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For the first season it is not probable that any musical instruction will be given. It does not seem likely that during the limited period of the Summer School sufficient facility in any line of music could be acquired to be of any practical value. Experiments in this direction, however, may later be made. The privileges of the school will be granted to men only. The admission of women, under the conditions which prevail, would complicate arrangements and discipline, and it has been thought best to confine the experiment to the class most imperatively calling for aid. Blind women find their natural sphere in the home, and can more easily make for themselves a place, and become self-supporting members of the families of relatives and friends, than can men.
It is the aim of this plan to do for blind men so far as time and conditions permit the same service which many of the methods elsewhere pursued are seeking to accomplish. It will take the place of the training departments of homes for blind adults; it will provide, and it seems to me more adequately, the instruction which is given by visiting, teachers; and most important of all, it will open the door of hope and opportunity for lack of which many a blind man broods in bitterness and misery. If his efforts prove inadequate or less adequate than he has hoped, he has at least had his opportunity, and while he may more fully realize the difficulties of his condition, he will no longer feel that they exist because he is denied an opportunity to remove them.
Only those who have come into close contact, through long and sympathetic acquaintance, with blind men can even begin to appreciate the helplessness and hopelessness of the situation which confronts them on first losing sight. It is an absolutely new world to them. They have no knowledge of the means of adapting themselves to it, and everything which ingenuity and sympathy has devised for aiding and ameliorating their condition must be discovered by them alone and uŋaided. Is it any wonder that the magnitude of the task proves too much for them, and that they sink too often into apathy if not indifference. The plan proposed brings together men united by the bond of a common aflliction. The devices and remedial suggestions of one become the property of all, and all learn from competent instructors everything that the world has accumulated in the way of aid and amelioration for their condition.
Many objections to this plan have already come to your minds, as they have to those who are proposing to carry out the experiment of the Sunmer School. It is possible that even more serious ones may develop in its course, but at least it is hoped that if not in itself a finality it may point the way to something better and more productive of benefit to those for whose amelioration it is proposed. Certain very obvious advantages of such a scheme for aid to blind men will readily appear. The school plant with its equipment for training and labor is idle during the vacation period and can be utilized with no additional expense. The arrangements for housing and caring for the adult inmates are at hand with no additional cost. The only extra cost is for the additional teaching force required during the summer school period, and for the additional food and domestic service. Evidently no such amount of benefit can be bestowed with so small an outlay of money as in the method proposed.
Whether the results will justify even this small expense only the future can determine, and to that future I leave the decision of the question of the Summer School for Blind Men.
SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT,
Biennial Period Ending July 31, 1906
Faribault, Minn., November 1, 1906.
To the Honorable Board of Directors,
Gentlemen: This, the fourteenth biennial report of this school, includes the period from August 1st, 1904, to July 31st. 1906.
The various written reports made by the superintendent to the board from time to time constitute a history in detail for the period. But the law requires this biennial report and makes it a permanent, comprehensive statement of all events of interest during the two years.
A distressing epidemic of diphtheria occurred between September 26th, 1904, and April 3rd, 1905. We had thirty-eight cases among the pupils and three of employes. One death, John Krick, of Mazeppa, Wabasha County. He was an attractive boy. Diphtheria caused his deafness and impaired his heart. School was closed December 2nd and opened February 15th. One hundred ninety-eight pupils went to their homes.
During this period, the fine skill and unswerving devotion to duty of the physician, Dr. W. H. Robilliard, seconded by the no less devoted work of the matrons and nurses, afforded ample proof that the battlefield is not the only place for the display of heroism. We should also mention the services of Health Commissioner Dr. Fred R. Huxley, or Faribault, and of State Health Commissioner Dr. H. M. Bracken. Dr. O. McDaniel of that commission spent some weeks with us taking cultures and otherwise assisting.
On the 26th of January, 1906, Eva Waldeen, of Afton, Washington County, died of pneumonia. She was a bright, little girl. From the first she seemed fatally struck. Her friends were with her.
The general health of the period has been about as usual. For a detailed statement, I respectfully refer you to the report of physician, Dr. W. H. Robilliard. A number of tonsils and adenoids have been removed and glasses prescribed for the pupils by our specialist, Dr. A. F. Pringle.
DR. W. H. ROBILLIARD'S REPORT.
J. N. TATE, Superintendent.
Dear Sir: Following is a list of the diseases which have prevailed in the school during the past two years together with the number of cases of each disease:
Total number pupils treated, 242; Total individuals enrolled, 335.
Referring to my report two years ago, I called attention to the unavoidable conditions in the school which engender the rapid spread of contagious diseases and might result in the utter demoralization of school work. That this state of affairs was so close at hand, we did not realize at the time. On Sept. 26th, 1904, a case of diphtheria developed in one of the pupils recently come from home. In spite of all precautions, the disease slowly spread until we had a veritable epidemic with which to contend. The local and state board of health were called upon for counsel and assistance in preventing the spread of the disease. It was deemed best to close the school, which was done, and after careful examination those pupils who were free from germs were sent home. There remained in the school over eighty pupils, cultures from the throats of whom showed the presence of diphtheria germs. By close attention and treatment, but few of these developed diphtheria. There were 38 cases of diphtheria, some mild, and some very severe, one of which proved fatal. To the intelligence, energy, and untiring efforts of those in authority in maintaining the quarantine and following up the disinfection we are indebted for the rapid and effectual manner in which this epidemic was controlled.
In 1905-06 another epidemic made its appearance. Nine cases of pneumonia in a very severe form again filled the hospital beds. One of these cases after an illness of four days proved fatal,
The number of cases of tonsilitis, on first thought, appears large Many of these cases were but slightly ill, but it is our practice to place all in bed, as tending to promote more rapidly recovery and prevent complications.
W. H. ROBILLIARD, M. D.