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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Lewis and Clark PTA vows to combat ‘scandalous and terrible’ rumors

J.B. Rene, president of Gonzaga University for three years starting in 1891, died in Spokane, The Spokesman-Review reported on April 8, 1916. The newspaper said Rene successfully overcame pressures to close the university during financial panic. The S-R also reported on a meeting of the Lewis and Clark High School PTA that focused on “scandalous” rumors, mostly involving pregnant students. (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)
J.B. Rene, president of Gonzaga University for three years starting in 1891, died in Spokane, The Spokesman-Review reported on April 8, 1916. The newspaper said Rene successfully overcame pressures to close the university during financial panic. The S-R also reported on a meeting of the Lewis and Clark High School PTA that focused on “scandalous” rumors, mostly involving pregnant students. (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

From our archives, 100 years ago

Were Lewis and Clark High School students immoral?

A meeting of the PTA descended into a heated discussion of that issue, after several mothers said they had heard “horrid, scandalous and terrible” rumors.

One of those rumors was that several high school girls were “inmates of the Florence Crittenton home.” That was Spokane’s home for unwed mothers.

Officials refuted that rumor and said “there was not now and never had been a high school girl received in the home.”

Other rumors of rampant immorality had been “circulated maliciously.” The PTA mothers agreed that “all reports should be traced back to their sources and the one responsible for them be made either to substantiate them or be compelled to deny them.”

The principal concluded by saying that “the moral tone in the Spokane high schools is, if anything, above the average.” However, he also pointed out that “instructors alone were not responsible for the moral welfare of the students.”

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