Library Collections: Document: Full Text


Creator: E.R. Johnstone (author)
Date: December 1902
Publication: Journal of Psycho-Asthenics
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Mr. Johnstone: I ordered it done once by a person in whom I had confidence and I found afterwards two other punishments by the same employe under circumstances he thought justifiable.


Dr. Rogers: I had the same experience where I deputed minor punishment.


Mr. Johnson: One has to be careful in delegating punishment of course. I once had occasion to tell an attendant to punish a boy who had strayed away by giving him a bath and putting him to bed. It was Thursday. On Sunday he asked if the boy were to go to Sunday school. Inquiry showed that the boy was still in bed. His only excuse was that I had told him to put the boy to bed and had not told him to take him out.


Dr. Keating: When a child is brought to me for admission I make it understood that I am to have authority over the child. If I see fit to give corporal punishment I must give it, and I have yet to find the slightest opposition on the part of the parent. I am opposed to corporal punishment, but I reserve the right to administer it. I do not recall but one case where I ever resorted to it. That was a runaway. He told the neighbors that if he were caught I would give him a thrashing, and I told him that if he ran away again I would. The boy did not go for six months. I thought he had for gotten what I said, but when he was brought back I asked if he recollected. He replied, "Yes, you said you would whip me." I said "I am very sorry to do it, but I am a man of my word," and I got a switch and whipped the boy and he has never run away since. While I am opposed to it, if it must be given it should be given only by the head of the institution. If an employe or any subordinate officer administered punishment without my permission his resignation would be immediately asked.


Dr. Rogers: I do not believe that a person can administer corporal punishment without injury to himself. It is a matter of history that one who is placed where he is obliged to administer corporal punishment feels that it has a thoroughly demoralizing effect upon himself. Prison managers admit this.


Dr. Polglase: I never thought of it in that way.


Dr. Rogers: He can not do it without injuring his moral nature. I think this consciousness would deter a man many times.


Mr. Johnstone: My first experience in corporal punishment was in a reform school where we all used a strip of rubber about the size of my thumb. The first time it shocked me. I was pretty young at that time. At the end of two months I woke to the fact that it did not mean anything to me to whip those boys. I was no longer shocked. I feel pretty strongly now and I would not like ever to get into that condition again. The demoralizing effect on myself was something awful.


Dr. Polglase: I think the times for corporal punishment are very few. The longer we live with these children the more we distinguish certain types. There are the children who are cruel and bloodthirsty and when a boy attempts to burn up a building or do some cruel thing I think a dose of his own medicine is all right for him. Dr. Keating has spoken of runaways. I do not think whipping is a deterrent for them. If a boy has assumed a false dignity among his fellows and falls from his high estate and does something deserving of punishment I should put him at some manual labor that he dislikes. Every boy should feel that you are sorry to administer punishment. I have one boy who runs away and no punishment would have any effect upon him. It is an impulse that he can not control. I think nothing would stop him unless he were tied. So I keep him constantly in dresses. He will not run away with a girl's dress on.


Dr. Rogers: Another point to be considered in handling young people is that there is a period in the boy's life when he assumes a spirit of bravado. That is as true among feeble-minded boys as among strong-minded. It is an age habit. The boy if wisely treated will outgrow that.


Mr. Johnstone: I do not think our discipline should consider the idea of punishing for the offence committed but to prevent its being done the next time. Do not let there be a next time. Whatever is done should be with the idea of making the boy better, so that there will be no repetition of the of. fence. Whipping for the offence lasts only as long as the smarting lasts.


Dr. Polglase: We had a boy whom we trusted to do many things and he ran away. We gave him some slight discipline, deprived him of dessert or something of that kind. He ran away a second time. He had a great aversion to working inside the low grade buildings and had a contempt for that class of children. He was told that if he would do such things he must mingle with them and I put him there to work. I do not think there was ever a more humble individual. He begged time and again to be taken out and after I thought the dose was heavy enough I let him out and put him to work. He may run away again; I cannot tell anything about it, but in the meantime I trust him. When I trust I trust fully.


Dr. Keating: If you punish a child by giving him a disagreeable task and he refuses to do it what punishment would you give for that?

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