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BOTD 7/10/13 "Michael And The Late Night Alarm" A Squarecutter Production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
MICHAEL AND THE LATE NIGHT ALARM
A Squarecutter Production



You are headmaster at a boarding prep school (boys 8 -13) in England. At 11:30 one night, well after all the boys' bedtimes, the fire alarm went off. You and matron and another resident master toured the dormitories ensuring boys followed the drill and got the boys outside the building in dressing gowns and blankets while the fire brigade were called. Eventually, after checks were made and roll call taken, the all clear was given and the boys were hustled back to their beds, some thinking it a great jape, others an attack on their beauty sleep.

You decide that at assembly you will invite the culprit to own up or the school will do detention on the next Wednesday afternoon which is usually given to team matches against other schools and classes finish at lunchtime. Of course the cricket matches will be cancelled; a matter of serious concern to most of the boys.

You suggest the boy concerned visit your study at morning break and at that time 11 year old Michael visits you and confesses.



MICHAEL - 11
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This does pose a problem on two counts. While you use caning and slippering, you try your best to confine the use of the cane to boys in the top two years which Michael won't reach till next term. This is something you discussed with the Chairman of Governors. You really do think this is a caning matter. Problem two is Michael is the grandson of the Chairman of Governors. While you have been told that he should be treated like every other boy, does the serious nature of this offence allow you to make an example of him? Typically six of the best would be maximum but it is not an absolute limit.

Do you cane or slipper, if so how much and should the Chairman of Governors be consulted?

Michael, by the way, is a typical boy of his age who has taken his slipperings well and usually his mischiefs are minor ones.



Last edited by David M. Katz on Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:05 pm; edited 2 times in total


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AFinch


Sherrif
At 11, he is "near enough" the appropriate term (a matter of a few months it sounds like). Being saved by the clock doesn't seem likely given the times.

As Grandson of the Chairman of Governors, he should be setting an example rather than receiving special privileges, and his grandfather has already specifically indicated that's how he wishes young Michael to be treated.

Six of the best seems appropriate. He ought not to be punished MORE severely because of who he is, but he also should not get off lightly. If an "example must be made" of him, the caning might take place at an assembly rather than in private.

Padraig


Trailboss
If this is a more serious matter than the usual things I have to deal with a consultation with the chairman will not hurt. If he doesn't ask I will not tell who the culprit is.

For a first time I think six will do.

John Boy


Sherrif
It is serious enough, Six of the best with the cane.

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1strappedboy


Sherrif
I am not going to permit who Mike is related to determine his disposition.

If grandpa and the rest of the governors ok the cane then this is surely a behavior that warrants its use.

The only 'mercy' I'm prepared to grant is, because of his age, the 6 won't be 'of the best' but they will certainly be zingers!!

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I detest using this sort of blackmail to extort a confession. I consider it ethically dubious, and it places me in the uncomfortable position of having my pupils demonstrate a finer sense of honor than I have. Frankly, I'm not sure I trust a confession obtained in this manner isn't simply one kid willing to martyr himself for the sake of his friends (and the resulting gratitude and popularity that follow).

Furthermore, the trouble with bending my own policies, even if they are not written, is that it becomes more and more difficult to know where to draw a line. Michael is not in the top two years, and next term only just finds him eligible for the cane. How far will I stretch a point next time I have a serious incident but with a boy even younger? If I've decided to limit the cane to older pupils, I presumably have sound reasons for doing so. All age-related guidelines are somewhat arbitrary, but they typically reflect some general qualities of the group, such as physical and emotional developmental. If I did step out of the guidelines, I would be more inclined to delay caning an older boy I felt wasn't ready than promoting a younger boy to the cane, as I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Michael's relation to the Chairman of Governors makes no difference whatsoever. Deciding the punishment is my responsibility. In this situation, consulting with the Chairman is unfair to Michael and his grandfather, as he is likely to urge me to be more severe. I'm inclined to give Michael the maximum number of strokes I'm allowed with the slipper. I think that is adequate punishment for the offense and I still retain the option of caning a younger boy in a case when the only alternative would be expulsion.

Kat

David M. Katz


Marshall
Kat wrote:I detest using this sort of blackmail to extort a confession. I consider it ethically dubious, and it places me in the uncomfortable position of having my pupils demonstrate a finer sense of honor than I have. Frankly, I'm not sure I trust a confession obtained in this manner isn't simply one kid willing to martyr himself for the sake of his friends (and the resulting gratitude and popularity that follow).

Furthermore, the trouble with bending my own policies, even if they are not written, is that it becomes more and more difficult to know where to draw a line. Michael is not in the top two years, and next term only just finds him eligible for the cane. How far will I stretch a point next time I have a serious incident but with a boy even younger? If I've decided to limit the cane to older pupils, I presumably have sound reasons for doing so. All age-related guidelines are somewhat arbitrary, but they typically reflect some general qualities of the group, such as physical and emotional developmental. If I did step out of the guidelines, I would be more inclined to delay caning an older boy I felt wasn't ready than promoting a younger boy to the cane, as I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Michael's relation to the Chairman of Governors makes no difference whatsoever. Deciding the punishment is my responsibility. In this situation, consulting with the Chairman is unfair to Michael and his grandfather, as he is likely to urge me to be more severe. I'm inclined to give Michael the maximum number of strokes I'm allowed with the slipper. I think that is adequate punishment for the offense and I still retain the option of caning a younger boy in a case when the only alternative would be expulsion.

