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School CP - November 1921

Corpun file 25334 at

The Evening News, San Jose, California, 5 November 1921, p.2

Public Spanking for Students in Bonfire Raid

Press cutting

PALO ALTO, Nov. 5. -- Eleven boys, students at the Palo Alto union high school, face the pain and humiliation of being publicly spanked in a manner similar to that used in the ancient days of the whipping post. The "kangaroo court," as the spanking is known at the local high school, was ordered by overwhelming vote of the student body of the high school for known violations of a interschool agreement between the San Jose and Palo Alto high schools in the raiding by the eleven boys, together with others unknown, of the Reed athletic field in San Jose with the intent of firing prematurely the bonfire made ready by the San Jose high school students for the Thursday rally.

The public spanking, or kangaroo court, is to be administered by the members of the Palo Alto high school football eleven, composed of the huskiest lads in the school. Parents of the lads involved in the raid on the San Jose school and athletic field, whose names were made public at an assembly held an Thursday, have been offered an opportunity to protest against the kangaroo court in writing if they so desire.

Following is the result of the veto cast at the student body assembly regarding the disposition of the cases and the punishment to be meted the offenders: For the kangaroo court, 172; for suspension, 21; for ostracism, 24; for "give them the glad hand", 16; for no punishment, 94; for probation, 8; for further written apology, 15; for involuntary hard labor, 16.

Corpun file 25350 at

The Evening News, San Jose, California, 18 November 1921, p.6

The "Spanking" Decision

Press cutting

The now famous decision of the Palo Alto high school student body to submit to a public "spanking" eleven students who violated an agreement between the San Jose and Palo Alto high schools was doubtless laughed at by many adults as simply one more boys' prank. But certainly such a decision, gravely debated before a large student body, is of an infinitely higher order than are the decisions of sophomores to discipline freshmen for the crime of being freshmen.

The feud between freshmen and sophomores which still rages with more or less vigor in every school in the United States is a survival from the days when countries were not ruled so democratically as they are now ruled. A rigidly fixed caste system is implied in the very basis of the arbitrary dispute between the two "classes." The sophomore is superior to the freshmen simply because he has been in the school longer, just as, in the social and political system which gave birth to this old school custom, a noble was superior to a commoner because track had been kept of his ancestry for a longer period.

But a grave decision to "spank" at a stated time offending members of the student body is a decision as significant and important as the decision of a congress or legislature to provide definite punishment for certain crimes by due process of law. However such a decision may be on the offending eleven, it is infinitely more civilized than the arbitrary punishments awarded under the sophomore-freshman dispute system.

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