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School CP - August 1959

Corpun file 23758

Barnsley Chronicle and South Yorkshire News, 22 August 1959, p.15

Whacking teacher cleared by court

'Punishment deserved, properly meted out'

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THE decision of a 27-years-old school teacher to punish a boy by hitting him with a rubber gym shoe was upheld by Barnsley West Riding Magistrates on Wednesday, when they dismissed a case of assault brought against the teacher by the boy's mother.

Mr. W. Brown (presiding) said the Bench felt that the punishment was deserved and had been properly administered by the teacher, Leslie Albert Buttle, 49, Caxton-street, Barnsley.

Buttle had pleaded not guilty and was defended by Mr. V. Way.

The boy, Michael Allen, aged 12, of 22, Belmont, Darfield-road, a pupil at the Cudworth Roman Catholic School, alleged in answer to Mr. J.D. Driver (prosecuting) that after being sent out of class with another boy, he was taken to the woodwork room, where Buttle struck him six or seven hard blows with a rubber gym shoe.

He further alleged that his mother, who later examined him, found a bruise at the bottom of his back.

P.C. Finucane said he examined the boy and found a bruise three inches long and about an inch wide at the bottom of his back.

When he later interviewed the defendant, Buttle said to him: "I certainly didn't hit him where the bruise was. The punishment was merited and I told him why he was punished."

In Court, Buttle said that he entered the class and found Allen and another boy standing talking to a girl pupil. He told them three times to sit down and they took no notice, so he told them to leave the room, saying he could wait no longer.

He told them to report to him at break, but he had to go looking for them and when he asked them why they had not reported they started mumbling and were very truculent.

He took them to the woodwork room and made them, in turn, bend over, and he hit each boy six times with a rubber gym shoe.

Neither of them wept or showed any signs of distress and the other boy did not complain at any time of being bruised.

Asked by Mr Driver if he had tried to find out if Allen could have got the bruise in any other way, he replied: "Unworthy as I was, I pursued my profession as a teacher and not as a detective."

He had earlier told the Court that Mrs. Allen abused him when she went up to the school, and told him that he was not fit to be a teacher.

Mr. Way said a parent entrusted a child to the discipline of a school and a teacher was entitled to administer reasonable corporal punishment.

The Bench had to decide whether the teacher had exercised his discretion properly in this case, and he asked them to accept the evidence of a "perfectly honest and sincere man" who said that he had administered the punishment he thought reasonable.

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