Sparta, Monroe Co, Wisconsin
BLAINE EXPLAINS SPARTA SITUATION
CONDITIONS HAD BECOME INTOLERABLE
From the Daily Tribune [Wisconsin Rapids, Wood Co.,WI], Thursday January 31, 1924, Page 1
Madison, Wisconsin: Gov. John J. Blaine on Wednesday told the inside story of why he had instituted the shake-up at the home for dependent children at Sparta in a before 300 women gathered at the capitol to form a district federation of women's clubs.
He declared that he had called on the board of control to change conditions at Sparta or he would ask the resignation of all members.
Fed Watered Milk
"The time was", the governor declared, "when the school was performing the functions designed for it by law. That function ceased when the children at the school became the objects of clinical demonstration by which they were subjected to professionalism. Had that condition continued it would have brought disgrace and a stench to the nostrils of Wisconsin people. I have been criticized for changing that condition, but I want to tell you mothers of the conditions I found there. I found the children were being fed on watered milk, and a diet of mental diagnosis substituted for wholesome milk. I found the children dressed like fools and treated like fools. I was utterly helpless to change that condition until I called in the board of control and told it I must either have a change or the resignation of the entire board.
"I haven't suggested one-tenth of the wrongs done to the children at Sparta," he declared, "nor one-fiftieth of the improvements that have been brought about in six months."
He predicted that under changed conditions and wholesome food the average mentality of children at the school will be raised from its level at 12 percent of normal to 80 to 85 percent.
Economic distress, the governor declared, is responsible for 90 percent of the crime and feeble mindedness and a smaller percentage of insanity.
"We can't permit two percent of the people to own 60 percent of the nation's wealth and preserve the prosperity of our homes," he asserted. As executive, he informed the women, "I find few pleas for clemency from the rich because the rich are not in jail. Only the poor are in jail."
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