Corpun file 19680
The New York Times, 26 April 1910
May Pupils Be Flogged?
Supreme Court to Decide Legality of Corporal Punishment in
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WASHINGTON, April 25. -- Is the "tune of the hickory
stick" in the teaching of readin' and ritin' and 'rithmetic
to be given the moral support of the Supreme Court of the United
States? That is a question it will decide between now and
If the court gives its approval to this ancient method of
discipline, Annie Kelley, an Illinois school mistress, will
escape from a school squabble with no greater punishment than
having been declared a bankrupt. If the court puts its foot down
on corporal punishment, she probably will have to go to jail for
flogging one of her pupils. Never before in the history of the
court, it is said, has it been confronted with such a question.
In 1906, Miss Kelley was teaching in the primary department of
the public schools of Tolono, Champaign County, Ill. According to
the brief Miss Kelley has filed, Michael Burke, an
eleven-year-old pupil, on Dec. 6, 1906, in the presence of the
school, used indecent and profane language toward her, and struck
and kicked her.
The Principal ordered her to chastise Michael, which she did,
with a pointer. The Burkes brought suit for damages against her,
alleging trespass and other things before the State courts, which
found against Miss Kelley.
After the judgment was procured against her Miss Kelley was
declared a bankrupt. She was arrested under an Illinois statute
tor failure to satisfy the judgment. Going to the Federal courts
for her discharge, the District Court found that it was not a
debt incurred through willful and malicious injuries, but this
judgment was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Miss Kelley has now asked the Supreme Court to review her case.
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