Corpun file 24619 at www.corpun.com
Daily Mail, London, 24 April 1908, p.3
Headmaster's offer of caning or dismissal.
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Under a covering letter headed "Insubordination, not
Cigarette," Mr. E.N. Marshall, headmaster of Queen Mary's
Grammar School, Walsall, sends a statement to the "Daily
Mail" concerning the recent incident at the school when a
boy was offered the alternatives of being caned or dismissed.
"The statement bears the heading, "Queen Mary's School,
Walsall, and the boy Jellyman," and Mr. Marshall, after
pointing out he himself is a smoker and that "probably
smoking in moderation would do little harm to the eldest boys,
and if they smoked at home, with the consent of their parents, I
could have no possible objection," proceeds:
"Smoking on the way to and from school or anywhere in the
town I distinctly forbade. One day his form master told me that
he had seen Jellyman smoking at mid-day in the railway station.
. . . His form master told me that if I would leave the matter in
abeyance he would try and bring the boy to a proper frame of mind
as to his disobedience, on the assumption that if he succeeded
the punishment would be neither caning nor dismissal. I gave
Jellyman's form master to understand that he could take this for
granted. To my surprise, these friendly overtures were met by the
uncompromising statement that he was well aware of the rule
against smoking, but that the headmaster had no right to make
such a rule.
"This stubbornness on the part of the boy made the question
one of extreme gravity. It was not now a question of smoking or
not smoking, it was a question as to whether I or the boy
Jellyman was to rule the school. I then told the boy in the
presence of the top forms only that he must choose one of two
alternatives -- either be caned or dismissed. As he refused the
caning, which most manly boys would consider by far the softer
option of the two, I told him to go.
"I wrote to the boy's father explaining the matter, and
expressed my regret that his son had brought this trouble upon
him. This was followed by a visit of the father accompanied by
his son. The whole matter was discussed, and at the end of the
interview, the father decided to bring his son next morning to
make an apology before the upper forms.
"Next morning Mr. Jellyman waited upon me, but instead of
the apology, to my surprise he told me that he had put the matter
in the hands of his lawyers, who threatened me with legal
proceedings, but after a lengthy correspondence with my
solicitors they abandoned that position.
"In the meantime, at my request, the governors agreed to
receive Mr. Jellyman and his son, and hear all they had to say.
The consequence was that governors passed a unanimous resolution
confirming the action of the headmaster throughout."
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