This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of September 9

2022-09-09 TWIR Image-Teachers
2022-09-09 TWIR Inage-Bathing

September 7, 1872 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       Early on Monday morning an Italian, pale and emaciated, accompanied by a little girl having in her arms a bundle covered with a white cloth, was observed sitting upon a stoop near the residence of Mr. William DeVoe. Upon being accosted by that gentleman, he stated in such broken words of English as he was able to utter that he had been very sick; that his wife, who had become the mother of twin children two or three weeks ago, was also sick; and that one of the children had since died, and he wanted to find a priest. Mr. DeVoe told him that there was no priest nearer than Piermont, but he gave him to understand that it was a Protestant he wanted and drawing the cloth from the little girl’s bundle, a dead child was seen in her arms. The pastor of the Reformed Church, Mr. Blauvelt, was absent from his from home, and the sexton Mr. Parcells also absent, that Mr. DeVoe caused a little coffin to be constructed and the dead child was buried in the cemetery by two lads who had dug a little grave to receive it. The poor sick father was thankful for the kindness extended to him in his affliction.

September 7, 1932 90 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal News

[Image: Bathing at Rockland Lake, undated postcard.  Courtesy of the Bob Knight Collection.]
       Visitors at Rockland Lake on Monday were thrilled when a plucky 12-year-old girl rescued her drowning cousin in the nick of time. The boy, Arthur Scheibel, of Jamaica, L.I., became panic-stricken when he found himself beyond his depth near the slide. Those on the shore saw the lad sink, while two of his cousins Rose and Eileen Scheibel, called from the shore to their sister, Margaret, 12, who was still in the water.
       The girl swam to the boy and seized his hand as he sank again, but it was only after a hard fight that she managed to drag him to shore, where he was revived. Both victim and rescuer were almost dragged under the surface several times. Margaret’s bravery and strength were soundly praised by those had watched the struggle.

September 6, 1972 50 YEARS AGO
Journal News

[Image: Clarkstown teachers mass at courthouse steps in New City to answer injunction action. Photo by Ted Neuhoff.]
       Teachers manned the picket lines instead of classrooms in three Rockland school districts this morning in their continued down-to-the-wire attempts at securing bilateral contracts.
       In two of the struck districts, Pearl River and Clarkstown, students were affected since today is the first day of school. In the third, Ramapo 1, students are not to report until Thursday.
       In Ramapo 2, teachers voted Tuesday to open school today for the scheduled half-day for students, but repeat appearances from tomorrow on will depend on how successful they are tonight at getting the school board to meet their demands. If they don’t reach an agreement, the teachers have already voted to become the fourth district on strike.
       Schools reportedly were set to open as scheduled in other county districts: North Rockland, Nyack, Nanuet and BOCES today and South Orangetown Thursday.
       In Pearl River, teachers were served with a court injunction Tuesday at 4 p.m. prohibiting them from striking and ordering them back to the classrooms. But they ignored it and were out in force this morning, blockading the entrance to every school in the district.
       In Clarkstown, teachers voted overwhelmingly this morning to strike the district, the first time they have officially used the word.
       The action came at a rally at Ripples of Rockland, after which teachers again jammed the county courthouse for the second straight day in response to a show-cause order that they insist requires all 800 teachers to appear.
       The order was part of an injunction served on them Saturday night by the school board, prohibiting them from striking, picketing, or taking any other form of job action.
       Designating officers of the Clarkstown Teachers Association [CTA] by name, it then lumped the other 800 together as “John and Mary Doe” and called on “each and every one” to appear at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Supreme Court to show cause they should not be enjoined from the strike and ordered back to the classrooms.
       That summons turned into a battling point itself Tuesday after the entire membership showed up in court and vowed to return today, claiming they were merely doing what the board wanted them to in the injunction.
              District officials, however, claimed the order only required the officers of the CTA to appear. Supt. of Schools Felix Festa said the teachers were “playing games” and that he was not about to join them in a matter as serious as the opening of school affecting 13,000 students.
       In court, teachers’ attorney Gilbert McCormack asked Justice George Fanelli for a postponement until this morning, claiming teachers did not have adequate time to prepare their defense and because, by law, each of the 800 summoned was entitled to his own attorney.
       Fanelli agreed to the postponement, ordering the teachers back the following day. Teachers and school officials disagreed afterwards, however, on whether Fanelli had ordered only the officers to show up or whether the full membership was ordered to appear.
       Teacher representatives emerged from the courtroom Tuesday to inform the milling but orderly crowd they had to appear again today, an announcement greeted by a tumultuous cheer disrupting the entire courthouse and leading to a stern warning by sheriff’s deputies to end any demonstrations
       In Ramapo 1 teacher spokesman James McFatter said better than 95 per cent of the teaching staff is participating in the action, following rejection of the latest offer by the school board of a starting salary of $8,800, $100 more than has been offered in any other district so far but still short of the minimum starting salary of $9,000 being demanded by teachers countywide.
       McFatter said teachers in Ramapo 1 have taken a “clear vote” not to end their strike until they actually have a signed contract. Returning to the negotiating table is not enough at this point to halt the picketing and get the teachers back in the classrooms, he said.
       In Pearl River, trouble developed as early as 6:30 a.m. today as teachers began picketing entrances to all schools in the districts.
       Police had to be called, particularly at the high school, as the pickets tried to keep out administrative personnel, teachers not honoring the picket lines and substitutes.
       As each managed to slip through the growing crowds of militant teacher-pickets, they received a verbal barrage of shouts, abuse and, in many cases, even threats such as “you’ll be sorry” and “we’ll get you.”
       Although teachers were still denying it was a strike, Supt. of Schools Arthur Williamson, the man empowered by law as the only one who can officially declare a strike, said he had exercised that right yesterday afternoon “after it became clear to me that the teachers were engaged in strike activities, regardless of what they call it or don’t call it.”
       He stressed this morning that schools are open in Pearl River, classrooms being manned by a handful of non-striking teachers, by substitute teachers and by volunteer parents.
       Negotiation discussions between the teachers amid the school board broke off shortly before midnight last night with no progress reported.
       Dr. Williamson said a super-conciliator assigned to the district by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) is still offering its services to both parties when they agree to meet. He said the board team is ready, willing and able” to meet at any time, and will probably seek a meeting with teachers this weekend.
       Regarding the strike and picketing, Williamson said he had exhausted all legal means at his disposal to end them when the teachers refused to honor the court injunction ordering them back to school.
       But he said he will still enforce other laws that stipulate the manner in which picketing must be done.
       The injunction is returnable at New City Sept. 12, but Williamson was not predicting what might happen between now and then.
       Responding to the teacher contract controversies throughout the county, the county legislature voted Tuesday to authorize chairman Herschel Greenbaum to “use his good offices to ameliorate all issues in dispute.”
       Unanimously approving a motion introduced by Clarkstown Legislator Theodore Dusanenko, a teacher in the North Rockland school district, the legislature also asked that “schools be kept open.”
       The legislature’s action was clouded, however, by a teacher contract dispute of its own.
       Noting that no contract has yet been signed with the Rock land Community College Federation of Teachers for 1972-73, the legislature resolved that any agreement eventually reached will be retroactive to Sept. 1.

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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