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" Teachers and the War."

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Teachers and the War." The following article, under the above title, appeared in the Western Mail" on the 10th instant: One of the problems which arise out of the application of compulsion to recruiting is that whioh concerns the many teachers who have sought exemption on the ground of Conscientioifs Objection. The teacher has a general responsibility for the mental and moral outlook of the child, and where Ave find a teacher who has so poor a concep- tion of civil obligation, public policy and military necessity as to be unwilling to take a personal share in the task of national defence, at a time when the enemy is thundering at the gates, it is necessary to ask the question whether the teacher has not missed his vocation. We believe that the sense of the nation disapproves a system under which those who belong to the next generation of citizens come under the influ- ence of teachers who, while they may not be disloyal, appear not to comprehend the essen- tials of loyalty. It will not have been over- looked that some of the chief leaders of the Sinn Fein movement were teachers. It is possible perhaps to over-estimate the signi- ficance of this fact, but we believe that the nation is not in a mood to prolong the risks whicti have become so painfully ob- vious. The education authorities ought well to consider whether these dangerous elements in the schools ought not to be removed and forbidden future ingress. Under normal circumstances we have little sympathy with the imposition of conscience tests in cont- racts of employment, but the education "^au- thorities must be on their guard against har- bouring influences in the schools which tend to a poor type of citizenship if not to active disloyalty. Several replies to the above were probably sent in to the "Western Mail," but that news- paper's only acknowledgment was the following note: To the correspondents who have written, to us on this subject, we beg to state: (1) That we cannot find space for letters for the de- fence of the teaching profession, as the tea- ching profession has not been attacked; (2) that we cannot publish seditious utterances. The following reply was sent in by Mr. Dan Griffiths, Llanelly: — (To the Editor of the Western Mail." Sir,—The moral of your leader on "Teachers and the War" is "Don't educate." The teachers who are conscientious objector and rebels have been produced in our elementary and secondary schools, with, possibly. the added help of private observation and study. Citizenship and patriotism are not very de- finite terms. They do not conaste the same things to Socialists and Anti-Socialists. There is a citizenship that would abolish all social injustices aiM establish a new Jerusalem on earth. There may be a citizenship which would defend ihe "status quo," and leave things where they are. There is a patriot- ism which means loving humanity in general and which has no room for a militarist and spurious nationalism. There may. be a pat- riotism which waves a. flag and shouts "Empire" antl My County—right or wrong. The crux of the matter is that eckication, like everything else takes its farm and col- our from the powers that be whoever they may be. At present the workers are cer- tainly not in control of our public bodies, although they make up 85 per cent. of the electorate. Those who own the means of life, that is, the land and capital, own ev- erything else—the pulpit, the press; aye, and even the schools. The enemy is in possession everywhere, and might is right. • It is legal and" quite alright to teach the children ".od Save the Kingand "Rule Britannia," but to teach" Bngland, Arise," "When- Wilt Thou Save the People?" or "The Red Flag" would be heresy and sedi- tion. It is perfectly in order to adorn our school walls with portraits (paid for with public money!) of Lord Kitchener, Admiral JeMicoe. Messrs. Asquith. Lloyd George and Balfour but the teacher who would dare add a portrait of the late Mr. Keir Hardie would receive the "sack," if not ten vears"! v One of the best hopes of Democracy is that an increasingly large number of teachers is rallying to the cause of social justice and peace. _———

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