My grade seven science teacher reached for the yardstick and asked me to come to the front of the class. He told me to bend over his lab desk. I complied and he gave me a smart swat just above my ass-cheeks, then he told me to sit down again. I no longer remember what I did to earn it, but the welt took just over a week to fade away.
My grade eight English teacher took my friend down to a small room behind the office, where the teacher hit him with a leather strap 16 times. My friend later wondered if this “licking” mightn't have ended sooner if he'd burst into tears earlier.
If you were a stoner or a day-dreamer in my grade nine history class it was only a matter of time before you were hoisted to your feet by the ears. And while the historical record was attended to with some competency, this adult man applied a truly energetic imagination to his verbal cataloging of an individual student's personal failings. One afternoon he spoke fondly of the Flin-Flon high school teacher who used the staff toilet to water-board a 15-year-old Bobby Clarke. In the silence that followed, he gazed at the florescent lights overhead, this image now becoming only a vague memory of the glorious days when a teacher could, with impunity, deal any manner of physical abuse to his adolescent students.
All three of these guys went on to retire with full benefits. I thought of them this morning when I dropped my daughters off at school. My daughters are accumulating the usual wounds of adolescence — that acidic petri dish of Social Darwinism. But, so far as I can see, their teachers aren't actively contributing to the abuse. Instead it looks to me like they're doing as much as we enable them to do to shepherd these kids through to the other side.
It's progress of a sort.
Link: It Gets Better -- for ostracized teens of any sexuality.