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School CP - January 1887

Corpun file 23349

The Herald, Carroll, Iowa, 11 January 1887

Brutal Treatment.

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They must have a brutal teacher in one of the schools at Council Bluffs, and a Board of Education, which, if not in favor of the brutal treatment, is at least willing to tolerate it in school government. Not long ago, according to a Register correspondent, a child, a frail boy of 11 years, was whipped for his failure to commit to memory a small composition. The instrument used was a hickory club or "paddle", three feet long, one-half inch thick and one and one-half inches wide, and the punishment was administered by bending the boy over a desk. The bruises on the tender flesh of the little child from the blows of the heavy club were of a severe nature, and a few hours afterwards were as large as goose eggs. Physicians testified to having examined the child at periods ranging from three to nine days after the injuries were inflicted and found the parts swollen and inflamed, and after a period of nineteen days the discolorations were still visible. The school board sustained the teacher in the use of the club. The case is considered to be one of such serious nature, that it will most certainly reach Superintendent Sabin in the course of events.

It is a debatable question, whether or not corporal punishment should be abolished in school government. Experienced and successful teachers are divided on this point and repeated efforts to do away with the rod have been defeated by the Legislature. The sense of the majority seems to be, that properly used, the rod is not a baneful auxiliary to the proper control of our public schools. The sentiment, however, which sustains such brutal and inhuman treatment as that alleged to have been administered by the Council Bluffs teacher is fully a century behind the times. It is such instances as this, in which the right to use the rod on the children of others is grossly and brutally abused, that makes a public demand to brand corporal punishment with the seal of legislative disapproval.

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