his wife, and had been the cause of their quarrel.
Mr. Irwin derried making any such remark that " it was the training the girl had got," or
that he was in any way a cause of trouble. If anyone came to school he said he received them
civilly, whether they were friends outside or not, as he was then at liberty to choose his own
associates. He further added that he had received a letter from Mr. Harris, asserting that his
boy should " hit back " if he liked, because his boy had been punished for striking another boy
with his dinner pail.
(This letter was asked for, but was not produced.)
Mr. Harris explained that his boy had been struck purposely, and when he defended
himself, his son had been punished more severely than the other for fighting. He had written
to the teacher in order to avoid any personal quarrel. He then handed in the teacher's reply,
which showed a very unconciliatory spirit, saying that Mr. Harris seemed "to fly off the
handle," etc.
Mr. Irwin adduced the increase of the attendance as a proof of efficiency and popularity.
The average attendance last month had been the highest reached, and would have been much
larger had the rest of the children been allowed to come to school.
Mr. Palmer considered the increase in the school was owing to the increase of population,
and not to the teacher's efficiency.
Mr. Palmer then brought forward the fact that a letter had been sent by Mr. Irwin to
the Trustees, asking them to close the school against its use for the services of the Methodist
Church, containing in it accusations of hypocrisy against Messrs. Palmer and Shaw, and
asserting that the switch had been purposely burned by them ; also that the school was upset
by its use for these services. He desired that this letter be produced, but the Secretary did
not have it with him, nor seem inclined to produce it.
On being asked, the Secretary made no complaint about the state of the school after
services. 59 Vict. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 631
Mr. W. W. Shaw stated that he could not send his child any longer, these disturbances
placing him in a disagreeable position, but acknowledged he was satisfied with the manner in
which the children were taught.
Mr. Palmer again said that the language used in school would preclude his sending his
children ; he did not trust the justice of the teacher, nor did he think his manners suitable
when he would not recognize the parents of his pupils on the road.
Mr. Irwin denied passing anyone without recognition unless previously passed in that
manner himself.
There being no other points brought forward, the meeting was closed.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        William Burns,
Inspector of Schools.
Special Remarks.     ,
In regard to the Church. — I had an interview with Rev. J. Calvert. This gentleman
states that they always clean out the school, as far as possible, after services, some of the men
taking it in turns to do so, but that the room has frequently to be cleaned before they can hold
services. He considered the attempt to close the school against them was only to annoy
Messrs. Palmer and Shaw, who were their chief supporters.
In regard to School Work.—The trouble arose, by Mr. Irwin's having put back four in the
fifth reader to re-commence it with those just promoted, instead of pushing them on for an
entrance examination. This caused the remarks which led to the whipping received by Mamie
Palmer, as Mr. Irwin's girl was one of those promoted; but the teacher asserts that the
frequent absence of the others rendered this a necessity. As these pupils were absent from
my inspection of the school, it is impossible for me to judge.
In regard to the Trustees.—The first trouble arose from Mr. T. Shaw being opposed, and
Mr. Rumball taking his position on the Board. Mr. Irwin appears to have canvassed in this
matter. When Mr. Rumball was elected, Mr. Palmer (Mr. Shaw's son-in-law) resigned, and
his place being filled by Mr. Miller, the other party holds entire control. Mr. Shaw, as an old
resident, feels himself slighted by this change.
I was shown a copy of verses sent round the neighbourhood reflecting on every one of
Mr. Irwin's opponents and the. Department in very insulting terms. As there is no one here
in the habit of writing, Mr. Irwin naturally has the credit of being the author, but he voluntarily told me that he had nothing to do with them, and suspects the author to be a man
residing in another section.
The Secretary acknowledges that there was no Chairman at their meeting for investigation, as they did not know how to conduct such a nreeting, from having no experience ; and
from all evidence, it seems to have been a disorderly meeting.
