Curious Punishments of Bygone Days

Dunce caps were a part of school disciplinary policies up until 50 years ago in the USA. It’s left a lasting impression.

The Dunce Cap and facing the wall is still a part of our culture. Would a scene like this happen in a UK office?


It’s good to see integration on the tour in Virginia. Some of these punishments may be familiar to the UK? Which ones would not be?


The wide range of opinions from a century ago is something that shows a lack of consensus to the role gender and age plays. There is less sympathy for a girl meriting judicial punishment than scholastic.

But as it was affirmed not long since, “that no reason could be given why girls should not be whipped in school the same as boys,” I submit the following: 1. Girls are not boysthey are very different from boys. They have moral and physical characteristics that distinguish them, as every parent having children of both sexes in the family must have observed, therefore they should not be whipped the same as boys. 2. Girls are weaker, more sensitive in feeling, and the budding of that nice sense of propriety and delicacy which marks the woman is seen in the little girl. To punish with blows a fragile being with a nature so gentle and affectionate, which leads her instinctively to claim protection is not duty, it is cruelty. 3. The girl is physiologically different-her blood corpuseles is smallerher nervous system is of much more delicate structure, her brain is lighter and her muscles smaller. The reason that keeps her from the rough sports of the play ground should exempt her from being flogged, i. The motto of civilization is “strike not a woman even with a feather.” The little girl is the germ or bud, the woman with fine sensibilities is the full blown rose. If the physical organization of womanhood is sensitive that of the girl is more sensitive, and her spiritual nature doubly so. Flog her! As well flog an angel of light! It is vain to count the blows, or mark their severity, lustily laid on by some unfeeling clown, on her tender and quivering little frame; or even to remember how long she bore the mark, if you do not sympathise witli her in the far sorer wounds that her gentle spirit has received by the infliction. She is mortified and disgraced in her own estimation by that rude flogging in school, so that years may not efface the consequences. Many a sweet little heart has been thus rudely broken, many an over sensitive young life has been thus withered if not wasted. Is it any wonder then, that girl flogging in school arouses the sympathy, stirs the sensibilities, and brings down the censures of the civilized and christian world?