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Newspaper Page Text
A WOMAN'S STORY OF DELINQUENT GIRLS
BROUGHT BEFORE THE JUVENILE COURT
BY JANE WH1TAKER
The publicity given by the Wel
fare Commission to the connection
between low wages and vice raised
a howl of protest from the so-called
philanthropists, the social workers
and others of their ilk.
But If you doubt this connection,
go, if you are a woman, for men are
barred, down to the Juvenile Court,
presided over by Judge Mary Bar
telme, and you will see not only that
this connection exists, but that the
Welfare Commission exposed only
the slightest part of it.
It is pitiful to think of a girl, alone
in a strange city, without sufficient
food to eat, without a decent place
of shelter, without warm clothes be
cause of the greed of the employer
who will hot pay her a living wage.
But it is still more pitiful to see
parents who have brought children
into the world, forced, because of the
low wage the husband, and some
times the wife combined, receive, to
send their children out into the mart
of toil where competition is not on
ability but on cheapness, and to
know those parents regard their chil
dren merely as money-making ma
There were many girls brought
into Judge Bartelme's court the day
I was there. They were young girls,
girls who should have been in high
school, still wearing their hair
Instead, and I wish I might draw
the picture so you would not for
get it, they wore skirts' that spanned
them and indecently showed every
curve of their bodies; they wore
waists that were low at the neck and
exposed their shoulders; their hats
were gaudy and in bad taste;-their
tired faces, though they were so
young, were sullen, hard, defiant.
Only at one time would they speak
above a whisper, and that would be
when Judge Bartelmfc would suggest .
sending them to the Home of the
Good Shepherd. Then they would
suddenly seem galvanized into life
"No, judge, no. Please don't send
me there. I'll work! Honest I will.
And I'll give my mother every cent."
And one mother said: "If you send
her away she cannot work. She gave
me $5.96 last week."
A- man whose daughter was in the
court explained that he had a small
ice cream business and he left the
place in charge of his girl. He also
explained that in his absence she
used the telephone to talk to men,
that she met them outside of the
place or in the place, and admitting
these things, that it was a bad place
for her to be in he didn't want her
taken away because he wanted her
to work in the store.
The pity of it! And the story is
forever the same. Little children ar
rested for stealing had only wanted
to "buy things." And girls of four
teen, fifteen and sixteen, who come
into that court because they are de-.
linquent only wanted to be happy in'
the beginning. But they had to go
into the mart of work when they
should have grown strong, and the
reason was that the father was not
paid a decent wage for his toil.
Judge Mary Bartelme will tell you
that it is the fault of the girl or of the
She will not tell you it is the fault
of the system, the system that makes
some men the masters of others; the
system that permits the" few to have
everything and the many to have
nothing; the system that makes of
one child a petted doll, shielded,
caressed, and of another just a re
production of a species that works
rrom the time It is able and sells its
labor at the market price, which is
away below the bread line.
, la it a wpnd'er that these girls are