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Reformatory CP - March 1911

Corpun file 23737

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Bemidji, Minnesota, 11 March 1911, p.2

[Editorial comment]

Not Like Mother Used to Spank.

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Superintendent Whittier of the Red Wing Training School, at the public hearing now being held to investigate charges of cruelty, admits, as does [sic] even some members of the board of control, that it is a practice to whip boy inmates.

The superintendent lays great stress on the word "spanking" and has repeatedly told the committee that it was done as near like "mother used to do it" as possible, while one member of the board of control, who knew corporal punishment was being inflicted, said it was the same sort of whipping as was "commonly used in our public schools and other institutions and at home."

Evidence has been offered and its truthfulness admitted by Mr. Whittier that boys have been tied over a contrivance after their backs had been bared and a wet towel applied and a strong man, armed with a leather lash 22 inches in length, has applied many blows.

Now there are not many mothers in the land, even though their boys be the most unruly, who are going to admit that they have ever administered any such a beating and as a matter of fact, as Mr. Whittier probably knows, mother's method usually consists of a half dozen spats with a slipper or hair brush and then not on boys who have reached the ages of those sent to Red Wing.

Likewise, it is just as ridiculous to say that such methods are pursued in our public schools. As a matter of fact, there is probably just one place in the state of Minnesota where flogging is made a practice and one of the established forms of discipline and that is at the Red Wing Training School.

As the investigation proceeds the public is becoming more and more convinced that the Red Wing institution has not been all that should be and that former Senator Stephens is entitled to much credit in performing the distasteful task of causing the abuses to be shown up.

blob Follow-up: 7 April 1911 - Committee Makes Report: Those Who Had Charge of Red Wing Investigation Want Whittier Discharged.

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