The evidence of the children (on which great stress was laid) seems to prove nothing, as
it may be observed that they all agreed with the side taken by their parents.
I conclude that Mr. Irwin's services will be retained by the trustees for another year, if
in their power to do so, their reason being that no fault is found with his ability as a teacher,
and the subjects of the dispute are really aside from school matters altogether. This will
prevent Messrs. Palmer, Harris, W. Shaw and others from sending their children to school.
There has been a continual dispute going on in this section, and as Mr. Irwin has become
completely identified with the one party, there can be no harmony in school matters while the
present teacher is.retained. The children of several families are debarred from taking advantage of the school, and the only apparent remedy is to change the teacher, as he seems to be
violent in his words and quite unconciliatory in manner.
It is therefore in the educational interests of this district that there be a change of
teacher, especially as there is a large number of children who will not attend the school while
under his charge.
(Signed)        William Burns. 632
Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School.
Salmon Arm, B. C, March 15th, 1895.
Sir,—We your humble petitioners and ratepayers of Salmon Arm, pray that, acting in
an official capacity, you will find it a duty to sustain the decision of our School Trustees in
the charges made against our present teacher, and that he may be allowed to continue as
teacher, having given entire satisfaction, and brought the school to a standard never attained
(Signed)        S. J. Rumball,     Trustee,
ii Richard Davis,        m
ii William Miller,     h
ii Frank McIntyre,
ii W. W. Rogers,
ii P. Walton,
ii J. H. Forrest,
ii K. Laitiner,
ii P. M. Pearson,
ii J. McIntyre,
h L. H S. Armstrong,
ii Geo. Huston,
ii Levi Hutchins,
ii M. Ranta,
I. Johnston,
John Dolan,
Arthur Murray,
Alex. Merrall,
Jane Merrall,
Ellen Rumball,
J. Eagles,
ii M. L. McIntyre,
S. D. Pope, Esq.,
Superintendent of Education, Victoria, B. C.
(Signed)        J. L. McIntyre,
M. A. Davis,
Mrs. Smith,
T. Davis,
D. M. Blake,
Mrs. Blake,
J. Stace Smith,
A. J. Hedgman,
Mrs. F. F. Hedgman,
Robert Armstrong,
Mrs. A. Armstrong,
J. Dalzell,
T. Atcheson,
T. Knox,
J. Solo,
J. K. Robinson,
H. D. Fraser,
N. N. Craig,
Mrs. P. Hutchins,
C. McVickar,
Mrs. McVickar.
Victoria, March 20th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—I beg to  acknowledge  receipt  of petition  signed  by Trustees and  others,
referring to the retention of Mr. Irwin as teacher of your school.
The same has been duly referred to the consideration of the Honourable the Council of
Public Instruction. Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
R. Davis, Esq., Superintendent of Education.
Secretary Board of Trustees, Salmon Arm, C.P.R.
Salmon Arm, B.C., May 11th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—More than two months since Inspector Burns held an investigation regarding
the trouble in the school section of Salmon Arm caused by the actions of Mr. Irwin, the present teacher, and as we have received no word in reference to the result, I take the liberty of
writing you, and asking that some action be taken whereby Mr. Irwin be enabled to take
another field of labour as it is a continual source of trouble in the neighbourhood and greatly to the
disadvantage of the children to have him retained as teacher here. There are ten children in
the section that cannot possibly attend school while he is here and have been absent for five
months now, and I believe the Trustees make the boast they will be compelled to attend as
soon as the six months are up (by law), so if the Department will take no action in the matter,
will you kindly advise me of the fact as we will be obliged to hire a private teacher, a thing
we are ill able to do. Yours truly,
(Signed)        A. J. Palmer,
To Colonel Baker,
Minister of Education,   Victoria, B. G, 59 Vict. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 633
Victoria, May 25th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—Your communication of the 11th inst., addressed to Colonel, the Honourable
James Baker, Minister of Education, has been duly handed in to this office.
