Monday May 24, 1937 Lima News
Pupils Strike at Ottoville
Student Body Resents Dismissal of Three Popular Instructors
Ottoville, May 25 – Resenting the action of the school board in refusing to renew the contracts of three popular members of the faculty, approximately 75 students of the high school division of the Ottoville centralized school walked out of their classrooms at noon today.
The students had engaged in a sit-down during the morning, remaining in their seats and refusing to take part in any school-work.
When these tactics did not appear to be securing results, the pupils walked out at noon and were marching around the school building and through the village carrying variously worded banners.
Supt. F. J. Uhrich refused to discuss the matter when contacted over the telephone by The Lima News, and the head of the village school board also stated that “I know nothing about it.”
According to early information, the school board, at a meeting last week, refused contracts for next year to F. W. Koenig, Commercial teacher; Miss Jeanette Wagner, Music teacher and Miss Susanne Mulaney, grade teacher.
Three Teachers Are Popular
The three had been members of the faculty for the past 18 months and were said to be popular not only with students but with town people also. The dismissal action is resented by the village residents as well as the students, was reported, and there were reports also that demands had been made that the school board members and Supt. Uhrich resign.
A student whose name was not divulged, told The Lima News that the dismissed teachers claim the boards actions were based on “purely personal” reasons and not over any dissatisfaction with their teaching ability.
The student also stated that there had been considerable dissention among the faculty for the past few months and it is believed the dismissal of the three is the culmination of this situation. One of the banners carried in the parade about the town, which boasts a population of 425 and is about seven miles northwest of Delphos, stated “Cooperation Among Faculty.” Another demanded the rehiring of the dismissed teachers.
Tuesday May 25, 1937 Lima News
School Heads in Putnam County Voice Warning
Reports Students Frequenting Beer Halls to be Investigated
Both Sides Stand Firm
Walkout Over Dismissed Teachers to Continue, Say PupilsBy Vic Sheron Lima News Staff Writer
Ottoville, May 25 – An ultimatum to parents to have their children back in class by Thursday morning or face arrest, and reports that the state Department of Liquor Control has been asked to send investigators here to probe reports students are frequenting beer dispensing establishments, marked Ottoville’s school strike today.
The only break in the line of cheering students was primarily among members of the senior class who are to graduate June 2.
Changing of the school bell this morning failed to bring back many of the pupils who left their classes in protest over failure of the school board to reengage three popular instructors.
The teachers, F. W. Koenig, Miss Jeanette Wagner and Miss Susanne Mullaney, together with Supt. F. J. Uhrich, maintained a discreet silence on the situation. C. D. Vermilya, Putnam County Superintendent, was emphatic in declaring, “Steps are being taken to break up the strike and to punish ring leaders.”
Meetings End In Deadlock
The Ottoville school board, Putnam County school officials and Uhrich met Monday night but refused to discuss the conference. It was rumored on the street the meeting ended in a deadlock.
Students were making much of their self-declared holiday. They paraded about town waving banners, shouting and generally making merry.
The situation appears to be unique in that questioning of men and women on the streets reveals a large number of the populace back the stand of the students.
Manifestation of this spirit was given Monday night when the marchers were invited to a free supper in a local restaurant.
One of the students said Tuesday that when a committee sought to present a petition with approximately 150 signatures, asking the retention of the teachers, the door of Supt. Uhrich’s office was slammed in their faces.
Boys and girls gathered about the school building this morning and voiced a determination to continue the strike. The mother of two striking students, indicated to The Lima News reporter, they were marching with parental approval.
Supt. Vermilya said Tuesday morning that he had made a telephone request to the Ohio Board of Liquor Control to send a flying squadron of inspectors here to inspect beer and liquor establishments on charges of harboring school pupils under 16 years of age. He said the inspectors would be here during the afternoon and would also investigate charges that these drink establishments are providing the leadership in the strike.
Parents Are Given Warning
The county head said that the attendance officer has been instructed to warn parents of striking pupils to have their children in school Thursday morning or face arrest. He added that “definite action is being taken to end this strike, and to apprehend all leaders in school and out of school, including members of faculty.”
The superintendent asserted that he was standing behind local school board and superintendent in their actions in the strike and that the Putnam County Sheriff is on duty here checking for any violations of the law in regards to disturbances in the school or damaging of school property. Arrests are promised if any violations are observed.
Supt. Vermilya stated further that the three teachers were refused contracts for next year because of “disability of inefficiency.”
Wednesday May 26, 1937 Lima News
Truce Reached in School Strike
Board Agrees to Reconsider Cases of Trio
Pupils Back in Class as Directors Ponder Retaining Teachers
Citizens of Town Irate
Reports of Beer Drinking by Students Branded as False
Ottoville, May 26 –At a special meeting Wednesday, the Ottoville district board of education re-hired for one year three teachers whose dismissal caused a student strike. Action of the board in reemploying the instructors was announced to the high school student body when classes resumed Wednesday following the noon recess.
