Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Schools, Medical inspection of

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SCHOOLS, MEDICAL INSPECTION OF, a function which has been taken up by municipal and state governments only within recent years. As has been shown by statistics, many pupils are backward in their studies only because of lack of physical vitality. In 1920 it was shown that so many pupils in the schools of Brooklyn, N. Y., were compelled to pass through the same grades twice that, at the average cost of forty dollars a term for each pupil, the borough lost $2,000,000. On this basis various social organizations demanded an appropriation from the city of $100,000 for more effective medical aid to the school-children, contending that more than half of the extra expense could thus be saved. Medical school inspection was first instituted in France in 1886; then, in succession, this example was followed by Belgium, Hungary, Chile, Germany and Great Britain, the latter in 1908. In this country it was first instituted in New York City, in 1892; then in Boston, in 1894; in Chicago, in 1895, and in Philadelphia, in 1898. Practically every American city now has adopted medical inspection and several states have made it obligatory in all schools. In the larger communities this includes the services of visiting nurses, who instruct the children in personal hygiene. Out of 252,000 school-children inspected in New York City, in 1919, 74 per cent were found defective physically, defective teeth and vision being the chief faults.