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School CP - March 1976

Corpun file 7657


The Sunday Times, London, 7 March 1976

Caned girl: I didn't deserve it

Police are investigating a complaint that a 15-year-old girl was beaten about 14 times on the buttocks while being held down by a headmaster and a teacher. Last night Ethel McAdoo, mother of fifth-former Karen, claimed the caning amounted to 'brutality'.

Mrs McAdoo said that her daughter still had angry red weals on her buttocks from the caning -- on Thursday at Camden Square Comprehensive School in Seaham, Co. Durham.

Karen was punished for skipping a woodwork class, which she admits she has done before. The headmaster, Harry Clark, said yesterday: 'The action was taken entirely within the regulations of the county authority.'

The authority recently told schools the maximum number of cane strokes should be six. The head teachers' association maintains an older girl should be caned only on the hands.

In a radio interview, Karen said she was taken to a hall and told to hold out a hand. She refused and was forced to bend over a platform. Two women teachers had been called by Mr Clark. She alleged he lifted her coat so "one teacher could get at me properly."

"I got nine or ten," Karen added. "Then she stopped, but Mr Clark told the teacher to carry on and I got another four or five. I didn't cry. I suppose I was just frightened. Afterwards I fell on the floor and started to cry."

Mrs McAdoo said Karen's name had been deleted from the woodwork class so she spent the lesson time in the toilet. But the headmaster did not believe her explanation.

Corpun file 19434


The Times, London, 8 March 1976

Head tells why girl was caned

Press cutting

Mr Harry Clark, headmaster of Camden Square secondary school, Seaham, Durham, yesterday explained why a girl pupil aged 15 had been caned.

Karen McAdoo, of Ash Crescent, Seaham, has said she was held by Mr Clark and a woman teacher, while another woman teacher caned her bottom.

The girl's parents have complained to the police, who are investigating the incident.

Mr Clark said in a statement that in the few months the girl had been at his school she had been difficult, had played truant and was frequently late.

"The intention to cane her on the hands was a last resort before possible exclusion from the school. She refused and was told she would be given "the legal alternative of being caned on the buttocks."

"But she became violent when this was attempted, lashing out with her feet and hands. It was fortunate that I was present and able to assist my teachers and restrain Karen.

"Mrs Beryl Hillam (the senior mistress) managed to cane her four strokes on the buttocks over her clothing, even though the girl's feet were flying, two earlier ineffective strokes mostly being shielded by her long coat.

"She arched herself backwards and was not bent forward as alleged. Two of the six strokes, therefore, may or may not have contacted her properly. My main concern at the time was to safeguard my two teachers whilst using the minimum physical restraint in order to achieve this."

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