School discipline was certainly different in 1874 as can be seen by this story
From the Birmingham Iron Age June 18, 1874
On last Saturday, 13th, a young school teacher named James Russell living in the Bagley settlement, “Five Mile,” was tried for an assault and battery on one of his pupils, Miss Rowena Shugart, aged seventeen.
From the evidence it appears that Mr. Russell, during school hours, ordered Rowena to move from one bench to another, and upon her refusal to do so, he gave her a severe whipping with a ‘birch,” “o’er stepping the bounds of modesty” so far as to draw blood in one or two places.
Mr. R. was discharged by the Justice, although the “skinning” he received from the plaintiff’s attorney (Col. Jolly), was excruciating and “fierce to behold,” and will, no doubt serve as a reprimand and kind remembrancer to Mr. Russell, should he continue to teach and “flog” until he arrived at the age of Methuselah.
The trial excited unusual interest, the whole neighborhood being present, and the decision, if a correct one, establishes the precedent that a teacher whilst castigating a pupil, may go so far as to draw blood – a very different one from that given by the learned young judge in Shylock.
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