This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of February 14

2020-02-14 TWIR Image-Nanuet Schoolhouse

February 12, 1870 150 Years Ago
Rockland County Journal

REPORT OF THE COUNTY SCHOOL COMMISSIONER, HON. NICH. C. BLAUVELT  Of the schoolhouses in this county, thirty-seven are frame, five are built of brick. Of the teachers, thirty-five are male and fifty-three are female; twenty having been licensed by the Normal School, and the remainder by local officers.
     A teacher’s institute was held a Nanuet during the year, at which forty-three working teachers were present with an aggregate attendance of one hundred and thirty-one days
     Comparisons with the abstracts and tables of the other bounties reveals the gratifying fact that Rockland County is fully up to the average status in the matter of public education. Compared with ourselves in former years the increased average daily attendance evinces a healthy growth, and an increased favor and interest on the part of our people. The schoolhouses in many of the districts are steadily assuming a more comfortable appearance and becoming better supplied with the necessary comforts and conveniences to facilitate the studies of the pupils.
     The teachers, as a class are all that can be reasonably expected of them and in an average as well qualified for their vocation as those of any other county in the State.
     Yet notwithstanding the gratifying advancement made in both the physical and intellectual condition of our schools, there is ample room for more. There is one fact revealed by the School Commissioners’ Report to which we desire to call special attention: Fifty per cent of the children of the district do not attend school. This is a rate of non-attendance by far too great; higher, in fact, than in most other counties.

[Image: Black-and-white postcard showing the Public School in Nanuet. The building was used until approximately 1912.]

February 14, 1920 100 YEARS AGO
The Nyack Evening Journal

ROCKLAND MAN, THOUGHT DEAD, FOUND IN ARMY – William Lusgarten, President of Tax Lien Company, Whose Hat Was Found in the River, Taken in France and Will Brought Back for Trial  If William Lusgarten, of Pearl River, even intended to seek death – and a letter written by the missing president of the Tax Lien Company after his disappearance from his home on August 16, 1917, indicated that he did – he decided that his body should rest in a soldier’ grave and not on a river’s muddy bottom.
     Instead of drowning himself in the river as he threatened to do in five notes left by him when he disappeared last August, Lusgarten enlisted under an assumed name in the US Army. When the armistice was signed, he was at that part of the front where death was most to be expected.
     He is now under military arrest awaiting return to New York City, where he will face an indictment charging the diversions of funds of the Tax Lien Company.
     “I would be worth more to my friends dead than alive,” wrote Lusgarten in one of the notes he left. His friends had invested $100,000 in the Tax Lien Company and subsidiary concerns.

Week of February 10-16, 1970 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

COLOR TV BOOKLET AVAILABLE  A free booklet on installation and service of color television sets is being distributed in Rockland by the Rockland Better Business Bureau of Bergen, Passaic and Rockland counties. The booklet explains factors that determine reception quality and causes of interference and gives tips: on adjustment of color sets. The booklet may be obtained by sending a stamped business size return envelope to BHB offices at 2 Forest Ave., Paramus.

IN CHILDREN’S MENTAL CARE…ROCKLAND COUNTY LEADS A DELINQUENT NATION  Rockland County leads the country in many phases of mental health services for children, according to Dr. Martin V. Hart, associate director of children's and adolescents' services of the community health and welfare complex.
     A government report to be published in book form soon states, “there are almost no decent child psychiatry facilities in the United States.”
     Dr. Hart said he estimates “there are 5,000 to 10,000 Rockland youngsters who need psychiatric treatment. These include drug addicts, high-school dropouts, juvenile delinquents, children with learning difficulties, emotionally disturbed children and those with simple problems of growing up.”
     The report says these “children and young people are crippled in their ability to learn, to relate to others, to see the real world as it is, or to adequately handle their imputes of anger, fear and sex.”
     The country has been delinquent in providing “primary prevention,” Dr. Hart said. Jailing a delinquent or giving him psychiatric aid after he is caught is of far less value than treating before destructive symptoms even begin to appear.
     The new child development center at the complex, Dr. Hart said, will provide such “primary prevention” beginning with prenatal care at the one such suburban facility of its kind.
     The center is dedicated to the care of children under five years of age. It provides diagnostic services, consultation with pediatricians, school officials, and other outside sources interested in the child's development and nurseries for children displaying emotional difficulties.
     “This concept is still in the planning stage in most parts of the country,” Dr. Hart said. He added that the sort of cooperative research sponsored by the child development center is exactly what is called for in the report.
     Day care centers and other social services are also necessary, he said, to allow the disadvantaged to get the same chances for proper development as middle-class youngsters. Such services could cut down on the high rate of premature birth which causes defects, mental and educational retardation and emotional upset among the poor.
     Opportunities also have to be provided for adolescents by making education more responsive to their needs. “Their education,” the report said, “should be deeply and immediately related to life and include opportunities to learn about the realities of living in today's society. School is meant to prepare youngsters to fulfill their potentials so they can become effective adults. Such preparation is bound to be distorted and inadequate if it is conducted in a closed social system.”
     Dr. Hart said he interpreted this to mean that experimentation and greater freedom for teachers and students are necessary. “Proper training for the child may not be college but a vocational program,” Dr. Hart said, “and the parent must learn to accept this and not push the youngster into an academic career which will do him more harm than good.”
     Parents should get used to working with school officials in guiding their child's schooling, Hart said. If they are in one program planning from the beginning, they will go along with changes which will aid the child in shaping his future.
     The report also deals with the treatment of emotionally disturbed or slow children in school.
     “Our school system must devote specific attention to children with particular problems, including those related to emotional and mental disorders. To the maximum extent possible; these children should be kept in the mainstream of the school life, not shunted off to specific schools or classes.”
     For this reason, Dr. Hart said, the complex prefers to aid school districts in their counseling and school psychiatric programs rather than having schools send “problem children” to the center. He said there aren't enough resources at the center to do this.
     A child may be removed from his school if his disturbance is so drastic as to require a special environment. The child development center has a school for such children which provides that special environment while allowing the child to live at heme. The alternative is often sending the youngster to a state hospital.
     The solutions suggested by the federal report includes a $6 to $10 billion a year program of social and psychiatric services. It would involve a Presidential advisory council on children's health and mental health, a child development agency in each state, and a child development authority in each state, which would coordinate services and set policy rather than provide the service. The authority would set up 100 child development councils throughout the country with at least one in each state. These would coordinate local services and would be consumer controlled. Studies would be conducted by at least 10 evaluation centers to address the problem of child development and suggest programs.
     The cost of these programs, Dr. Martin Hart said, “isn’t an excessive amount when you consider we are working with the lives of the children of this country.”

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC's mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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