Sia.-In deciding the issue between Mr. Turner and Mr. Iddon. speaking on behalf of the Catholic I eachers' Federation, it must be borne in mind that Mr. Turner once stood alone in opposing Preston Education Committee on the subject of School Record Cards. After some time and in spite of persistent opposition, he succeeded in obtaining the Federation's support. In his courageous stand against the cards he was proved right and it was largely because of the attention he drew to some very pernicious sections of the card that they were withdrawn.
This, of course, does not necessarily mean he is right in his opposition to the T.B. tests in Preston but it should have resulted in a more sympathetic approach by the Federation's Press Secretary. To the unini:iated it would appear that the official Catholic Teachers' organisation has carefully investigated the case and authorised its Press Secretary to give the ascertained facts contra the misguided agitation of an unreliable crank.
From the letters that have appeared we have, on the one hand, Mr. Turner making certain statements of fact, which surely can be proved or disproved by dispassionate inquiry, and, on the other hand, Mr. lddon bringing the authority of the Federation to support his policy of causing the local authority as little embarrassment as possible. No doubt this latter will be appreciated by the local committee but what are we outsiders to make of it all? According to Mr. Turner, the head teachers of Preston were called to a meeting by the Education Officer and given the entire facts of the tests proposed. Their help was asked to make the scheme 100 per cent. successful. The letters to parents did not give all these facts. A statement appeared in the local paper only after (a) Mr. Turner's agitation and Os) parents' consent had been given, The tests involved inoculation to which there is some conscientious objection. This inoculation is accompanied by certain risks.
The question arises, then, are these the facts'? If not, wherein are they false? I suggest Mr. Iddon has not disproved them but, in suggesting the press statement appeared without previous agitation, he has been a little misleading. In any case, is a press statement the correct way of informing parents?
If Mr, Turner's statement is correct, do your readers agree with Mr. lddon's plea that the .matter is rather trivial anyvray and Mr. Turner is making a needless fuss? I would suggest that in this matter, as in the case of the record cards, Mr. Turner is exercising that sigilance which is the price of our continued liberty. Many of us, including local authorities and other official bodies, are frequently neglectful and without an occasional shock to our complacency will slide into the servile state by reason of our very acceptance of the easy way.
On the evidence of the letters that have appeared in your pages, Mr. Turner has made a stand for parents' rights. The least he should have expected was tolerance by his colleagues. It is a pity that he has been officially opposed and his case prejudged. On previous experience I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
C. H. SHEILL.
19, Selborne Gardens, N.W.4.