Friday, 13 November 2009

The principle of one principal.

Did you ever get punished for something that was not your fault, even when you tried desperately to explain yourself? I had the misfortune to be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time back in 1966. In those days, corporal punishment was still practiced in the educational system. Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind was no exception. From my memoir, Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is one example of when I was unjustly discipline.

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In all my time at Jericho, only once was I unjustly strapped. One rainy November afternoon, a small riot broke out in Mrs. McMaster's class. As we waited for her to arrive, the noise level of our chatter rose steadily. Soon children began pushing each other off of their chairs. Mrs. McMaster stood in the doorway and tried to regain order. My classmates were making too much noise to notice her. She turned on her heel and fetched the principal.

"Alright you kids, whoever's standing - come with me!" Mr. Brice thundered. I had been pushed off my chair and stood looking for a place to sit when the principal rounded me up with the other rioters and sent us to his office. One by one, we had our hands slapped with the strap.

"I wasn't doing anything wrong," I protested through my tears. I started explaining why I was out of my seat when our principal interrupted. "Don't lie to me. I saw you standing in class. Go back to your room and behave from now on." I followed the other boys back to the Music Room, fuming at the injustice of it all.
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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback sells for $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped Inscribe writers group website. It also contains 6 black and white photographs.