Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wilbo and His Friends from School Remember the Days of Corporal Punishment in American Schools.

Goodness, I never thought I would reach the day when I said, "Yep, I got a swat from Jim Angell & Max Carter but never from Larry Fisher". It was often considered to be a honor to be chewed out by General George Patton. Today, I heard from my mates at Byron Middle School, proudly recounting their visits with "The Board of Education".

Angell taught social studies and studied law in the evenings. He earned his Juris Doctor and built a dream house on the big curve on Bancroft Road. He built a grassy berm and planted a protective phalanx of pines to keep drunkly driven cars from crashing into his study. Carter served as the principle, and he secretly let boys who wanted to fight box in a quiet, out of the way chamber under the gym. Or so was the rumor. Carter caught the eye of a school board in Adrian and he moved up the ladder at a richer, city school district. Fisher taught social studies too, and retired when he suffered a heart attack all too young. 

Can anyone hear Pink Floyd singing, "We Don't Need No Education, We Don't Need No Thought Contol. No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom. Hey, Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone"? Lawmakers in Michigan must have heard the song. I remember once in 1988, Harley Smith called me out of Ron Rottschafer's classroom, where I was guest teaching. He asked me to witness as he delivered a swat to a disobedient student. It was efficient, hardly a swat. It was over in a second. Very soon after that, corporal punishment stopped, ended by law.

Illustration by Julian Leavitt (1912-02). "The Man In The Cage". The American Magazine LXXIII

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