Removal of Principal Matheson from Battleford Industrial School


According to a letter from the Superintendent General of the DIA to Martin Benson (4 Sept 1907), Principal Rev. Matheson was being asked to resign or be removed from Battleford Industrial school. Although the letter discloses that Principal Matheson was not managing the school’s finances according to the expectations of the DIA, it also mentions “he has been a failure in other directions, and if the school is to be filled up to its full complement on October 1, it seems to me that that would be the proper date to make the change of principals and that the Church should compensate Mr. Matheson for any inconvenience he is put to, owing to the short notice given.” The SIG also mentions “As the success of a school is almost entirely dependent on the executive ability of the Principal, I cannot see that the Church should have any hesitation in replacing a man that has failed in that direction. It is no reflection on the Principal, but it simply means that he has missed his calling, and the Church should be able to find a place for which he is better fitted.”

This letter seems to indicate that Principal Matheson failed to secure a sufficient level of enrolment, which may be due to several underlying factors which are not specified. As well, the SIG gives the impression that the deposition is a morally neutral affair by stating, “It is no reflection on the Principal.” Given that the SIG does not mention a specific moral failure (such as sexual or physical assault or neglect), it appears as though the Principal’s shortfall may have been more administrative in nature.