Lapas attēli

cretion and judgment, and must adapt it not only to the offense, but the offender. Horace Mann, a high authority in the matter of schools, says of corporal punishment: "It should be reserved for the baser faults. It is a coarse remedy, and should be employed upon coarse sins of our animal nature, and when employed at all it. should be administered in strong doses." Of course, the teacher, in inflicting such, must not exceed the bounds of moderation. No precise rule can be laid down as to what shall be considered excessive. or unreasonable punishment. Each case must depend upon its own circumstances. The teacher must exercise reasonable judgment and discretion, and be governed as to the mode and severity of the punishment by the nature of the offense, and the age, size and apparent powers of endurance of the pupil.

(b.) And he should also take into consideration the mental and moral qualities of the pupil, and, as indicative of these, his general behavior in school and his attitude toward his teacher become proper subjects of consideration. And in making the chastisement, the teacher may take into consideration not merely the immediate offense which had called for the punishment, but the past offenses that aggravated the present one and showed the pupil to have been habitually refractory and disobedient. Nor is it necessary that the teacher should, at the time of inflicting the punishment, remind the pupil of his past accumulating offenses. The pupil knew them well enough without having them brought freshly to his notice.10

* * * *

(d.) And whether, under the facts, the punishment was excessive must be left to the jury to decide.

In the State v. Mizner it was said, that "any punishment with a rod which leaves marks or welts on the person of the pupil for two months afterward, or much less time, is immoderate and excessive, and the court would have been justified in so instructing the jury."

The pupil must also understand and know, or have the means of knowing for what offense he is being punished.15 *

* * * *

In an English case, where, on the boy's return to school, his master wrote to the boy's parent, proposing to beat him severely, in order to subdue his alleged obstinacy, and on receiving the father's permission, beat the boy for two hours and a half, secretly and in the night

10 Sheehan v. Sturges, 22 Rep., 455.

14 50 Iowa, 145.

15 50 Iowa, 145.


and with a thick stick until he died, it was held that he was guilty of manslaughter, and not murder, no malice being proven.1 * * * *

The teacher has the right to punish the pupil within the bound of law, even though he has instruction from the father that the child must not be whipped.18 He is the absolute judge of the kind of punishment to be inflicted, with the limitation that it shall be reasonable and usual, and not destructive of the relation, or subversive of the contract under which the relation exists. It may be by whipping or he may impose a reasonable restraint upon the person of the pupil which will prevent disorder in his school.

3. Jurisdiction.-It is conceded that the right to punish extends to school hours, and that there seems to be no reasonable doubt that the supervision and control of the master over the pupil extends from the time he leaves home to attend school till he returns home from school.

(a) In the case of Lander v. Seaver,19 it was held that, although a school-master has in general no right to punish a pupil for misconduct committed after dismissal of the school for the day and the return of the pupil to his home, yet he may, on the return of the pupil to school, punish him for any misbehaviour, though committed out of school, which has a direct and immediate tendency to injure the school or subvert the master's authority.

In the recent case of Derkins v. Goss, it was decided that the teacher has the right to make a rule and to enforce it by whipping, prohibiting the boys from swearing, quarreling or fighting on their way home from school before the parental authority over them has been resumed.

(b) But it has been held that the teacher had no right to compel the pupil to study certain branches when the pupil was excused therefrom by his parent, and that if the teacher attempted to force the pupil so to do and the pupil refused and the teacher inflicted corporal punishment upon such pupil for such refusal, that the teacher would be guilty of assault and battery.21

4. Power of Expulsion.-The teacher has not, it seems, a discretionary power of expulsion, but only for a reasonable cause.22

17 R. V. Hopley, 2 F. & F., 202.

18 State v. Maux. Straus, 3 Tenn. Law Rep., 19.

19 32 Vt., 114.

20 Cent. L. J., 418.

21 Morrow v. Wood, 13 Am. Law Reg. (N. S.), 693.

22 Fitzgerald v. Northcote, 4 F. & F., 685.

The power of expulsion is usually placed in the hands of the school directors or other committee in charge of the school, and the teacher generally has power only to suspend the pupil until the matter can be brought to the attention of such superior body.

