Corpun file 19685
The New York Times, 4 June 1911
The Rod Helpful.
By Nathan Jonas
Ex-member of the Board of Education of New York City.
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When I was a member of the Board of Education I brought up the question of corporal punishment, and a committee was appointed to consider it. A set of questions was sent to all school
Superintendents throughout the country and to all Principals in
our system. The answers pro and con were very close.
I favor corporal punishment because the only way a boy will be
amenable to reason is by inflicting pain. Where there is any lack
of discipline in schools it is largely because they do not use
the rod. That is my opinion. Other people say kindness is the
thing to use.
My point of view is that the Principals and teachers who come in
contact with the boys believe in corporal punishment. I accept
their views, because, as teachers, they say that is the only
When they built the new parental school at Flushing, N.Y., the
question of corporal punishment arose. At the time I went there,
and before it was open to general view, I found in each cottage a
cage with bars, where they were to imprison boys who were bad or
not amenable to reason. I brought up the question in the board,
and asked if such treatment was not worse than real corporal
punishment. Those cages were built under the supervision of the
Board of Education of New York.
That simply shows that they believe in some form of corporal
punishment, no matter whether they punish by means of the hand or
a dark room.
In Germany they put boys in a dark room, I believe. That is
worse than giving a boy a whack and getting over with it.
The fact remains that scholars throw things at their teachers. If
a boy throws an inkwell or a ruler at a teacher, or pulls a knife
on a classmate there is nothing that will correct him but
That situation exists in the public schools of New York, and
teachers are forced to submit to these things. In just such cases
as that corporal punishment is fully justified.
In one downtown district they have a particular school where
misbehaving boys are put together. I called there once, when the
question of corporal punishment came up for discussion in the
Board of Education. I saw the Principal, who had a fine
reputation for dealing with unruly boys. She said to me:
"After we have used every other form of correction possible
with a boy who is beyond all reason, then we have to punish him
by physical means."
I replied: "I should think that it would be better to punish
the boys and leave them with good children, than to take them
where they are all bad, and then punish them, giving them bad
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