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conforming fully to the child's view on any occasion. But whatever methods of discipline are employed, it is safe to say the least successful will be mere negation of the natural tendencies of the young, and of boys especially
FAIR PLAY IN THE SCHOOL-ROOM
in a prosperous city of the West, there is a public school building situated at the intersection of A typical case re- two busy streets. There is alquiring correction most no playground space attached to the school for the use of either the boys or the girls. On the opposite side of the street from the building is a narrow border of lawn, which the street commissioner has ordered should be kept free from trespass by the pupils. Early in the year he instructed the principal of the school to warn the children against encroaching thereupon, and so the principal sent word throughout the school that any pupil found on this forbidden spot would forfeit his intermissions. Now, there is in the sixth grade of this school a boy who is fond of games and plays with his fellows, and who likes to be in the thick of things whenever he can get the opportunity. Further, he is so constituted, as might be expected, that he must have a considerable amount of vigorous out
door exercise constantly in order to avoid more or less serious physical disturbance.
Shortly after the principal issued her manifesto regarding the grass-plot, this boy was caught tres
, passing by one of the teachers. Other boys were very near the danger line, but he was the only one who had actually offended. He was told by his teacher that he could not leave his room during any of the recesses for a month. He declared that he was not to blame for his apparently disobedient act; the boys had pushed him against his will on to the lawn, which statement was, in all likelihood, true, for the boys with whom he played were pretty rough and fond of adventure. Quite thoughtlessly they wanted to see what would happen if they could get this boy caught on forbidden ground. However, they did not feel moved to acknowledge that they were at fault; and there was really no occasion for them to confess that they were guilty, for the teacher did not ask them, and the spirit of fair play was not highly developed in the school.
After the boy had lost his recesses for two or three days, his parents realized that if this penalty should be long continued it would work ruin to the health of the victim. So they remonstrated with the teacher, but the latter resisted their petition for clemency, saying that the boy had broken a rule of
the school, and he must suffer the penalty for disobedience. After one week, the parents removed him from the school, and he remained out for a while, being idle and wholly discontented during the time. At this writing he has just gone back to his work, and the matter has been adjusted so that he is not deprived of his recesses. But the parents are in mortal terror lest he will fall into trouble again, which will bring on another season of strain and stress and conflict with the teacher.
Experienced reader, you who have been through many school-room trials, what would you have done in a case of this sort? Would it have been better for the principal to have defended her pupils against the demands of the street commissioner, and appealed to the citizens to assist her in resisting an unjust requirement, which made the problem of government in that school a most trying one? If no relief from a serious burden could be had in this way, should the teacher have deferred to the parents judgment regarding the treatment of the boy in question, substituting another punishment for the deprivation of his recesses? The teacher proceeded according to the doctrine of natural consequences, in which so many people have faith to-day,-if a pupil can not be at large and obey the rules of the school, then he must be confined so that he will not have an opportunity to break these rules. If the teacher had yielded to the demands of the parents, and let the boy go free, would it have been possible for her to maintain effective control over her school thereafter? Would it have been morally injurious to the boy to be pardoned, and thus to be relieved from the necessity of paying penalties for his misdeeds, when his parents begged mercy for him? Even if the infliction of this penalty should prove a hardship, and be in one sense an injustice, would the boy not take particular pains in the future to avoid getting into trouble again?
Suppose we attack this problem from another point of view. The boy maintained he was really Securing the co-op- not at fault; he was the victim eration of pupils in of the mischievous action of his cases of discipline playmates. Suppose the teacher or the principal had brought the matter before the school as a whole, taking as much time as might have been necessary in order to discuss it fully and frankly. First, the entire school could have been led to appreciate that the teacher in making her rules had simply obeyed instructions from the authorities of the city. Certainly pupils from the fourth grade on can be guided to see that when authorities make commands, even if they seem to be unjust, they must nevertheless be obeyed, unless those who made them