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School CP - April 1913

Corpun file 23738

Malvern Standard, Victoria, 26 April 1913, p.5

Maintaining Discipline.

Schoolboy's Punishment.

Police Court Sequel.

Click to enlarge

At the sitting of the Prahran Court on Thursday, the bench being occupied by Mr. Morrison, P.M., Messrs Flintolt and Wallis, and Captain Russell, J.'s P., Arnold P. Newey, second assistant teacher at the Hornby street State school, was charged on the information of Mrs. Catherine Porter with having unlawfully assaulted her son, Willie Porter, 11 years of age, on April 1st.

Mr. Hoare appeared for informant, and Mr. Vincent Nolan for defendant.

Dr. Campbell, of the Alfred Hospital, gave evidence that he examined the boy Porter on the afternoon of the date named. He found one long bruise on the front of the left buttock, one on the right buttock, and two on the front of the thigh. The bruises may have been caused by the strap produced.

Mr. Nolan -- Is it not possible for a strap to leave more than one mark when a lad is struck once? -- Yes.

Willie Porter, the boy in question, said: -- I am in the third class. Mr. Newey called me out for the strap because I was running round the class to get my book. He strapped two other boys and me. The two other boys got two straps on the hand. I ran into the passage because I could not stand it, and Mr. Newey dragged me back by the collar to the room, and hit me on the body with the strap. He hit me eight times. I struggled. The cuts hurt.

Mr. Nolan -- Were you running round the yard with two lads after the bell had gone? -- Yes.

You were not only wrong in racing round the school yard, but you also did wrong by not standing out on the floor of the class room like the other two boys? -- Yes.

Did you refuse at first to hold your hand out? -- Yes.

You did school work after you received punishment? -- Yes.

Did you laugh at a boy after you were punished? -- When I stopped crying I did.

Do you often shift from one school to another? -- Yes.

Mrs. Porter stated that she met her boy coming home from school limping. His collar was broken. He was marked on the legs and thigh. She took him to the Windsor police station.

Mr. Nolan -- Is the boy obedient? -- Yes.

Perhaps you might have thought fit to give the boy the ordinary sort of whipping? -- No.

Mr. Hoare -- Your boy has never complained about Mr. Newey before? -- No.

Constable Kirwan deposed to having seen bruises on the boy. The punishment seemed severe.

Constable Bunker also gave evidence.

Mr. Nolan, in opening the case for the defence, said the case was a most trivial one The position of a school teacher in relation to a child was similar to that of a parent in relation to a child. The boy Porter was undoubtedly whipped, but not excessively. In the conduct of a school nothing was so important as the maintenance of discipline. A teacher had not to consider an individual scholar, but the school as whole. He had to consider what effect punishment would have on the whole school. He (Mr. Nolan) had spent 15 years in the secondary schools of Victoria, and knew that one act of insubordination on the part of one boy could upset the whole school. Mr. Newey was a man of excellent character, and the head master would testify that he was empowered to mete out punishment. Counsel explained the reasons which led to the boy Porter's punishment. Mr. Newey had no motive other than maintaining proper discipline. He had the moulding of the character of the children, and one of the finest things for a child to know was that he would receive punishment, but of course not too severe.

Mr. Gray, headmaster of the Hornby street State school, deposed that he deputed Mr. Newey to administer punishment in cases of breach of discipline.

Mr. Morrison P.M. -- It is only a question as to whether the punishment was too severe or not.

Mr. Hoare (to witness) -- How long have you been a teacher? -- Forty years.

You have punished many boys? -- A number (Laughter).

Have you ever bruised a boy all over the buttocks and down the legs? -- I have given a boy very much more than the boy Porter got. (Laughter).

Is not thrashing a boy on the buttocks degrading? -- No, not for a boy.

Would not eight or nine strokes given to a boy be considered a severe whipping? -- Well, yes.

Mr. Nolan. -- Is it not customary to whip boys who will not hold their hands out? -- Yes.

The defendant then gave evidence. He said when the bell had stopped ringing for the children to enter the school Porter and two others were not in their places. They were chasing one another for a hat or bag. He ordered three into the school. Two of them went into the school, but Porter went into his lines. He again ordered him into the school, but instead of standing out on the floor as he should have done with the other boys he went to his seat. I punished the two boys and gave Porter one stroke with the strap. He was rather long in holding out his hand for a second stroke, and witness told him to hurry up. He mumbled that he would not. Witness then took him by the left shoulder and laid the strap on his back. Porter naturally wriggled about a great deal. Witness than ordered him to hold out his hand for the second stroke, and he said he would bring his mother. Witness considered that a still further breach of discipline, and he gave the boy another stroke on the back, and ordered him to his place, and told him to bring his mother. He next saw Porter smiling to a boy behind him.

Mr. Hoare. -- Did you hold the strap at the end? -- No.

Had you ever before been complained of for bruising anybody? -- No.

What is your weight? -- 13 stone 11 lbs.

Did you catch the lad by the collar? -- Probably I did.

Did you lose control of yourself? -- No.

Mr. Morrison, P.M., said a great deal had been made out of very little. The boy had undoubtedly been very disobedient. Discipline had to be kept up. The question was as to whether the boy got an excessive whipping. The bench did not think he had, and the case would be dismissed. Informant was ordered to pay 2/2/- costs.

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