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rainbow ruler   :  Archive   :  Up to 1975   :  UK Schools Apr 1929


School CP - April 1929

Corpun file 24658 at

Daily Mail, London, 24 April 1929, p.9

Master's Right to Cane.

Smoking Boy Case Again in Court.

Judge and "Taking it Like a Man."

CASE. -- The King v. Justices of Newport, Shropshire, ex parte Wright.
COURT. -- Kings Bench Divisional Court.
JUDGES. -- The Lord Chief Justice (Lord Hewart) and Justices Avory and Swift.
COUNSEL. -- For the Justices: Mr. Ronald Walker. For Mr. Wright: Mr. J.L. Pratt.
SOLICITORS. -- For the Justices: Messrs. Church, Adams, Tatham and Co. For Mr. Wright: Messrs. Robbins, Olivey, and Lake.

Press cutting

A case arising out of the caning of a schoolboy, Frank Douglas Wright, by the headmaster of Newport, Shropshire, Grammar School, for smoking was begun.

Mr. Ernest James Wright, chairman of the Newport Urban Council, and father of the boy, had obtained a rule calling on the Newport justices to show cause why they should not state a case for an appeal against their decision dismissing summonses for assault against the headmaster, Mr. W.S. Brooks, and two assistant masters.

Mr. Ronald Walker, for the justices, said that Wright and another boy were caned for smoking in the street.

Mr. Justice Avory: The other boy has taken it like a man? -- Yes.

Mr. Walker said that if the boy Wright, who was 15 years of age, had been seen by a policeman the officer could have taken the cigarette away and confiscated all others that were found on him. Yet the father had the effrontery to complain because he had permitted his son to do something that was illegal and the boy was punished.

Master or father?

Mr. J. L. Pratt, for Mr. Wright, said that the boy had left the authority of the headmaster and was under the control of his father. In the circumstances, the master's right to punish had disappeared.

Mr. Justice Avory: But the school rules prohibit smoking by a pupil anywhere or at any time.

Mr. Justice Swift: I suppose he can smoke as many cigarettes as he likes in his father's house, unless a policeman comes in and confiscates them. (Laughter.)

Mr. Pratt said it had yet to be decided whether a master had authority over his pupils in school holidays. Here the boy had been out of school for more than an hour.

The hearing was adjourned until to-day.

Corpun file 24660 at

Daily Mail, London, 25 April 1929, p.9

The Right to Cane.

Judges Uphold Headmaster.

Father Permitted Boy to Smoke.

Press cutting

A King's Bench Divisional Court consisting of Lord Hewart, the Lord Chief Justice, and Justices Avory and Swift, yesterday upheld the right of a headmaster to cane a boy who, with his father's permission, had smoked a cigarette in the street. Smoking was an infringement of the school regulations.

The court had before it the rule calling on the Newport, Shropshire, justices to show cause why they should not state a case for an appeal against their refusal to convict Mr. W.S. Brooks, the headmaster of Adams' Grammar School, Newport, for an alleged assault on Frank Douglas Wright, a schoolboy of 15.

Wright was a day boy and was smoking after school hours with his father's permission. The justices refused to convict Mr. Brooks, who was summoned by the boy's father. They declined to state a case for appeal on the ground that the application was frivolous.

Mr. Ronald Walker appeared for the Justices and Mr. J.L. Pratt for Mr. Wright.

The boy and the pipe.

Mr. Pratt said that a boy under 16 who was found smoking by a policeman could have all his cigarettes confiscated. But apparently a girl who smoked could only have the actual cigarette she was smoking taken away.

Lord Hewart: That again shows the importance of belonging to the other sex. (Laughter.)

Mr. Pratt: The statute that gave the policeman authority to confiscate cigarettes says nothing about a boy who smokes a pipe. (Laughter.)

Mr. Justice Avory remarked that now, apparently, the boy had been taken away from school in order that he might smoke ad libitum. (Laughter.)

Lord Hewart, in his judgment, said that there was a plain rule of law that any person who sent his child to school was presumed to give the school authorities power to administer moderate and reasonable punishment. So the justices in this case had expressed a perfectly correct view of the law. They found that the punishment was a proper one, reasonably administered, and there did not seem any ground for ordering them to state a case for an appeal. Therefore, the rule would be discharged, with costs against Mr. Wright.

Mr. Justice Avory and Mr. Justice Swift concurred.

Solicitors -- For the Justices: Messrs. Church, Adams, Tatham, and Co. For Mr. Wright: Messrs. Robbins, Oliver, and Lake.

Corpun file 24659 at

Daily Mail, London, 25 April 1929, p.10


The Right to Cane.

Press cutting

The case settled yesterday by the Divisional Court of King's Bench recalls a controversy that took place in our correspondence columns some time ago. It concerned the limits of the authority of parents and of schoolmasters. The particular incident that gave rise to it was the caning of a 15-years-old schoolboy by his master for smoking in the street out of school hours.

The decision of the court that the master was within his rights is in accordance with common sense. The law gives to parents the moral surveillance of their children; but it presumes that when they send a boy to school they delegate to the master sufficient authority to carry out his duties. That authority must include the power to enforce the school rules, if necessary by punishment. Moreover, it is unavoidable that school discipline should to some degree extend beyond the mere hours of school attendance. In this matter of smoking it would be obviously useless for the school to lay down that boys of this age must simply abstain from smoking during set times. It must go further and insist that they be definitely non-smokers.

Some of our recent correspondents will resent the decision. But their remedy is to withdraw their children from schools that forbid smoking. So long as they avail themselves of the schoolmaster's services it is unfair to undermine his authority by teaching at home a standard of conduct at variance with his.

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