Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 359
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 359
 
operative trachoma, 3243 simple trachoma, and 1099 conjunctivitis. In one school in the most crowded district of the East Side 22.2 per cent were so afflicted. No wonder the doctors “were horrified” at the showing. So was the President of the Board of Health, who told me to-day that he would leave no stone unturned until effective inspection of the school children by eye-specialists had been assured. So we go, step by step, ever forward.
  Speaking of that reminds me of a mishap I had in the Hester Street school,—the one with the “frills” which the Board of Education cut off. I happened to pass it after school hours, and went in to see what sort of a playground the roof would have made. I met no one on the way, and, finding the scuttle open, climbed out and up the slant of the roof to the peak, where I sat musing over our lost chance, when the janitor came to close up. He must have thought I was a crazy man, and my explanation did not make it any better. He haled me down, and but for the fortunate chance that the policeman on the beat knew me, I should have been taken to the lockup as a dangerous lunatic—all for dreaming of a playground on the roof of a school-house.
  Janitor and Board of Commissioners to the contrary notwithstanding, the dream became real. There stands another school in Hester Street today

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