School Acts passed in February 1871

These acts were passed by the Central Authority in Toronto not long before Mr. Seath resigned from the Central School.

  1. All common schools in the province were to be free schools. School sections and municipal councils of cities, towns and villages were given the right to levy taxes on taxable properties in their divisions or municipality to defray expenses.

(The act provided that Public school boards in towns and villages may, if they deem expedient, collect from parents or guardians of children attending their school, a sum not exceeding twenty cents per month per pupil to defray the cost of textbooks, stationery and other contingencies. Oshawa had had the free school system since 1862. All common schools were to be designated as Public Schools – that is free and open to all and Grammar Schools were to be called High schools.)

  1. Every child from the age of seven to twelve years inclusive shall have the right to attend some school or be otherwise educated for four months of the years. Any parent or guardian of a child under his care is subject to a fine if he does not comply with the aforesaid law.

(Roadwork could be imposed in lieu of the fine. A refractory child could be sent from Public or high school to an Industrial school. Roman Catholic children cannot be required to attend a Protestant school or Protestant children a Roman Catholic school.)

Exceptions to the law regarding school attendance may be made in case of extreme poverty, illness or great distance from school.

Rev. E. Ryerson had been trying for some time to get the law passed regarding school attendance. He made it plain at various meetings that every child must have the right to an education. However, it was to be many years before the laws were enforced to a full extent and truant officers were appointed.

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