Three cane strokes for ‘suggestive talk': School punishment books from the 1940s show the beatings given to pupils

September 21, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

A school has unearthed ‘punishment books’ dating back to the 1940s – listing how many whips of the cane were given for bad behaviour.

The handwritten books details misdemeanours such as ‘suggestive talk’, extortion, being ‘cheeky to a prefect’, bullying, ‘throwing a knife’, fighting, smoking, insolence and
truancy.

Each offence is entered in ink alongside how many ‘strokes’ – whips of the cane – should be administered as punishment.

This page from one of the punishment books shows some of the beatings given to pupils for bad behaviour

This page from one of the punishment books shows some of the beatings given to pupils for bad behaviour

The books record various wrong-doings, the punishment received, the signature of who administered the cane and who witnessed it.

This was usually between two to six strokes – “probably with a cane” – depending on the severity of the bad behaviour.

The books dating from 1947-1985 have been found at Braunton Academy in Devon which was previously Braunton Senior School when it opened on October 6, 1937.
The punishment books found at the school feature a wide variety of misdemeanours – mostly punished with ‘strokes’ of a cane.

Records from the 1981 autumn term show a 14-year-old was given “three strokes” for truancy, taking a bicycle without permission and lying.

In 1982 a 13-year-old was struck three times with a ruler for committing a bullying offence outside of school grounds.

1981 also saw a group of five 14-year-olds each given three strokes of the cane for “setting off fireworks on a cross-channel ferry”.

The books shows how three 14-year-olds were caught spitting and struck once with the ruler each.

In 1947 one 13-year-old was given three strokes for ‘answering back’ to a teacher.

And another 15-year-old will have regretted “setting off the fire alarm” as she received “four strokes”.

A school spokesman said: “Times have clearly changed in the classroom, not least in the way discipline is maintained.”

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