Can of worms....deeply depressing

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Can of worms....deeply depressing

Postby mgormez » Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:09 pm

I saw this page popping up in the statistics pages:

Experiences at St Vedast (now St. James) and the S.E.S. [HISTORY]
Message board for survivors of this famously cranky group of private schools in London, which were among the very few to carry on with CP right down to the wire in 1997.
What an extraordinary can of worms is opened up here.
Very long (31 pages of it as I write) and deeply depressing.
Much of what is described really can, for once, be described as "abuse", though corporal punishment is a relatively minor part of that -- there are numerous complaints here about unfair and excessive non-corporal punishments, too, as well as more general brutality and much cruelty of a more psychological kind.
However, for me the most remarkable claim is that headmaster Nicholas Debenham, even as recently as the 1980s, was in the habit of caning boys on their bare bottoms, a fact never hinted at during his numerous sallies into the media to speak up for caning, such as this October 1996 news item. At least nobody can claim that this weird place was remotely typical of anything: it seems to have been a bizarre one-off in every way.
Mike Gormez

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Re: Can of worms....deeply depressing

Postby Daffy » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:26 am

[] wrote:However, for me the most remarkable claim is that headmaster Nicholas Debenham, even as recently as the 1980s, was in the habit of caning boys on their bare bottoms, a fact never hinted at during his numerous sallies into the media to speak up for caning

Perhaps I haven't followed the discussion closely enough, but I don't recall any mention on this forum of boys being caned on their bare bottoms. I don't remember any story of this kind circulating when I was at St James either. Not that Debenham deserves the record set straight, but does anyone else know otherwise?

I do recall that evil woman Felicity Debenham (his wife) one day pulling down a boy's trousers and underpants, making him bend over and giving him several hard whacks with his shoe. We were six or seven at the time. This must surely have been illegal even in the 1970s, and would certainly land her in jail for a lengthy stint if she did it now. She was a vicious, spiteful, mean-spirited and constantly angry woman - I'm somewhat surprised she doesn't rate more mentions on this board.

ross nolan
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corporal punishment in schools

Postby ross nolan » Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:44 am

hello -- just a little observation on the use of corporal punishment in schools and their 'philosophy' -- I remember quite frequent episodes of "getting the strap" (leather belt on the hands) at primary school in the 60's in Australia which I presume has been ceased long since -- I suppose physical "chastizement" as my parents called it was ,and probably still is, common within families and at a mild level probably does no great damage of itself . Is the excessive use in SOP intended to be some sort of toughening up process or quasi spartan upbringing ? I find curious the opposite extreme of not doing anything about misbehaviour, running riot etc amongst children in the Steiner school tradition (another murky and semi secretive sort of organization) -- old school friends send their children there and clam up when asked anything about their beliefs or aims. Apparently Ouspensky based teachings are also included in the Steiner system yet the opposite approach to child discipline . (?)

Jehovah's Witnesses are now revealed to have extensive church sanctioned child sexual abuse of which I never heard even a rumour or would have suspected from my mother's extolling of their total goodness and Truth.

Also in my hometown rumours circulated about child molestation by the local monsignor of the catholic church (Msr Day) -- he was revealed to have been abusing the altar boys etc and, after his death, the church is now paying compensation -- a number of molested children go on to be abusers themselves so it is "even unto the third generation" . As a boy scout I had no idea that our adult leader (and local hairdresser) known as "Skip" (short for skipper) was abusing the cub scouts -- his daughter used to be 'uncontrollable' and taken out of class sometimes at school -I had no idea what was going on and can only guess at the suffering and undeserved punishment ,accusation etc she had to go through .

Bullying in schools has been the subject of a recent government enquiry here and substantial compensation is being paid -- children can be as cruel to each other sometimes -- several suicides have occurred as a result, similar things happen in the not dissimilar army environment where 'authorized' brutality and group dynamics create outsiders .

Is there any good system to eliminate this sort of conduct ? Police display similar misconduct . Possibly video surveillance in all cases is the best guarantee of preventing or, if occurring, helping penalize misconduct.

Ross Nolan.

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Postby RobMac » Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:28 am

I can 100% confirm that Debenham most certainly did cane on bar bottoms at least in the early days.
I received this treatment numerous times, the logic appeared to be that as he could not give you more than six strokes of the cane and he deemed your "crime" to be severe enough he needed to inflict more pain than he could achieve with the six strokes.

It is also worth noting that he did not abide by the six strokes limit. I was given six strokes on a Friday and then a further six strokes on the Monday. My offence was shop-lifting.

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Postby mike_w » Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:03 pm

Yes it was also used for those boys who attempted to lessen their pain by wearing extra clothing, spare underpants, etc

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