By Chris Pickup

In going through the back files of our print newspaper, the Regional Telegraph (precurser to the Regional News This Week), we came across this 1976 gem.

CAYUGA – In a surprise announcement, the Haldimand Board of Education has released its list of bargaining priorities for the 1976-77 teaching contracts.

“These items are non-negotiable,” said a board trustee who asked not to be identified.

“We will not budge an inch on any of them and the teachers are just going to have to live with restraint in these times of austerity.”

In an effort to cut down on the cost of heating area schools and supplying them with hydro, every teacher will be required to bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal to class each day for use during school hours.

Teachers will no longer be able to order pens for use by students from the board but will be required to make the writing implements themelves.

“Make pens carefully, you may whittle nibs to the individual tastes of the pupil,” a board policy directive to the teachers states.

In order to cut down on the maintenance costs of schools, the teachers will also be required to clean chimneys, fill lamps and trim wicks at the start of each day.

But that’s only the beginning.

The Board feels restraint involves far more than simply moderation on monetary items and has also put forward this set of demands, likewise non-negotiable,” the board trustee said.

Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be discharged.

Men teachers may take one night a week for courting purposes, or two nights a week if they go to church regularly.

After each school day, every teacher must spend the time until supper reading the Bible and other good works.

Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool halls or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop shall be dismissed by the board, for lacking in personal worth, integrity and honesty.

The final two items on the board agenda refer back to monetary items.

“In order that the teacher does not become a burden on society, we are instructing them to lay aside a substantial portion of their income for their benefit during declining years,” the Board trustee said.

And finally, not wishing to appear unreasonable, the board member promised this major monetary concession.

Every teacher who performs his duties regularly and faithfully without fault for five years, will be given an increase of 25 cents a week in pay at the end of that period, providing the board of education approves.

“After all, teachers are human beings too,” the board member said.

PSSST! … the above set of criteria governing the conditions of employment for teachers was actually drawn up by some gone-but-not-forgotten board of education in the year of our Lord 1870.

So, present teachers, in the interests of your students, can’t you count your blessings and give your students and the rest of us a break from your incessant demands we can’t afford to meet?