The Various Needs of the School um GATESVILLE ‘ Except for the state’s failure to provide probation and parole officers for the 1,700 children released by the reform schools and now roaming the state, the most acute neglect of children in trouble is now occurring at Gatcsville School for Boys, which handles more children than all the other state institutions for youths put together. Gatesville has not a single psychologist, though a few severely upset boys are taken to a Waco psychiatrist. There are only ten caseworkers at Gatesville for 1,157 boys, or one for every 116 boys. John Godfrey, one of the caseworkers, told the Observer the professionally recommended ratio is one caseworker to 50 boys. Each caseworker is paid $325 a month. “You take meI net $263 a month, married and one dependent,” Godfrey said. “Any college graduate will do better than that. They need more case workers here, but they won’t get. ’em. I wouldn’t be here except I need a year’s experience to get into work as a parole officer. “What really gets me,” he said, “is some boy’ll be sent here, his dad’s a cat driver or a truck driver, he gets $400 a month with a third grade education!” The most obvious problem at Gatesville is overcrowding. Superintendent Perry says 40 boys per dormitory is the recommended standard. At “Colored Hill,” the segregated buildings boys from El Paso, Juarez, can’t speak a word of English. We just let ’em work all day. It’s what they want to do. We figure we’ll get at ’em vocationally a little bit.” “You know,” Kennard, who had been quiet, said, “You look at ’em and they’re just kids aren’t they? They’re just kids.” “They could be anybody’s boy, couldn’t they?” Perry said. We went down the hall to the classrooms, into the first .grade room, sunlit from the wall of windows open to the schoolyard, flowers on the broad windowsill. The writing desks, Perry remarked, were larger than in many of the higher grades, for many of the bigger boys come here, “16, 15, 13.” There was a chart at the front .wall with colored stars by each student’s name; gold, silver, red, and blue: blue for good conduct, not many of those; a boy with a Latin name seemed to have the longest string. “That gets it back to where he’s a pretty normal boy, doesn’t it?” Perry said. “A regular classroom teacher heresomebody who’s interested in him. These 160 are in school all day. My appropriation request would let 300 more go all day. You know I think that’s the cheapest thing to do with them. Some people say ‘Make ’em work.’ Well, they’re boys 15, 16, 17, pretty young to make ’em work. I think it’s a fine thing for ’em to go to school.” The boys do the janitor work and mow the yards, he said. Across the road in one of the new dorms about 20 boys sat in a lobby, some watching TV, some at checkers, some around a portable radio. The sleeping room had only 40 beds \(though it was designed, bed at 8 o’clock at Gatesville and get up at 6 \(“most of the boys can they have enough toilets and showersprivate, not communal, as in the others. Each night a boy is the “toothbrush boy” to see ev across the road from the main school, 112 Negro boys are sleeping in bunks in one large room, or “tank,” the beds not more than a foot and a half apart, and many of them double-bunks. On the other side of this same floor, 99 boys sleep in the same room, under the same conditions. The third Negro “company” has about 80 boys in it. Overcrowding of from 60 to 70 boys is the rule in the “companies” for white boys. The new units built with money appropriated by the 55th legislature were constructed for 30 boys each but already have 40 in each of them. Supt. Perry is now caring for 1,157 boys on an appropriation for only 850 of them. He will have to go on feeding, clothing, and caring for the growing population already 300 more than he has money foruntil the new appropriation bill goes into effect six months from now. He explained that when money gets short, like now, one of the expedients he has to adopt is cutting meat out of the boys’ meals. .Serving meat in a meal at Gatesville costs $400. Saturday is a meatless day now. In addition, Perry said, the economy is sometimes adopted of dividing one meat serving over two dayssay, distributing roast between meat pie for one day and meatloaf the next. At the Negro quarters, he ‘asked an attendant how often the boys get milk. Every morning, the attendant said. “And once again during the day?” Hesitant, “Uh occasionally,” the attendant said. As the party left Perry said he erybody brushes his teeth; the “shower boy” stands at the showers, “talking like he’s a commanding general’I need six boys for showers!’ ” They can’t smoke after 8, but they can in the daytime. “We don’t say anything about it,” Perry said. “We give ’em a package of Golden Grain each week. If they want it they can get itthey call it ‘free gob.’ Sometimes we give ’em Bugler. Here’s the thingif you fight ’em on smoking, there’re so many other things you’ve got to get on ’em about. We try to give a little somethin’. If they think that you’re considering them a little bit they don’t much question you, poor little devils.” A Scout Mother Finally we were to visit California Hall. Reluctant, Perry had left it to the last. Not long ago, he said, as we drove over there, five boys kidnapped two men on the grounds at knife point and drove off in their car. Two have been sent to the penitentiary, having been 17 at the time; the others are being held, and “these’ll go to the pen when they’re 17,” in two or three months. They are being held in cells in California Hall. He stopped to talk to a mother and father who were visiting with their boy. in the lobby of the building. There was some talk about the boy’ skin sickness, and why he hadn’t told them about it when he first came to the school. After some of this the boy said, “I don’t believe in complaining. I don’t believe in complaining.” He looked about 16, Perry asked the mother, a buxom, efficient, well fed woman any boy would be glad to have in the kitchen before suppertime, if she understood things better than the day before. Yes, she said, she did. But when would he get out? A month, Perry guessed; but remember, he said, that for what he did, if he had been old enough, he could get ten years. \(He and five other boys father, a thin man in a blue suit, perhaps an accountant, said, “Well, I guess you know best; I’ve never known about anything like this before.” The mother said to him, with the boy out of earshot, “You know I don’t understand it, I’m in the PTA, I was a Scout Mother four years, my other children were all right, and now one of ’em goes bad!” “Well,” Perry told her, “We’ll just have to make the best of it.” “Yes, sir,” she said. “You may not like some of the things you see here, but I honestly don’t know how you’d run this place without it,” Perry said as we went down a hall. On the average boys stay there 15 days. “We give ’em 30 days a car. Three cars, in 45 or 50 days we let ’em out and tell ’em have to do the rest of that time, in addition to whatever else, if they get into any more trouble.” There are three cell blocks of 20 cells each running off the main corridor and also quarters for a company of about 30 boys who are not confined to the cells. We walked down one of the blocks with Perry. Each door has a small window at eye level. Some of the boys came to these windows and looked out; one or two were stretched out asleep on their cots; one lay staring out the window, toying with something at the sill. We went ahead of Perry and came back first, because we felt we were intruding on the boys, and because several of them had stopped Perry to talk to him. `Is It Too Rough?’ In the hallway, he saw we were depressed, and he asked, “Is it too rough?” We couldn’t say it was. “I believe you have to play for keeps to show ’em what it’s like,” he said. “That’s the reason we do it. And they know it’s pretty mild, compared.” We said we did not want to go ‘down the other blocks, but he wanted to show us a room which was unoccupied in another of How to Succeed; How to Marry; When to Flee Frank A. “Pat.’ Patterson, Washington, D.C., sales training specialist, told the Abilene Advertising Club that “attitude is the number one personal quality that makes a successful man.” In town. to conduct a customer relations and sales clinic, the specialist listed as other desirable sales attributes: expression, organizing, leadership, adaptability, decisionmaking ability, creative imagination, concentration, observation, do more than required, thoroughness, and knowledge \(“Knowledge J. V. Jones, Athens radio and television man, escaped injury when his experimental oneman helicopter was demolished in a freak accident on the machine’s maiden flight at Palestine. Designed to be marketed commercially, the helicopter was destroyed in landing when one of the wheels sank into soft ground off the concrete runway. The Way of Life OA spur-of-the-moment deci sion of a San Antonio teenage couple to elope to Arkansas was short-circuited when the groom-to-be, 17, accidentally shot his younger brother, who was to be in the wedding party. The victim, 16, was listed in fair condition after being shot in the abdomen when he stepped in the path of