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The Manchester Guardian, 17 January 1907
Manchester Teachers and Corporal Punishment.
To the Editor of the Manchester Guardian.
Sir, -- The paragraph on this subject which appears in your issue for Tuesday last is incorrect in one or two important particulars.
In the first place, it is stated that "liberty used to be accorded to all teachers to punish as occasion demanded." According to the regulations which have been in force for many years, none but the head teacher of a boys' or mixed school has the power to inflict corporal punishment. The now famous circular merely restated the existing regulations in an emphatic manner, and substituted the "tawse" for the cane.
Why, then, were the teachers so roused by the issue of that circular? The position is this. Although the regulations were as stated they were not kept, and the late School Board and the present Education Committee knew that they were not kept. The teachers on more than one occasion sent a deputation to the education authority which made this quite clear. On one occasion, a written statement to that effect was left by a member of the deputation.
The Education Committee having been told quite clearly that the regulations were unworkable and were not adhered to, the teachers naturally came to the conclusion that the Education Committee did not look upon the regulations seriously, and they continued to be broken. The issue of the circular came as a breach of what really amounted to a tacit understanding between the teachers and the Committee, hence the indignation.
The paragraph goes on to speak of "a mixed school with a girls' department." There is no such thing. A mixed school is one in which boys and girls are in the same department, sitting side by side in the same classes. The proposed new regulations withhold the power from the head teacher of such a department to inflict corporal punishment on girls.
I do not wish to discuss the new regulations, but, on behalf of the Committee of the Manchester Teachers' Association, I have to say that they are unjust and in the main unworkable, and cannot be accepted as a settlement. --
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