Three cane strokes for ‘suggestive talk’: School punishment books from the 1940s show the beatings given to pupils
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
Each offence is entered in ink alongside how many ‘strokes’ – whips of the cane – should be administered as punishment.
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.”