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Daily flogging condemned.--Say nothing about it.
the necessity resided in him and not in the school. So it often does, -and while teachers are zealously defending the rod, they should also feel the necessity of improving themselves as the most effectual way to obviate its frequent use.
When authority is once established in a school, it is comparatively easy to maintain it. There will of course be less necessity for resorting to the rod after the teacher has obtained the ascendency, unless it be in the event of
taking some new pupil into the school who is disposed to be refractory. I have but little respect for the leacher who is daily obliged to fortify his authority by corporal infliction. Something must be fundamentally wrong in the teacher whose machinery of government, when once well in motion, needs to be so often forcibly
From what has already been said, it will be seen .hat I do not belong to the number who affirm that the rod of correction should never be used in schools. Nor am I prepared to advise any teacher to publish beforehand that he will not punish with the rod. It would always be wiser for the teacher to say nothing about it. Very little good ever comes of threatening the use of it. Threatening of any sort avails but little. A teacher may enter a school with the determination to govern it if possible without force. Indeed I should advise one always to make this determination in his own mind. But whenever such a determination is published, the probability of success is very much siiminished.
There is an arm of power.-Proposed substitutes.
The true way and the safe way, in my opinion, is to rely mainly on moral means for the government of the school,—to use the rod without much threatening, if driven to it by the force of circumstances, and as soon as authority is established, to allow it again to slumber with the tacit understanding that it can be again awakened from its repose if found necessary. The knowl edge in the school that there is an arm of power, may prevent any necessity of an appeal to it; and such a knowledge can do no possible harm in itself. But if the teacher has once pledged himself to the school that he will never use the rod, the necessity may soon come for him to abandon his position or lose his influence over the pupils.
As much has been said against the use of the rod in any case in school government, it may be proper to consider briefly some of the substitutes for it, which have been suggested by its opposers.
Some have urged solitary confinement. This might do in some cases. Undoubtedly an opportunity for reflection is of great use to a vicious boy. But then how inadequate are the means for this kind of discipline in our schools. Most of our school-houses have but
In such cases solitary confinement is out of the question. In other instances there may be (as there always should be) a room, not constantly devoted to the purposes of the school. Here a pupil could be confined; and I have no objection whatever to this course, provided the room is not a dark one, and its Lemperature can be comfortable. But even with this
Its futility.-Parental folly.-Expulsion.
facility, confinement cannot be relied on as the only punishment, because if offenses should multiply, and the offenders should all be sent to the same place, then confinement would soon cease to be solitary! And suppose some philanthropist should devise a plan of a school-house with several cells for the accommodation of offenders; still this punishment would fail of its purpose. The teacher has no power to confine a pupil much beyond the limit of school hours. This the obstinate child would understand, and he would therefore resolve to hold out till he must be dismissed, and then he would be the triumphant party. He could boast to his fellows that he had borne the punishment, and that without submission or promise for the future he had been excused because his time had expired.
This substitute is often urged by parents, who have tried it successfully in case of their own children in their own houses, where it was known that it could of course be protracted to any necessary length. Besides, if the confinement alone was not sufficient, the daily allowance of food could be withheld. Under such circumstances it may be very effectual, as undoubtedly it often has been; but he is a very shallow parent who, having tried this experiment upon a single child, with all the facilities of a parent, prescribes it with the expectation of equal success in the government of a large school.
Others have urged the expulsion of such scholars as are disobedient. To this it may be replied that it is not quite certair., under existing laws, whether the
Not expedient.-Why?-Mr. Mann quoted.
teacher has the right to expel a scholar from the common schools; and some deny even the right of the school officers to do it. Whether the right exists or not, it is very questionable whether it is ever expedient to expel a scholar for vicious conduct; and especially in cases where there is physical power to control him. The vicious and ignorant scholar is the very one who most needs the reforming influence of a good education. Sent away from the fountain of knowledge and virtue at this—the very time of need—and what may we expect for him but utter ruin? Such a pupil most of all needs the restraint and the instruction of a teacher who is capable of exercising the one and affording the other.
But suppose he is dismissed, is there any reason to hope that this step will improve the culprit himself, or better the condition of the school? Will he not go on to establish himself in vice, unrestrained by any good influence, and at last become a suitable subject for the severity of the laws, an inmate of our prisons, and perhaps a miserable expiator of his own crimes upon the gallows ? How many youth-and youth worth saving, too-have been thus cast out perversely to procure their own ruin, at the very time when they might have been saved by sufficient energy and benevolence, no mortal tongue can tell! Nor is the school itself usually benefited by this measure.
“ For all purposes of evil,” Mr. Mann justly remarks, "he continues in the midst of the very children from among whom he was cast out; and when he associates with
“ Free trade.”
A creed, and its basis.--The Scriptures.
them out of school, there is no one present to abate or neutralize his vicious influences. If the expelled pupil be driven from the district where he belongs into another, in order to prevent his contamination at home, what better can be expected of the place to which he is sent, than a reciprocation of the deed, by thei. sending one of their outcasts to supply his place; and thus opening a commerce of evil upon free-trade principles. Nothing is gained while the evil purpose remains in the heart. Reformation is the great desideratum; and can any lover of his country hesitate between the alternative of forcible subjugation and victorious contumacy ?”
From all that has been said, it will be seen that I do not hesitate to teach that corporal infliction is one of the justifiable means of establishing authority in the schoolroom. To this conclusion I have come, after a careful consideration of the subject, modified by the varied experience of nearly twenty years, and by a somewhat attentive observation of the workings of all che plans which have been devised to avoid its use or to supply its place. And although I do not understand the Scriptures, and particularly the writings of Solomon, to recommend a too frequent and ill-considered use of it, I do not find any thing in the letter or spirit of Christianity inconsistent with its proper application. It is the abuse, and not the use of the rod, against which our better feeling, as well as the spirit of Christianity, revolts. It is the abuse of the rod, or rather the abuse of children under the infliction of the rod, that first