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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 5, 2006


JAMA. 2006;296(1):106. doi:10.1001/jama.296.1.106-a

As the end of the school year approached, the newspapers brought the usual crop of sad stories with regard to children on whose developing mental faculties the pressure of school labor had worked serious havoc. At the end of May there began to be occasional reports of children disappearing from their homes, running away from school and otherwise making themselves subjects for newspaper comment more than at other seasons of the year. During June the stories of children, especially girls, who were noted as acting queerly as the result of overwork at school, became more frequent. Toward the end of the month there were a few reported suicides. In most of these cases a direct connection between worry over school work, competition for prizes and preparation for examinations could be traced. Of course, we realize that there is likely to be considerable sensational exaggeration in such stories. They make toothsome morsels for the sensational newspaper, but there is no doubt that there is a large germ of truth in most of the stories and that, unfortunately, there is every year during June an increased number of reported developments of mental disturbance in children because of the burden of school work placed on them at this time.

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