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School CP - June 1931

Corpun file 24938 at

The Toronto Daily Star, 10 June 1931, p.20

Five Strokes on the "Seat" for Boy Who Used his Fist

Principal Sanderson of Oakville Tells of Strapping Boy Who Cursed

Board Favors Act

R.F. Sanderson

Oakville, June 10. -- Principal R.F. Sanderson of Central public school appeared before the board of education last night to explain his actions in punishing 14-year-old Arnold Docksley, one of his pupils, when a letter of complaint from the father was read. The punishment had consisted of two strokes of the rubber strap on each hand and had been given because the boy had used foul language on the playground, the principal said.

Canon D. Russell Smith, rector of St. Jude's Anglican church, also questioned the principal as to "street reports" that two other students had been punished in an unduly severe manner.

The explanation of the principal was accepted as satisfactory in each instance and the letter of complaint filed without any action being taken. Consensus of opinion of the board appeared to favor Mr. Sanderson.

Referring to the Docksley case, Mr. Sanderson said: "A few weeks ago I was out on the playground supervising play. There was a baseball game going on a little distance away. I heard a boy shouting curses. I turned quickly and I knew where the voice came from.

"I went over to the boy and he admitted using the language. It was this Docksley lad. I asked him where he learned such language and he said up on Pine St.

"'I will have to punish you,' I told him. 'We can't allow language of this kind on the playground.' He received two strokes of the strap on each hand.

"At the same time, I spoke to him of mauling another boy and may have said that it was a cowardly trick to do on a new boy. He said there were other boys in it.

"When I met Mrs. Docksley on the street she gave me a proper calling down and explained that her boy was of a nervous disposition. After that, I gave him every consideration and tried to win his confidence, but I was very much hurt to think that such foul language had been used on the playground. It is the first cursing I have heard there in years.

Press cutting

"I am extremely proud of the fact that play on the grounds is clean and there is no bullying. The supervision of the playground falls upon me and where there is any punishment to be meted out it's my duty to do it.

"In fact all the difficult pupils are sent to me. Every principal is up against that. The teacher in the form does not want to deal with the child and I am asked to correct the pupil," Mr. Sanderson explained.

"There is a report around town that you punished young Pat Blackham very severely," put in Canon Smith, whose church the young lad attends.

"I gave him five strokes," replied Mr. Sanderson.

Canon Smith: "Where?"

Mr. Sanderson: "On the seat."

Canon Smith: "Did the boy's father complain?"

Boy Troublesome

Mr. Sanderson: "He did. Pat is one of the most ready answerers in literature that I have, but on top of that he has been one of the most troublesome boys and persistently makes trouble. While I was working at the blackboard I could see him punch another boy. I took him out into the hall and gave him five strokes. The strap was of the regulation rubber type and held fairly short. I will admit that with the amount of clothing worn by the children at this time of year and with his clothing drawn tightly the strap might have reddened or darkened the skin. The boy has promised to do better.

Press cutting

"About a year ago his father called me up on the telephone, and said he was exceedingly sorry his children were giving trouble."

Mr. Sanderson pointed out that the Blackham boy had been throwing chalk during Miss Dennis' art class earlier this year. The boy had been sent home and when he returned to school had told the principal his father said to punish him. Sanderson had not punished him on that occasion.

Canon Smith: "If you carried out the father's instructions to punish the boy when he misbehaved why did he call you up and object?"

Mr. Sanderson: "He objected to the severity of the punishment."

Canon Smith: "Did he say that the blood was almost bursting through the skin?"

Mr. Sanderson: "It may have been that the boy's skin was particularly sensitive but I hadn't thought I was severe. Some of the parents prefer that I should not strap the hands."

Trustee Approves

Mr. Shipley: "I think that the boys got no more than was coming to them, both of them. I know dozens and dozens of boys and girls in this town who have gone through Mr. Sanderson's room and they speak very highly of him."


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