Kat

See, if you just wait long enough Kat will chime in with an answer that can be stolen thereby saving lots of typing. Laughing 


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Iconoclast


Trailboss
Kat wrote:I detest using this sort of blackmail to extort a confession. I consider it ethically dubious, and it places me in the uncomfortable position of having my pupils demonstrate a finer sense of honor than I have. Frankly, I'm not sure I trust a confession obtained in this manner isn't simply one kid willing to martyr himself for the sake of his friends (and the resulting gratitude and popularity that follow).

Kat


Especially as Mike is the logical boy to make a false confession!

Iconoclast

1strappedboy


Sherrif
ARGH!!!

Leave it to our Kat to display a higher level of fairness/evolution than the rest of the 'teeming masses'!!!

Where was this higher being when I was boy either on my way to the barn at home or 'on the carpet' in school?!?

Jack


Admin
I wasn't going to answer this, because I wasn't sure I wanted to say what Kat did.  However, since he did say it, I'll just say ditto.

The only place I'll disagree is to say that Micheal's relation does have an effect on the situation, at least possibly. Possibly he hoped his relation would get him off without the threatened caning. Elsewise, maybe he's been being tweeted about his grandfather's position, and so is doing this as a way to look better.

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ivor


Marshall
Kat sets a fine example Smile 

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Padraig


Trailboss
o.k. o.k..... you're right Embarassed  Wink 

MemoryMan


Sherrif
Kat wrote:I detest using this sort of blackmail to extort a confession. I consider it ethically dubious, ............ Kat

I join the Kat consensus too -- but must comment that although I have never experienced this tactic in a whole school situation it was fairly common in a class situation in the 30's & 40's when I was at school.

Quite cunning it was really; because except on extremely rare occasions (none that I can bring to mind) it was virtually fail-safe since it was nigh on impossible for a culprit to have remained truly incognito.  The usual punishment imposed was a deferred class detention allowing ample time for the application of peer pressure; and if that failed and the detention did actually happen nobody would grass but there was an absolute certainty that summary justice would be executed later.

Normally the threat  ........... "or the whole class will be punished" resulted in an instant, if reluctant, admission admission of guilt.

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squarecutter


Sherrif
Odious as the method was it got results but I don't think it snared any innocent victims . It played on the innate nature of boys wanting to 'do the right thing.'

I think Michael would be getting 4 -6 with the cane in the study after giving Grandpa a heads up which decision he would have no difficulty rubber stamping. I am equally sure Michael would want it no other way.. There will be no neesd to carry this out in public. Most of Michaels class mates will know anyway and will be sympathetic, especially if Michael lets them see the 'damage' later!

Pi Beta


Deputy
Since it normally needs a heavy object to break the glass to release the fire alarm button to set it off, I'm going to ask him about how he set off the alarm. I'm suspicious that he may have been leaned on to confess when not actually guilty, the other boys reasoning that I may well go easier on him than others and knowing that he is under age for the cane. I want him to show me which of the alarms he set off - I know which one it was; does he?

I want more than just an "I did it," before I punish him for this. Yes, he's going to be punished whatever - either for setting off the alarm or for making a false confession - 4 with the gymshoe clothed as is if the false confession, 6 with the gymshoe in his pyjamas at bedtime if I'm certain he set it off. He can suffer all day wondering what he will get since I won't tell him in advance whether I'm going to be using the cane or gymshoe.

If it is a false confession, the detention remains in place until I do get the true culprit. The fact that his grandfather is chairman of the governors must not influence his punishment and I'm not going to bend the rules.

David M. Katz


Marshall
scratch   Hmmm . . .

No one has mentioned his sloppy appearance.  The wrinkled shirt, loose tie, untucked shirt and slouchy shorts are a concern.  And, where are his shoes?

Regardless if he is guilty of pulling the alarm we will need to "discuss" his personal appearance. Twisted Evil

What would his grandfather have to say if he saw a lad so attired wandering my hallowed halls?


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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Dave, that comment has me reminiscing about our "mmsa should be of the British School tradition" troll. Have you had a visit from him/her/it recently?

David M. Katz


Marshall
1strappedboy wrote:Dave, that comment has me reminiscing about our "mmsa should be of the British School tradition" troll.  Have you had a visit from him/her/it recently?

Not a word since, but my "regular troll" was back to ridicule "Spanking In Dixie." I had sort of missed him/her. Laughing 


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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Well if nothing else, it's good to know that he/she/it is still following your stories! Hey, l'll take readers however they come!!study 

Stone Man


Marshall
Pi Beta wrote:Since it normally needs a heavy object to break the glass to release the fire alarm button to set it off, I'm going to ask him about how he set off the alarm. I'm suspicious that he may have been leaned on to confess when not actually guilty, the other boys reasoning that I may well go easier on him than others and knowing that he is under age for the cane. I want him to show me which of the alarms he set off - I know which one it was; does he?

I want more than just an "I did it," before I punish him for this. Yes, he's going to be punished whatever - either for setting off the alarm or for making a false confession - 4 with the gymshoe clothed as is if the false confession, 6 with the gymshoe in his pyjamas at bedtime if I'm certain he set it off. He can suffer all day wondering what he will get since I won't tell him in advance whether I'm going to be using the cane or gymshoe.

If it is a false confession, the detention remains in place until I do get the true culprit. The fact that his grandfather is chairman of the governors must not influence his punishment and I'm not going to bend the rules.

I can go along with this answer as it takes into account many of the questions I had while reading the scenario.

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