In reply, allow me to state that no action will be taken by the Department on the report
of Inspector Burns on investigation held in your district until the return of the Minister of
Education.    He is expected back before the close of the present month.
Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
A. J. Palmer, Esq., Superintendent of Education.
Salmon Arm.
Salmon Arm, May 15th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—Owing to the trouble in the school here, there are about a dozen children
that can't attend school at all. As it is some time since the investigation, and those hostile to
us are making threats that when the time is up that the law allows, they will compel us to
send our children, we are all very anxious to know what to do. We cannot send them to the
present teacher, as doing so would only expose them and us to insult and abuse, rather than
do so we will unite and hire a private teacher. It would come very hard on us as we are all
new settlers and not well off, and besides it does not appear right or just that we should be
put to so much expense and trouble.     Will you kindly let us know what to do, and oblige.
Yours sincerely,
(Signed)        C. B. Harris.
S. D. Pope, Salmon Arm, B. C.
Superintendent of Education,  Victoria.
Victoria, May 20th, 1895.
Dear Sir,—In reply to yours of the 15th inst., allow me to say that the report of the
Inspector on the investigation held has not as yet been acted on by the Council of Public
Instruction. The matter will receive attention immediately on the return of the Honourable
the Minister of Education. Yours truly,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
C. B. Harris, Esq., Superintendent of Education.
Salmon Arm.
Education Office,
Victoria, June 11th, 1895.
Sir,—This Department has for a considerable time been in receipt of complaints in regard
to you as teacher of Salmon Arm School, and in view of this a public investigation into the
matters complained of was held on *May 3rd last, by Inspector Burns.
From the report of the Inspector as well as from information received from other sources,
it is deemed to be in the interests of the school in your district that there be a change of
teacher made at the end of the present school year.
Acting under instructions, I have written to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees to
give you 30 days' notice of dismissal, the same to take effect July 31st next.
I have therefore to state that your salary as teacher of Salmon Arm School will cease at
the end of July.
I have, etc.,
(Signed        S. D. Pope,
Joseph Invin, Esq., Secretory Council of Public Instruction,
Public School, Salmon Arm.
*May 3rd should have been March 11th. 634 Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 1896
Education Office,
Victoria, June 11th, 1895.
Sir,—From complaints made to this Department in regard to the teacher of Salmon Arm
School, it was deemed advisable that the District be specially visited by a representative from
this Department, and accordingly Inspector Burns held on *May 3rd last, a public investigation
into the matters complained of.
From the report of the Inspector, as well as from information received from other sources,
it is deemed by the Council of Public Instruction to be in the interests of the school in your
District that a change of teacher be made at the end of the present school year.
I am therefore directed by the Council of Public Instruction to notify your Board under
the provisions of section 50 of the "Public School Act, 1891," to give Mr. Joseph Irwin
thirty days' notice of dismissal, the same to take effect on July 31st next. In other words,
Mr. Irwin will be paid salary as teacher of Salmon Arm School until July 31st, but no longer.
I have, etc.,
S. D. Pope,
R. Davis, Esq., Secretary Council of Public Instruction.
Secretary Board of Trustees.
Salmon Arm.
*Mav 3rd should have been March 11th.
Salmon Arm, B. C, June 13th, 1895.
Sir,—In reply to yours of the 11th inst.,  we beg to state that we are, perfectly satisfied
with Mr. J. Irwiu as teacher in Salmon Arm School.
You have papers in your possession which  show that a large majority of the ratepayers
are also well satisfied with him.
This being the case, we have no intention of giving him 30 days' notice to leave.
Yours respectfully,
(Signed)        Richard Davis,
ii S. J. Rumball,
ii Wm. Miller,
S. D. Pope, Esq., Trustees.
Supt. of Education, Victoria.
