Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More School Days Stories (Part 2): Tough Discipline in the Schoolhouse by Larry Reed

Vietta Montgomery, Cooksville School teacher 1890

Porter School room, c. 1920
 William Stokes wrote about his school days in Porter Township in the 1850s, including memorable disciplinary measures by the teachers—some very stern—that took place in the school room. Here is Part 2 of Stokes’ story:

“In our school, there were some very unruly boys and girls, especially among those who were approaching manhood and womanhood. Mr. Maine was a great stickler for order. He had various methods of bringing this about…. Roland Cox the third was especially obstinate. I remember very well the means that brought young Roland to time. Flogging would not subdue him. Next to flogging came the bleeding of the nose. Mr. Maine had a method of taking a pen knife and cutting a little vein in the nose. This would make a boy bleed profusely, but this had little effect on Master Roland. The teacher then resorted to the final test of throwing open the large stove door, where there was a glowing fire, taking Roland by the seat of his trousers and his coat collar, threatening to throw him into the big stove. This final test was more than Roland was able to stand. He succumbed and ever after was prompt in obeying the commands of his teacher. I have never seen the bleeding test or fire test used in any school since.