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districts attempting to revert to private schools. Under his direction provincial district schools were forced to operate as public schools. In Rhineland the school districts of Eigenhof, Edenburg , Neuhoffnung, Kleinstadt, Amsterdam and Edenthal were kept open in this way. further provincial action in 1918-1920 forced the discontinued R.M. of Rhineland district schools of Grossweide, Neubergthal, Altbergthal, Blumenort, Blumenhof, Neukronsthal, Houston, Halbstadt, Wei den­ feld, Reichenbach, Silberfeld, Gruenthal, Gnadenfeld, Rudnerweide and Hoffnungsort to reopen. 14

This aggressive government action was also carried into the Rein­ laender communities where no district schools had existed. Citing the grounds that no provisions had been made for the proper education of the children residing in these areas, the Department of Education had, by 1920, carved ten new school districts into the heart of the Rein­ laender lands in the R.M. of Rhineland and Stanley. Showing little consideration for local feeling, these districts received English names such as Exeter, Clyde, Thames, Meath, and Grimsby.

These government actions did not go unopposed and parents boycotted the public schools where they were kept open by public trusteeship. In 1919 ~ the Reichenbach community near Rosenfeld de­ cided to continue its private school claiming it fulfilled government standards. IS The official trustee, J. F. Greenway, replied that if the school remained private, a new school would be erected in the Reichen­ bach School District. When the Weidenfeld community tried to keep its private school open the Department of Education sent a teacher to the school to evict the private school teacher and take possession of the school. After this action had occurred several times, the Weidenfeld community sent a letter to the Department of Education protesting this unwarranted interference and persecution. 16

Protests and appeals were also sent to Rhineland's M.L.A. Valen­ tine Winkler, but to little avail. When Mennonite parents continued to withhold their children from public schools, court action and fines were initiated by the government. These fines pushed a number of Mennonite families to the brink of economic ruin and those that refused to pay the fines had their personal chattels and livestock seized. 17

The entire question of public school attendance and Mennonite educational rights came before the Manitoba Courts in 1919, when the Manitoba Department of Education laid charges against a number of families in the Houston School District for violation of the School Attendance Act. The conviction of two of these defendants, Dietrich Doerksen and John Hildebrand, was appealed by the Sommerfelder Church.