Bing Act of 1921
In 1921, the Ohio legislature enacted the Bing Act. This law required all children between six and eighteen years of age in the state of Ohio to attend school. The legislature made two exceptions. First, children who had already graduated from high school did not have to remain enrolled in school. Second, once a child reached the age of sixteen years and had passed the seventh grade, the student could work as a farmer rather than attend school. In addition to these stipulations, the Bing Act also established sixteen years as the minimum age for employment in most industries.
During the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, numerous Ohioans opposed child labor. They believed that business owners hired children rather than adult workers because the owners could justify paying children smaller wages. To prevent business owners from profiting off of children, opponents to child labor called for the Bing Act's implementation. Mandatory school attendance for children between six and eighteen years of age would prevent, these people concluded, the exploitation of children.
The Bing Act clearly helped end the employment of children under sixteen years of age in Ohio. This legislation, however, did result in hardships for many families and school districts. Many families relied on children's labor to pay bills. With children under sixteen years of age no longer able to work, some families endured financial troubles. School districts also now had to provide the equivalent of a high school education for all children. This resulted in tremendous financial costs especially for rural school districts. Many rural school districts previously had not offered high school classes because most children left school after junior high school to work with their parents on the family farm. School districts now had to build new schools. They also had to provide the students with transportation to the schools.
- Ganyard, Glen L. The Early History of the Regulation of Child Labor in Ohio. M.A. thesis, The Ohio State University, 1930.
- Heck, Arch Oliver. A Study of the Ohio Compulsory Education and Child Labor Law. Columbus: The Ohio State University, 1931.
- United States of America Women's Bureau. Special Study of Wages Paid to Women and Minors in Ohio Industries Prior and Subsequent to the Ohio Minimum Wage Law for Women and Minors. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1936.