Victoria, June 17th, 1895.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 13th inst.,
in which you state that the Trustees have no intention of giving the teacher thirty days'
notice of dismissal as per instructions of the Honourable the Council of Public Instruction
contained in letter to you of the 11th inst.
Permit me to point out that the duties of Trustees are prescribed by the School Act, and
they are required to perform their duties in conformity with its demands.
As already stated to your Board, Mr. Joseph Irwin's salary as teacher of Salmon Arm
School District, will cease on July 31st, and further, under the provisions of the Act, the
Trustees have no option in the matter of giving Mr. Irwin 30 days' notice of dismissal, the
same to take effect July 31st.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
Richard Davis, Esq., Secretory Council of Public Instruction.
Secretary Board of Trustees,
Salmon Arm. 59 Vict. Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 635
Salmon Arm, B. C, June 15th, 1895.
Hon. Sir,—I have been rather surprised at getting a notification from your Department
that you are about to discharge me from this school, and I beg to draw your attention to
certain facts in the case which may have escaped your notice. If I were a young man without a family I could get up and leave the Province, but I have a family of five children, one
of them, being an infant. I have taught in British Columbia since 1882. During that time I
have held a First Class Certificate, and I consider it unfair to be moved about at the whim of
the Government, when the Trustees, and at least seventy-five per cent, of the people, are anxious
for me to remain.
The charge brought against me was, that I had whipped M. Palmer brutally. This was
the only charge the Government had any right, as I understand, to investigate, as it was the
only one before the Trustee Board, and therefore the only one that could be appealed from.
The record was that she received three slaps on each hand with a switch—a piece of alder,
3-16-inch in diameter at thickest point and about 14 inches long, tapering to a point. This
agreed with her statement before the Board, but she came before Mr. Burns and stated she
only got five slaps altogether—3 on one hand and 2 on the other. Her brother followed,
corroborating her evidence in each case. This in itself ought to show a disinterested party
there was nothing in the charge. They claimed they did not get a fair hearing from the
Trustees, this the Trustees emphatically denied, and everyone present knows it was their
party tried to disturb the meeting. In regard to the other charges, I have only to say that
no gentleman, knowing my character, would bring them, and that they were never brought
before the Trustee Board. The switch was present at the Trustee investigation, but was
destroyed by an interested party before Mr. Burns came.
Now, look at Mr. Shaw's actions. At the time Harris attacked me, he called Harris
everything but a gentleman. He spoke as favourably as he possibly could of me as teacher
at the June examination some three month afterwards. Then when the election was over he
came to my house, and in presence of my family told me I would have to leave or he would
bring up this Harris affair and break my certificate, as he thought he had influence enough
with Messrs. Davie and Martin to do so. He afterwards went to R. Armstrong and advised
him to not send his family to school as I had had a bad character when I came here. He
also told J. Stace Smith of my bad character, but Smith says he could not swear that he
advised him to keep his children home. He afterwards offered Smith f 10 to give me a good
thrashing, and offered to help Smith out in case he should get into trouble over it. Is it any
wonder that such a man should bring a charge that I was a nuisance in the neighbourhood ?
It's all very good to talk of law, but Shaw's place is so heavily mortgaged that I could get
nothing and would lose any little I might have in prosecuting him. His great wealth, etc.,
is simply his talk.
Again, let me draw your attention to Palmer's case. In speaking to him of prosecuting
Harris, he advised me not to, stating that everyone was on my side, and that Harris was a
poor man with a large family. He also asked me for Harris' letter to me, stating that he
(Harris) wanted his children to fight at school, and blaming me for not letting them do so.
Harris also stated in the letter that as I would not let his children fight he expected them to
come home with their eyes out. I gave Palmer the letter and he placed it in his purse in his
inside coat pocket. I called on him afterwards about the matter in order to mistake.
