100 years ago in Spokane: A judge was getting pushback for calling the city’s teens immoral

The directors of the Spokane YMCA joined the chorus of those who “deplored” the remarks made by Judge RM Webster about rampant immorality in Spokane’s high schools.

The YMCA officials said they knew that the vast majority of high school boys and girls were “of sound moral character.” Yes, they said, there were some juvenile delinquents, but they were only a tiny fraction.

Judge Webster had sparked a sensation in an earlier speech when he called for “the segregation of the sexes” at Spokane’s high schools. As a juvenile court judge, he said he was aware that “wrong is going on among the students.”

Boys were “taking liberties with girls, girls (were) sitting on boys’ laps” and “spooning parties” were conducted in “dark corners.” He said a doctor told him that three high school girls admitted that they had been “cutting classes at school and going on joyrides to outlying roadhouses.”

For those reasons, the judge said he was against “coeducation.”

High school principals had already blasted him for those remarks, which they said painted every high school student with the same brush. The judge knew only those who ended up in juvenile court.

Not everyone believed the judge was wrong. A group of Methodist pastors approved the judge’s stand. They did not, however, agree with his plan to segregate boys and girls in the high schools.

So on this date

(From Associated Press)

1931: In the so-called “Scottsboro Boys” case, nine young Black men were taken off a train in Alabama, accused of raping two white women; after years of convictions, death sentences and imprisonment, the nine were eventually vindicated.