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School CP - February 1973

Corpun file 682a

Isle of Man Courier, Ramsey, 9 February 1973

20 boys caned

by Harry Bregazzi

TWENTY boys received six strokes of the cane each in a mass punishment following an official enquiry into the conduct of pupils on buses returning from Douglas High School to the West of the Island.

The incidents happened on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday night police stopped the bus at St John's and boys on the top deck were put off the bus.

Mr Frank Luckman, the school's headmaster, said: "We conducted an enquiry into this matter, and I and my assistant head caned 20 boys who were on the top deck of the bus and had been concerned in these incidents.

"This was a very serious affair and one not to be considered lightly by anyone.

"A particularly bad feature was that some of the boys involved were fifth-formers and should have known better.

"They should have set an example to the younger boys."


Mr Luckman said it was fortunate for the boys that the matter was dealt with by the school rather than the police.

Mr H. Taverner, the assistant head, said they had received a report about the behaviour of the boys who were all interviewed.

It was felt that what had happened was dangerous and the boys had been punished.

Apparently the boys on the journey from Douglas to Peel had been running from side to side of the bus making it rock dangerously.

Corpun file 682b

Manx Star, Douglas, 12 February 1973

Canings unfair say parents

PARENTS of boys from the west of the Island who were caned in a mass punishment at Douglas High School last week are planning to lodge complaints with the headmaster, Mr Frank Luckman, and with the police over the handling of the incident. Twenty boys were caned by Mr Luckman and his deputy -- some receiving six or even seven strokes -- after they were alleged to have "rocked" their school bus on the way home two nights running.

Now a number of parents claim that their sons were not even involved, and others are incensed at the severity of the beating. One parent called the police to witness the state of his son's legs and buttocks on which, he alleged, there were cuts four to six inches long.

The mass caning followed incidents two nights running when the driver of the school bus had to call for assistance from a police officer after boys had "rocked" the bus by running from side to side on the upper deck.

On the first night all the boys on the upper deck were put off the bus at Crosby and had to walk home or hitch lifts. On the second they were put off again, this time at St John's, and on the following day they were beaten at school.

The same evening they were lectured by Police Inspector F. Cannell before the bus left Douglas, and warned that any repetition of their behaviour could land them in the Juvenile Court. The journey to Peel was uneventful.

The Peel parents allege that not enough was done to ascertain which boys were at fault. "People look at us in the town now and think our sons are all hooligans," said one parent. "It just isn't fair."

It is understood the boys were questioned individually about the incidents by Mr Luckman, and each one refused to say who had been involved, so all were punished.

Several who claimed they had taken no part in the "rocking" were caned for having failed to stop the others, and at least one who was downstairs when the bus stopped was caned because he had been upstairs at the beginning of the journey.

Corpun file 682c

Isle of Man Weekly Times, Douglas, 15 February 1973

Parents of Caned Boys Petition

By Tony Faragher

PARENTS of boys from the west of the Island who were caned in a mass punishment at Douglas High School last week have sent a letter to the Director of Education, Mr Frank Bickerstaff, asking for an assurance that their boys will never again be "thrown off the school bus to walk home on dangerous roads" again.

The boys were removed from the Douglas to Peel school bus last Monday and Tuesday for "rocking" the vehicle. The first time they were left to walk from Crosby and the second from St John's -- both times in darkness.

"Madness," was how former English councillor and member of a board of school governors, Mr Derek Norris, described "this so-called deterrent" yesterday.

Speaking in his home above Waine's sweet shop in Station Road, Peel, Mr Norris, whose son David received six strokes of the cane, said: "It's a wonder none of them was killed."

He added: "Some of the children had to walk as far as Dalby. It's sheer madness to turn them off the bus and make them walk home in the dark."

A group of 12 out of the 20 caned boys' parents met in Mr Norris's house on Tuesday and held a three-hour debate on what action should be taken. "I wanted an enquiry into the matter," Mr Norris added, "but the others didn't think we would get one."

"I then suggested that we call for a public apology from the headmaster, Mr Luckman. But he would not do that as it would be as good as admitting he was wrong."

The final letter, which was hand-delivered to Mr Bickerstaff, is a condensed version of a petition heading to be distributed. It contained the paragraph: "We would like an assurance that in future any bad behaviour on the school bus will not result in all children, whether innocent or guilty, being thrown off the bus to walk home on dangerous roads -- a journey, for some, as far as Dalby.

"We condemn any bad behaviour on school buses, but wonder who is responsible for the safety of the children."

Corpun file 682d

Isle of Man Weekly Times, Douglas, 1 March 1973

Canings backed by Board


FULL BACKING has been given by the Board of Education to Douglas High School headmaster Mr Frank Luckman in his decision to punish 20 boys who were alleged to have misbehaved on a school bus travelling to Peel a fortnight ago.

In a Press statement issued by the Board this week it was revealed that both Finance and Executive Committee and the Secondary and Further Education Committee were unanimous in their support for the head's action.

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