More scandalous school events, 1875-1900

Adults were not the only ones to misbehave in Haslingfield School during this period. Unsurprisingly, children were also prominent in this field. In February 1879 Jane Lawrence was pickpocketed of a handkerchief containing six pennies. The Head ordered an “individual search” of every pupil in the school, and a Mary Chandler was seen to deposit something white and jangly in the cloakroom before entering the search room to be frisked by the Sewing Mistress and Pupil Teacher. The Head decided not to cane her, as he was considering criminal prosecution.

This was not the end of the affair. Mary’s Mum came to the school at the end of the school day “in great fury, according to her usual custom”. The Head was busy, and ordered her off the premises. She refused, so the Head took matters into his own hands, and removed her “using no more violence than was necessary to accomplish that object”. Mary was suspended, and her case laid before the Trustees. The log book tells us no more.

We get few insights into general behaviour in the school during this period, but a later entry, in July 1914 by a Mr. Thorne, might give an inkling;

“I am leaving at the end of the holidays, having obtained a much better post ….. During the first weeks of my career here I found swearing, indecency, ink-throwing, and insulting teachers very common. Nearly all the books were defaced with indecent words and drawings, and there was hardly a sound book in the school. I have the great satisfaction that I have done my duty, and I have received many thanks from the parents for the great change in the manners and knowledge of their children”.

Who says children were better behaved in the past?!

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