A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

History: Petition For a Cliffwood Primary School, 27 Sept 1900

The residents of Cliffwood and Cliffwood Beach published a petition 110 years ago this week seeking their own elementary school. They didn't want their small children to have to make their way across town in inclement weather to attend school. Their entreaty to the more powerful forces in town is not so far off from the economic and social situation in the school district today.

Also of interest here: The petitioners chose to publish their notice in the Keyport Enterprise, prompting The Matawan Journal to print the notice again on their front page, along with a bit of a lecture about the purpose of a local newspaper.  While the paper disagreed editorially with the petitioners, they cried foul that anyone would think they would refuse to publish a contrary viewpoint to their own. They even seemed hurt that the petitioners felt they couldn't bring their entreaty to them for publication.

Ref: The Matawan Journal,  27 September 1900, front page

The Role of a Local Paper

The JOURNAL is a local paper and its columns are always open to communications of public interest, no matter whether the views of the correspondent are in accord with those of the editor or not. Simply because we believe it will be for the best interests, educationally speaking, of the children of the township to continue the present method of conducting the schools, does not say or mean that those who have different views cannot express them to our readers. There are always two sides of a question and the only way to get both sides heard is through reading the arguments in the local papers or hearing them discussed at a public meeting called for the purpose.

Petition for a Cliffwood Primary School

To the Board of Education of the Township of Matawan,and also to the Citizens outside to the limits of the Cliffwood School District: We your |petitioners, residents of said district, many of us parents of children of our vicinity in particular do respectfully petition you to use your best endeavors to secure to us the erection of a suitable school-building, supplied with teachers equipments suited to our necessities. We have no object to a central high school located at Matawan, but we believe that It would be for the best interests of our children in the beginning of school life to have proper facilities and teachers near at home, and as they advance in years and progress in their studies and become better able to stand the journey to the Matawan school, and have them promoted when suitably advanced, to it. 

This is not a return to the old system but one that is being adopted throughout the county, They have a high school in Neptune Township and also nine primary schools, two or three of which are in open sight of the high school, one of which recently completed is a nice brick building. Ocean township has more than that. Other townships in the county have a similar system. The good people of Matawan are fortunate in having such a good school at their doors. They have also the votes to outvote us, but we believe that they are generous and public spirited enough to give us a motely of the privileges enjoyed by them and are not so selfish as to deny to the outlaying districts the advantages they, themselves, would like to possess, and no doubt would demand if placed in the same position. 

You will bear in mind that every child of school age is entitled to all the advantages to secure the best education it is possible to give them. We believe that a great wrong would be done to require our children, especially the younger ones, to attend school at Matawan by walking or otherwise in all kinds of weather. In all communities there are those whose circumstances will not permit them to provide their children with proper protection from our rigorous weather. We therefore repeat our petition to you, who have the votes, the influence, and enjoy the great advantages for your children, that you do, to lend us your aid in securing to us our just rights and such as you would desire yourselves under the same circumstances.


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