The below was written by W. E. Condict, a Liberal, Missouri teacher, and published in Missouri School Journal in 1896. As with other generations, it bemoans unruly conduct at school. O. E. Harmon’s
“The Story of Liberal” mentions W. E. Condict as an educator.
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MISSOURI SCHOOL JOURNAL
Vol. XIII Jefferson City, MO., January, 1896. No. 1
That Bad Boy Again.
Ed. Journal: One of your correspondents brings again to view the picture of the pleasant little school ma’m winning the proverbial bad boy by smiles and confidences. Strange that this picture always includes the same kind of teacher, a winsome little lady. The principle is not a sound one or it would win for others.
Your correspondent incautiously says: “The greeting astonished the pupils,” but he does not add what I have always found to be true, it disgusts the better ones and degrades the feelings of the majority of the school. Would any merchant, or other business man elevate to a foremanship a hand who had thwarted his schemes, interferred with sales, and disorganized his forces? Jf not, then why, in the name of common sense and common decency, elevate “Sam” to a tutor’s place for no other reason and with little other qualification, than that he is a bully and chooses to interfere with and interrupt whatever the teacher or classes undertake to do? The bully, vagabond, loafer, terror of the school is set to lord it over milder mannered and better disposed pupils. Instead of checking his evil tendencies the school ma’m’s smiles and confidences have given them an impetus and lent him a prestige. The chances are he never returns to school another term, but goes out into the community a domineering braggart.
But this is the least of the evil. Pete and Tom and Jack see that the worst boy in the school has gained the greatest success of any boy ever in the school; he has the favor of a charming little lady, he has a quasi authority higher even than the teacher, and they resolve to be like him the next year or the year after. To do this it is not necessary to attend school regularly, but to become as tough as possible.
What of the girls in that school? The teacher has been held up to them as a model. They see the partiality shown to one they know is bad and conclude there must be something nice or grand about scape-grace boys, and girls are in the greatest danger when they begin to doubt the propriety of proper and right things.
The end is not yet. The education of forty other children has been spoiled and their lives tinged with the sentiment that goodness and industry don’t amount to much if you can stalk rough-shod over the rights of others.
This is not a fighting age and it is not necessary for the teacher to thrash every big boy that comes to school. Patrick says the public schools are not reform schools for the reception of boys who are too big and too bad to be controlled at home. There is a breeze of anarchism in our land, and every boy who grows up triumphing in his disregard of parental and school authority throws missiles in the air to be carried onward. Let the teachers lead the people in a healthy sentiment by saying, “I will teach your school in all things right and just and honorable. If you insist on sending, and the school board allows you to send boys who repudiate my instruction and defy my authority, then I will seek employment elsewhere.'”
W. E. Condict, Liberal, Mo.
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The 1900 census shows Wayne E. Condict in District 18 in Central, Barton County Missouri. He was born in September of 1850 in Indiana and had been married 24 years. His wife was Susan E., born August 1854 in Illinois. She’d had 5 children, 3 living. In the household were Winnifred G., born 1884 in Missouri, a son, and Rhoda E., born 1886 in Illinois.
He is likely the Wayne Condict, 29 years of age, in District 262 in Union, Barton County, Missouri in 1880, there married to S. E., age 25, the eldest son being a William, 2 years of age.