He used the same reasoning as before. At the investigation, before Mr. Burns, he tried to
deny getting the letter, at least he said he could not remember it. Then Mr. Harris produced
my reply in which I had said that his remarks about his children coming home with their eyes
out were too childish for serious consideration. Over the expression " with their eyes out" he
had written " with their black eyes " in heavy black ink. He is a poor writer and I could
see it half way across the room. Palmer destroyed one letter, I believe intentionally, and
Harris mutilated the other in order to injure me.
At the Trustee investigation, when asked why he wished to bring up the Harris affair
when he had taken no notice of it while Trustee, he (Palmer) stated that I had written him a
letter at the time saying I was struck unawares. This I denied and accused him of deliberate
falsehood. He then read the letter which proved to everybody that I was right. What I
said was, that I was struck first. This Harris has not denied. Palmer then said that I had
not signed the letter. This I denied and accused him of either cutting it off or having it
there. I also pointed out that the said letter being addressed to the Secretary-Trustee, was
not his any longer, and that he was committing fraud in keeping it.     He knew I signed it, 636 Dismissal of Teacher, Salmon Arm School. 1896
and he also knew if he produced the letter in presence of the Trustee Board he would be convicted of another lie. The very men who asked some years ago to have Palmer appointed J.
P. would not now believe his oath. I find that he left Ontario having been sold out and
unable to pay his debts.
Just after the Trustee investigation one of Davis' dogs was killed and thrown in his
well. This produced a sickness which has kept his girl out of school most of the time since.
Claude Harris boasted at first of their having to drink dog soup and told intimate friends that
he knew who put the dog in the well. When he found it might be made a serious affair he
said no more about it. When Mr. Burns was here at the investigation some malicious person,
who wrote very much in their hand-writing, covered the closets with blackguard expressions.
In conclusion I beg to point out that the attendance has been higher this year than ever
before, and that the highest attendance for separate months has been since they quit sending
their children.
Trusting you will reconsider this matter according to the wishes of the large majority of
the people. I have, etc.,
(Signed)        Joseph Irwin.
Hon. Col. Baker, Salmon Arm, B. G.
Minister of Education, Victoria.
Victoria, June 17th, 1895.
Sir,—I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th  inst.,  and  beg  to  inform  you  that the
Council of Public Instruction arrived at their decision with regard to your dismissal after due
consideration of all the facts bearing upon the case, and that they  cannot  reconsider their
judgment in the matter. I have, <fec,
(Signed)        James Baker,
Joseph Irwin, Esq., Minister of Education.
Salmon Arm, Yale, B.C.
Salmon Arm, B.C., July 8th, 1895.
Gents.,—We beg to inform you that it is the wish of a large majority of the ratepayers,
as well as of ourselves, that the services of Mr. J. Irwin be retained in the Salmorr Arm
School. We consider him the most efficient teacher we have ever had, and believing that
matters must have been badly misrepresented to the Council, we would respectfully request
the Council to favour us with a copy of the Inspector's report and of the information gathered
from other sources. Yours respectfully,
(Signed)        Richard Davis,
ii Wm. Miller,
ii      -       S. J. Rumball.
Council of Public Instruction, Victoria, B.C.
Victoria, July 10th, 1895.
Sir,—The communication of the 8th inst., signed by yourself and the other Trustees of
Salmon Arm School District, has been duly received, and having been referred to the consideration of the Honourable the Council of Public Instruction, I am directed to state in reply
that the notification sent to you on June 11th last, requiring the Board to give Mr. Joseph
Irwin 30 days' notice of dismissal, must be obeyed or the school must be closed. The Department will not pay salary to Mr. Irwin as teacher of Salmon Arm Public School after the 31st
day of the present month.
It is not the practice of the Department to furnish Trustees with reports of the
Inspectors. I have, &c,
(Signed)        S. D. Pope,
R. Davis,  Esq., Secretary Council Public Instruction.
Secretary Board of Trustees, Salmon Arm.
victoria, b. c. :
Printed by RrcHARi) Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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