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School CP - March 1894


The Times, London, 22 March 1894


Press cuttingAT WEST LONDON, yesterday, T.W. DAVENALL, an assistant master at the Hogarth-road Board school, Chiswick, appeared before Mr. Curtis Bennett to answer summonses for having assaulted Arthur Thomas Waller, aged 13, and Sidney George Briggs, aged 15, pupils at the school. Mr. Haynes appeared for the prosecution; Mr. W.J. Bull, representing the National Union of Teachers, defended.

The boy Waller said that on the afternoon of the 12th inst. he was in the school, and was in the class of which defendant was teacher -- viz., the seventh standard. He was playing with a puzzle under the desk, and was called out to the front of the class. He went out and held out one hand, on which defendant inflicted a blow with a cane. He was told to hold out the other hand, but would not do so. Defendant then caned him on the legs and hip. Witness kicked the defendant, who then thrashed him again, and got him on the ground. Witness got hold of the cane and tried to get it away from him. The cane was broken in the struggle, and when witness got up he threw an inkwell at defendant. The ink splashed all about, but he did not know whether the well had struck the defendant in the face.

Defendant did not hit him again that afternoon, but next morning, when he went to school late, defendant called him out of the class, and because he was not so quick as he desired he caught hold of him by the trousers and collar and threw him on the floor. He picked him up again and threw him in the corner. He hurt his hip, and still felt pain.

Defendant then sent for a cane and thrashed him on the back, the thigh, the hip, and round the legs. He received about twelve blows, and then went back to his class. Cross examined, he said that he knew the defendant was followed by a number of boys who shouted and hooted after him, but he was not one of the boys who called after him. He was standing looking on when a policeman told him to go home, and struck him across the back with a stick.

The lad Briggs said that on the morning of the 13th inst. he was in the class, when the defendant called him out and thrashed him because on the previous Friday he and a number of other lads had run home when they were kept in late. After thrashing him the defendant accused him of being one of the boys who hooted after him on the Monday night. This was not true, and when witness said so the defendant smacked him five times in the face.

Several lads were called who supported the statements by these two. Warrant-officer Cousins said that, by the magistrate's directions, he had examined the boys, and found a number of weals on their backs, and Waller's legs especially were very badly bruised. Great violence must have been used to produce such appearances.

Mr. Bull said he should call evidence to show that the punishment was not so severe as had been described. The defendant had authority to punish unruly boys. Waller was a ringleader of unruly lads, and the defendant deemed it necessary to inflict punishment in order that he should not lose control of the school.

William Richard Matthews, the head master of the school, said the defendant was a lenient teacher. On the afternoon of the 12th inst. he saw Waller grossly misbehaving himself; that was before the punishment was inflicted. At his suggestion a member of the School Board had called on the parents of the complainants and told them that if these proceedings were withdrawn he would recommend that the defendant should tender his resignation. The reason of [sic] that was that if a teacher was brought into a police-court he was a marked man, whether the case was dismissed or not.

The Rev. Lawford Dale, vice-chairman of the Chiswick School Board, gave the defendant a good character as a lenient teacher.

Arthur John Piper, one of the masters at the school, said he saw Waller punished, and he did not think it was severe.

Mr. Curtis Bennett deprecated caning on the hands and boxing the ears, and said they were exceedingly dangerous forms of punishment. Nature provided a special place for boys to be punished upon and it should be used.

There was no doubt that defendant had inflicted punishment which was altogether unjustifiable. He lost his temper and behaved in a way that showed he was unfit to have the control of boys. A fine of 50s. with 50s. costs was imposed in the first case, and a fine of 30s. with 50s. costs in the second, the alternative being a month's imprisonment in each case.

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