Bissell v. Davison

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtTORRANCE, J.
Citation65 Conn. 183,32 A. 348
PartiesBISSELL v. DAVISON et al.
Decision Date01 December 1894
32 A. 348
65 Conn. 183

DAVISON et al.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

Dec. 1, 1894.

Appeal from superior court, Hartford county; Shumway, Judge.

Application by Henry Blssell for a writ of mandamus against Edward H. Davison and others, school committee of the town of New Britain. A demurrer to respondents' return was overruled, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Joseph L. Barbour and George W. Andrew, for appellant.

Frank L. Hungerford and Philip J. Markley, for appellees.

TORRANCE, J. On the 10th of March, 1894, the school committee of the town of New Britain passed the following vote: "That every pupil attending the public schools shall, at or before the beginning of the school term of this year, present to their teachers satisfactory evidence of vaccination, before he or she shall be allowed to attend school; and hereafter every pupil, upon entering school, shall conform to this requirement That, after the beginning of the spring term of this year, all pupils shall be excluded from the schools, unless they have been properly vaccinated, and it shall be the duty of the superintendent to see that this order shall be enforced. Free vaccination shall be provided for all those unable to pay for the same." Under the provisions of this vote, the plaintiff's minor son, a pupil in the high school of New Britain, was excluded from said school, solely because he refused and neglected to be vaccinated. Upon the application of the plaintiff, the superior court issued an alternative writ of mandamus to the school committee of New Britain, in substance, requiring them to admit said minor as a pupil in the high school, or to show cause to the contrary to said court. In their return to this writ the school committee gave, in substance, as their reasons for excluding said minor from the high school, the fact of the existence of said vote, and the further fact that the minor neglected and refused to comply with its terms. To this return the plaintiff demurred upon the ground—First, that the vote was not warranted by law; second, because it is in violation of the constitution of this state; and, third, because it is in violation of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States. The superior court held the return to be sufficient, and overruled the demurrer, and the action of the court in so doing is the sole error assigned on this appeal.

Under the provisions of sections 2137 and 2197 of the General Statutes, the school committee of New Britain is invested with the power to require that every child shall be vaccinated, before being permitted to attend the public schools. The vote in question was passed in pursuance of the power so given. It is one way of exercising that power, and, so far as we can now see, it was an unobjectionable way of exercising it If, then, the statute conferring this power upon the committee is a valid one, it would seem that the

32 A. 349

vote was warranted by law. But the plaintiff urges that the vote was not warranted by law, because, at the time it was passed, "it does not appear that there was a single case of smallpox in the town of New Britain, nor any indication that an epidemic of that disease was likely to present itself." This claim assumes that the power in question cannot be exercised by the school committee unless at the time of its exercise one or more cases of smallpox exist in town, or an epidemic of the disease is reasonably to be apprehended. But the statute...

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43 cases
  • Sheff v. O'Neill, 15255
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 9, 1996
    ...State ex rel. Huntington v. Huntington Town School Committee, 82 Conn. 563, 566, 74 A. 882 Page 1293 (1909); see also Bissell v. Davison, 65 Conn. 183, 191, 32 A. 348 (1894). The state has established the boundaries of school districts coextensively with town lines, thereby placing in certa......
  • Horton v. Meskill
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 19, 1977
    ...but also and chiefly because it is one of great public necessity for the protection and welfare of the State itself." Bissell v. Davison, 65 Conn. 183, 191, 32 A. 348, Finally, it should be observed that the issues raised and pressed on this appeal are directed toward the right of the child......
  • Connecticut Coalition for Justice v. Rell, 18032.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 30, 2010
    ...has for centuries recognized it as her right and duty to provide for the proper education of the young"); see also Bissell v. Davison, 65 Conn. 183, 191, 32 A. 348 (1894) (describing education as duty "assumed by the state ... chiefly because it is one of great public necessity for the prot......
  • Rhea v. Board of Education of Devils Lake Special School District
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • January 31, 1919
    ...223, 105 N.E. 670, Ann. Cas. 1915C, 552; Duffield v. Williamsport School Dist. 162 Pa. 476, 25 L.R.A. 152, 29 A. 742; Bissell v. Davison, 65 Conn. 183, 29 L.R.A. 251, 32 A. 348; Com. v. Pear, 183 Mass. 242, 67 L.R.A. 935, 66 N.E. 719; Stull v. Reber, 215 Pa. 156, 64 A. 419, 7 Ann. Cas. 415;......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Functions of Government in Educational Control
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The No. 265-1, September 1949
    • September 1, 1949
    ...N.W. 289; Miller v. Kornset al., 107 Ohio St. 287, 140 N.E. 773; Statev. McCaffrey, 69 Vt. 85, 37 Atl. 234.18 Bissell v. Davidson et al., 65 Conn. 183,32 Atl. 348, 29 L.R.A. 251.19 Miller v. Korns et al., 107 Ohio St. 287,140 N.E. 773.20 Herold v. Parish Board of School Direc-tors et al., 1......

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