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Reformatory CP - April 1911

Corpun file 23433

The Daily Pioneer, Bemidji, Minnesota, 7 April 1911, pp. 1 and 7

Committee Makes Report

Those Who Had Charge of Red Wing Investigation Want Whittier Discharged.

By T.A. Wilson
Bemidji Pioneer Legislative Bureau


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Because of the fight in the house and because Senator Rockney has not prepared his minority report, the Red Wing report was not taken up today.

Senator Rockney has his report now ready and it agrees with the majority report except that he contends Superintendent Whittier should not be dismissed as he believes that the state is as much to blame as the superintendent.

Representative Lydiard, it is reported, will demand on the floor of the house that the members of the Board of Control be forced to resign.

* * *

The majority report insists upon the removal of Superintendent F. A. Whittier; that corporal punishment except for young boys and then mildly be abolished and that three assistant superintendents be discharged. After reciting the manner in which evidence relative to conditions at the school was obtained, the committee report says:

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"A -- That ever since said training School was established corporal punishment has been used.

"B -- That upon the present superintendent assuming charge he procured and caused to be used during the years 1903-4 and a portion of 1905 a certain appliance or so called machine over which the inmates were placed, their feet being fastened on one side thereof, their wrists joined together and fastened on the other side, their persons bared, and while in this position they were whipped in very many instances excessively and cruelly.

"That in 1905 a fire destroyed this machine and since that time punishment has been inflicted in about the same manner except that the inmates were placed over a barrel or over something else that would answer the purpose.

"That during the years following the destruction of said machine corporal punishment has been carried on to an extent that was cruel and excessive and that while in many instances the inmates of the institution were deserving of punishment of some kind still your committee finds that in very many instances severe and excessive corporal punishment was inflicted for comparatively unimportant breaches of discipline.

"C -- That corporal punishment has been excessively inflicted in many instances by subordinates without the knowledge of the superintendent.

"D -- That the superintendent of the institution confesses his inability to manage an institution of this character unless he continues to administer corporal punishment as in the past and your committee finds that a continuance of such management is out of the question. That while some slight corporal punishment of some of the younger boys might be necessary we are clearly of the opinion and so find that the corporal punishment as now administered is wholly unjustifiable and can only result in brutalizing not only the boys but the inflicters of the punishment.

"Your committee recommends that the board of control of this state make a change in the management of said institution and we furthermore recommend that Assistant Superintendent Dora and Family Managers Stoppleman and Metzold be discharged from the service of the state of Minnesota.

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"We further recommend to the board of control that they only tolerate and allow corporal punishment under such stringent rules and regulations as they may prescribe. Your committee recommends that there shall be provided at once by the state a suitable gymnasium with a swimming pool for the use of the inmates and that the management of said institution be conducted along humane lines."

This report is signed by Senators Prank Clague of Redwood Falls, and J.D. Sullivan of St. Cloud and Representatives Geo. D. Reed, N.J. Holmberg and L.A. Lydiard. Representative R.C. Dunn of Princeton was named a member of the committee but refused to act because of a long standing friendship between him and Superintendent Whittier. Senator A.J. Rockney of Goodhue, the other member of the committee, presented the minority report.

While the expected criticism of the board of control is pretty well veiled, the cunning of former Senator Ed. Smith is seen in those paragraphs which place direct responsibility upon the board of control for a change of management and for the abolition of corporal punishment and the adoption of humane methods. Should the board of control fail to obey these suggestions it is reasoned that the governor would have just grounds to ask for the resignation of its members.

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