For a wrongful expulsion the teacher would be liable in damages, not only to the child, but in Roe v. Deming it was held that the father of a child entitled to the benefits of the school of the subdistrict of his residence may maintain an action against the teacher or the local directors of the subdistrict for damages for wrongfully expelling the child from school.23

This question was very thoroughly discussed in State v. Burton,24 in which it was said that "the teacher is responsible for the discipline of his school, and for the progress, conduct and deportment of his pupils. It is his imperative duty to maintain good order and require of his pupils a faithful performance of their duties. If he fails to do so he is unfit for his position. To enable him to discharge these duties effectually he must necessarily have the power to enforce prompt obedience to his commands. For this reason the law gives him the power, in proper cases, to inflict corporal punishment upon refractory pupils. But there are cases of misconduct for which such punishment is an inadequate remedy. If the offender is incorrigible, suspension or expulsion is the only adequate remedy. In general, no doubt, the teacher should report a case of that kind to the proper board for its action in the first instance, if no delay will necessarily result from that course prejudicial to the best interests of the school. But the conduct of a recusant pupil may be such that his presence for a day or an hour may be disastrous to the discipline of the school and even to the morals of other pupils. In such a case it seems absolutely essential to the welfare of the school that the teacher should have the power to suspend the offender at once from the privilege of the school; unless he has been deprived of the power by the affirmative action of the board.

5. Liability for Failure to Instruct.-Whether an action will lie against a teacher for a failure to instruct the pupil that lawfully comes to him for instruction, or whether the remedy is confined to an appeal to the governing board, Judge Cooley says, in his work on Torts, is left in doubt by the authorities, though he expresses the opinion that such refusal is actionable. And in Spear v. Cum

23 Ohio St., 666.

24 Am. Law Reg., 233; S. C., Wis., 1879.

mings it was held that the teacher of a town school was not liable to an action by the parent for refusing to instruct his children. If an action can be maintained in such a case, it should be in the name of the child and for his benefit.

What are Reasonable Rules.—A rule providing that pupils may be suspended from school in case they shall be absent or tardy except for sickness or other unavoidable cause, a certain number of times, is a reasonable and proper rule for the government of the school.

Also to exclude a child whom it is deemed is of a licentious character and immoral, although such character is not manifested by any acts of licentiousness or immorality within the school. Likewise for acts of neglect, carelessness of posture in his seat and recitation, tricks of playfulness and inattention to study, and the regulations of the school in minor matters". A requirement by the teacher of a district that the pupils in grammar schools, shall write English compositions, is a reasonable one, and if such pupil, in the absence of a request from his parent, refuse to comply with such rule, he may be expelled from the school on that acccount. But a rule that required that no pupil should attend a social party is not reasonable, and an expulsion for such violation of such rule would be illegal.

A regulation, that each scholar, when returning to school after recess, shall bring into the school-room a stick of wood for the fire, is not needful for the government of the school and a scholar cannot be suspended for a refusal to comply with such a rules"



In my report for 1884, I discussed this subject at considerable length. The recommendation in favor of a law permitting the electors of any school district, at any regular or annual election, to authorize the board of directors to purchase text books, the use of which should be free to the children of the district, and to vote a special tax for that purpose, was well received throughout the State. A Bill embodying the above recommendations entered in the House

2523 Pick. 224.

26Stephenson v. Hali, 14 Barb. 222.

2731 Iowa, 562.

288 Cush. 160.

29105 Mass. 475.

3032 Vt. 224.

3066 Mo. 286.

3124 Am. Law Reg. 601; S. C. Wis. 1885.

of Representatives of the Twenty-first General Assembly, failed to become a law, although very generally endorsed. I have, since my last report, given this subject careful study. I am fully convinced of the wisdom of the proposed law. I beg to renew the recommendations of two years ago, and sincerely trust that this reasonable, just and prudent change in our laws may be made by the approaching General Assembly.


Chapter 23, Laws of 1882, makes it the duty of boards of directors to plant shade trees upon school house sites, and authorizes pàyment from the contingent fund. In obedience to this law, thousands of young trees have been planted; but this necessary improvement has so far been neglected in many districts. For the purpose of encouraging tree planting, and investing the exercise with all possible interest, I issued a circular letter, under date of April 4, 1887, designating the 4th day of May as a day to be generally observed, by all the schools of Iowa, as ARBOR DAY. The day was very generally observed, and many interesting and delightful exercises were held. Owing to the early opening of the season, May 4th proved a little late for many varieties of trees, but it is believed that May 4th will be early enough for the average season. The hard wood trees should be selected, and the planting of such trees may safely be deferred to May 4th.

The following is the circular letter referred to:

[ocr errors]



Your attention is hereby called to chapter 23, laws of 1882, which reads as follows:

SECTION 1. The board of directors of each district township and independent district, shall cause to be set out and properly protected, twelve or more shade trees on each school-house site belonging to the district, where such number of trees are not now growing, and such expense shall be paid from the contingent fund.

SEC. 2. It shall be the duty of the county superintendent, in visiting the зeveral schools in his county, to call the attention of any board of directors neglecting to comply with the requirements of this statute, and the required number of shade trees shall be planted as soon thereafter as the season will admit.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »