Fredericton Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb

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Fredericton Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb

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Dates of existence

Opened in 1882, closed ca. 1902

History

The Fredericton Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb was opened on 1 September 1882 for the benefit of hearing and visually impaired (blind) persons living in New Brunswick. The institution was located in the residence of Senator Botsford at Hawthorne Hill, near the foot of Forest Hill, in Fredericton. Six students were immediately admitted to the school, and that number soon grew to 18. Eventually approximately 40 students were enrolled per term. Albert F. Woodbridge, a former teacher in the school for the deaf in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was named the Institution's first principal or superintendent. The school was funded by tuition payments, government aid, and voluntary contributions.

In 1883 the Institution was destroyed by fire, but the next year a new structure was built on the old site, which, in turn, fell victim to the flames in 1897. For the next five years, the school was located in Old Government House. A commission, headed by Jeremiah H. Barry, was established in 1902 to investigate the finances and administrative practices of the school. The commission reported that Principal Woodbridge had mixed his own finances with those of the school and that the Institution's debts were nearly double its assets. In addition, students testified before the commission that they had been physically and emotionally abused by teachers and administrators. In December 1902 Principal A. F. Woodbridge resigned his post, and soon after government officials closed the school's doors.

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