a flashlight beam being used as a night hunting beacon. The wedding party had stopped to hunt rabbits. …. Addendum: Sheriff’s deputies in San Antonio arrested four youngsters and four more escaped by scattering into the woods during a “love nest” raid. Officers said the raid on an abandoned house known locally as the Koehler place had produced blankets, pillows, and “several” bottles, some empty. OThe Associated Press duly reported the annual dinner in London of the Anglo-Texan society, “an organization of Englishmen who love the Lone Star State.” Under English and Texas flags, the gathering in the House of Commons dining room toasted the Governor of Texas and “the honor of the state of Texas. Of all the countries in the world, Texas has the most.” OGalveston’s “colorful” mayor denied he threatened to kill a businessman whom the mayor said tried . to get him to fix a traffic ticket. Portly George Roy Clough said “I didn’t threaten that crazy so-and-so, I just told him if he had said in my office what he said to me over the telephone Monday, I would have shot his damned h e a d off.” Furniture dealer Frank J. Newsome filed charges that Clough threatened his life after Newsome had gotten a $15 speeding ticket. The mayor filed counter charges, accusing Newsome of loud and profane language. OA columnist for the Tyler Courier Times Telegraph quoted a candy and cigar company representative as saying the demand for snuff in the East Texas area is “astoundingmy company wholesaled $150,000 worth” last year alone. The sales representative interpreted the Governor’s tax proposal which’ excludes snuff as indicating “he wants to get reelected.” ended Aug. 31, 1958, a total of 559 children. were returned to the three training schoolsGatesville, Gainesville for white girls, and Crockett for Negro girlsbecause of broken paroles. “The council considers the high rate of returns to the schools to be a direct result the schools, necessitated by overadequate and-or lack of supervision for youngsters released on parole,” says the latest T.Y.C. report. Broken paroles average 33 percent \(one boy of every three rethe two girls’ schools. Of the 510 boys who broke parole from Gatesville and were recommitted in fiscal 1958, 245 were back at the school within four months of their release, and another 122 were back within eight months. During the same fiscal 1958, other states were supervising 102 Texas children on parole from the training schools. During the year only five of these children broke parole and had to be returned to the training schools in Texas. IN ITS APPROPRIATION re I quests, the Texas Youth Coun cil asks for a state paid parole supervision system \($685,000 for tories of eighty beds each and a new school for delinquent boys dependent, neglected, and orphan whom the state now has no home. R. D. them. When a boy would come to the window he would wave at him in a friendly way and call him by his first name. Many of them smiled, as others outside had smiled, as he passed; they like him. We saw two small boys’ faces at one of the windows. The cell is perhaps nine feet by six by eight. There is a lidless and seatless toilet, obscenely open; a wash basin; a cot, a small window. We had not been in there a minute when I felt with a start how horrible not to be able to get out. “Of course,” Perry said to us, “there’s the psychological prob -lem. We watch if they go to acting strangely. Some of them will cut their arms. Maybe to get sympathy. Maybe they don’t know why they’re doing it. They’re mixed up boys. All I know to do is to try to be nice to ’em. They’ll usually warm up. Of course, they’re not like free world boys. This isn’t a free world. This isn’t a free world …. We watch them pretty close. You see you can walk a little back and forth here,” between the bed and the door. “We know somethin’s wrong when they go to walkin’. When they go to walkin’ we see if we can help relieve the strain. Let ’em out for a while, usually.” We went out ahead of him, and into the main corridor. Voices delayed him. One asked him “How long I gonna have to stay in here, Mr. Perry?” “Oh, three or four weeksyou’ve just started!” he said cheerfully. He came on toward the main corridor. “Mr. Perry!” “Mr. Perry!” voices called at him. He came out ducking his head: “Listen to the poor devils, ain’t it pitiful?” In the center corridor he said, “Sometimes you wake up at three in the morning and hear some boy calling you.” He was a little embarassed and said, “Well not just like that.” R. D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER
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