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100 years ago in Spokane: School board debates allowing married women to be teachers

The Spokane School District was considering allowing married women to be schoolteachers, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on March 14, 2018. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Spokane School District was considering allowing married women to be schoolteachers, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on March 14, 2018. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spokane School Board was considering a shocking idea –allowing married women to be schoolteachers.

The district, like many others in 1918, had a rule prohibiting married women from teaching.

With the Great War raging, the board was considering an exception to this rule for teachers whose husbands were in the service.

In fact, the board was already allowing two teachers to continue teaching, who were married during the school year and whose husbands were now at the front. One of the board members said “our idea is to take care” of those whose husbands were serving. He said the order would last as long as the war.

Meanwhile, the federal government was urging all school boards to employ married women because of a wartime shortage of teachers.

From the war beat: A “vigilance corps” of 500 was planning a secret meeting to “stamp out pro-Germanism in Spokane.”

Dr. Charles Linder of the local American Defense Society said, “The corps will attempt to classify every man and woman in the county and surrounding areas as loyal or disloyal … . We will determine a man’s loyalty by his words, actions, writings and contributions to patriotic funds. These findings will not be made public, but will be given to federal officers through the national office at New York.”