SCHOOL-ATTENDANCE — “the child is taken from him, and sent to school, the father to prison.”


One of the most signal features of the school-system of
Prussia and of many of the neighboring States is the universality
of the children’s attendance. After a child has arrived
at the legal age for attending school, — whether he be the child
of noble or of peasant, — the only two absolute grounds of
exemption from attendance are sickness and death. The
German language has a word for which we have no equivalent
either in language or in idea. The word is used in reference
to children, and signifies due to the school ; that is, when the
legal age for going to school arrives, the right of the school to
the child’s attendance attaches, just as, with us, the right of a
creditor to the payment of a note or bond attaches on the day
of its maturity. If a child, after having been once enrolled as
a member of the school, absents himself from it, or if, after
arriving at the legal age, he is not sent there by his parents,
a notice in due form is sent to apprise them of the delinquency.
If the child is not then forthcoming, a summons follows.
The parent is cited before the court ; and if he has no excuse,
and refuses compliance, the child is taken from him, and sent to
school, the father to prison.

From a pamphlet published by a director of the school in Halle,
I translate the following forms of notices and summonses, in
order to give a more viid idea of the manner in which this
business is conducted: —

— Horace Mann, 1843

FROM: The “Seventh Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board of Education of the State of Massachusetts, 1843”
As found in original scanned format online on Page 365-6, The Life and Works of Horace Mann

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