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School CP - December 1904

Corpun file 19687


The New York Times, 28 December 1904

Want the Rod Put Back in the Public Schools

Board of Education to Hear Committee's Minority Report.

Urges Duty to Children

Quotes Principals Saying Orderly Pupils Have Right to Demand Training In Wholesome Respect for Law.

Press cutting

A minority report favoring the reintroduction of corporal punishment in the public schools will be made this afternoon to the Board of Education by four of the nine members of the Committee on Elementary Schools. Several weeks ago the report of the majority opposing the reintroduction of the rod was made public.

The minority members are Chairman Frank D. Wilsey and Commissioners G.D. Hamlin, J.C. Kelley, and G.J. Payne. Their report declares for the reintroduction of corporal punishment on the lines laid down conjointly by the Male Principals' Association of Manhattan and the Bronx and the Principals' Association of the City of New York. The Principals' report, which the minority quotes, says in part:

"We are in accord with the general spirit of the laws governing punishments of refractory pupils; at the same time we confess that there are children in our public schools upon whom the prevailing method of discipline has not the corrective influence it is intended to have.

"We feel justified in recommending for these pupils sterner measures. Every child has the right to demand of us that we train him to a wholesome respect for the law. The child's right is a duty from which we are not absolved by the mere plea of sentiment. The orderly children have certain rights which the disorderly should be taught to respect. The unruly children, taking advantage of the limitations upon the powers of the teachers, waste the time of the other pupils, make class management a difficult task, and in many instances conduct themselves toward teachers in a manner that would not be tolerated outside of a public school building.

"The present means for disciplining refractory pupils are inadequate. We would therefore recommend that any pupil who, upon trial by the proper authorities, is adjudged unamenable to the prevailing method of discipline, shall hereafter he deemed subject to corporal punishment, administered by the Principal."

In discussing the report of the Principals the minority members of the committee continue:

"Corporal punishment is not to be used at the will of the teacher at all nor is it to be inflicted upon pupils indiscriminately for any or all offenses.

Press cutting

"Against the reintroduction of corporal punishment have been presented the following objections:

"1. It is liable to abuse. Under the proposed operation this possibility is extremely remote. In all the time during which corporal punishment was permitted in Brooklyn complaint of its abuse was rarely if ever made.

"2. It is likely to be unjustly administered. The restriction proposed will fully protect the innocent.

"3. It is an improper mode of punishment, it is an insult to the child, it lowers the one who inflicts it in the esteem of the pupils. Punishment must consist of pain of body or of mind. Physical pain is nature's mode of punishment and it is unfair to state that it is an insult to the child whose only avenue of sensibility is through his integument. That it will degrade the one who inflicts and lower him in the esteem of his pupils to have his authority respected by those who flout it needs no refutation.

"Of 269 Principals having boys' classes, 234, or 87 per cent., believe that other discipline than that which at present exists is needed. Corporal punishment is favored by 228, or 83 per cent."

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