By Herb Coates Lima News Staff Writer
Ottoville, May 26 – Approximately 150 striking students returned to their classes Wednesday morning following a two day strike in retaliation for alleged refusal of the district board to offer 1937-38 term contracts to three popular instructors.
Question of reemploying the three teachers was to be officially heard by the board in a special meeting Wednesday. Students promised another strike if action of the board did not meet their approval.
High school classes were resumed after a committee of five parents conferred for over two hours Tuesday night with three members of the district board in a fiery session. At conclusion it was announced the board had agreed to "accept" the pupils Wednesday and would instruct teachers not to reprimand or seek an apology from any pupil for his
or her conduct in the strike.BEER DRINKING RUMORS FALSE
Ohio Department of Liquor Control operatives are understood to have reported that rumors striking students were buying beer were without foundation. Officials in Columbus said a report may be forthcoming this afternoon.
The board also agreed to hear pleas of distraught parents and pupils who seek to retain the three teachers: F. W. Koenig, a commercial instructor; Miss Jeanette Wagner, music teacher and Susanne Mullaney, third grade teacher.
Partial settlement of the differences which enabled resumption of classes Wednesday was effected after more than 300 pupils and their parents gathered in a small hall, opposite the school building, Tuesday night and picked a committee of five to meet with the board of education, which was, in session at the same time.
Irate parents, with sympathies for their children at boiling point, picked the following to represent them in the board meeting: Harry Niedecken, Charles Looser, Arnold Lauer, Peter Fischbach and Alex Miller.
Three members of the school board who met with the committee were Joseph Hoersten, Anthony Koester and George Rieger. Walter Wanamaker, president of the board whom students said sympathized with them, was confined to his bed with illness, and William Dickman, another member, were absent.
Martin J. Wanamaker, a Delphos attorney, was retained by the parents and took charge of their meeting. He suggested to the assembled group that they ask the board
to permit the pupils to return "without discrimination or apology."
Aloud "No" resounded thruont the hall. When informed later of the board's action, the students accepted with reluctance the decree they could return to classes.
"We want the teachers re-hired first" was the comment from a least 100 mouths. To this Atty. Wanamaker told the group the board had agreed to meet again Wednesday and "re-consider" the action in refusing the three teacher new contracts.
In event the committee of strikers and Ottoville board cannot settle the question of re-hiring the teachers, it was agreed by both parties to take the matter before the Putnam-co board of education.
DISTRICT BOARD REMAINS SILENT
The district board, however, has declined to voice any charges against the three instructors since the strike developed Monday when the students sat idle for several hours, then walked out.
Garrett Otto, restaurant operator and strike sympathizer, said G. D. Vermilya, Putnam-co school superintendent, slammed a door in his face Monday afternoon when he sought to present the Ottoville board with a petition carrying 200 names of townspeople demanding re-employment of the Instructors.
Monday afternoon and again Tuesday they paraded the Ottoville streets carrying signs which denounced the district board and F. J. Uhrich, Ottoville school superintendent. He has been in the district's school system the past 28 years.
One of the placards read: "Roosevelt is for Old Age Retirement — So Are We Students."
They said reference was to Supt. Uhrich who has served three years past the retirement minimum fixed by statute.
Thursday May 27, 1937 Lima News
Quiet Prevails as Strike at Ottoville Ends
OTTOVILLE, May 27—Students of Ottoville high school were peacefully
pursuing their studies Thursday and looking forward to the close of the present term next week, following a two-days strike which terminated Wednesday.
About 150 high school pupils walked from their classes Monday in protest after the Ottoville district board of education declined to offer three instructors new contracts.
Al Humphrey, head of the Ohio liquor control enforcement division, announced from Columbus Thursday morning his investigators were unable to find evidence in support of a charge permit holders in Ottoville were selling beer to the striking students.
The liquor selling charges were made to state officials during the heat of the strike and Humphrey dispatched investigators from Toledo to Ottoville to delve into the allegations.
Students returned to their textbooks and prepared for final examinations Wednesday morning following a mass meeting Tuesday night at which a committee of five men were named to confer with the board on the matter.
Following a two-hour confab, during which both factions hurled verbal blasts at the other, the students promised to resume their studies Wednesday morning providing teachers did not discriminate, reprimand or demand an apology from them.
At another meeting Wednesday morning, the board extended 1937, 1938 contracts to F. W, Koenig, Miss Jeanette Wagner and Susanne Mullaney, the three teachers around whom the controversy centered.