Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police Drop Case of Boy in Clamp

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police Drop Case of Boy in Clamp

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hugh Macknight

Teachers accused of using a "diabolical" Victorian finger clamp to punish an eight-year-old boy will not face prosecution.

Police child protection officers were called in after the boy was left in his headmaster's office with his fingers jammed in wooden blocks.

The "wooden finger stool" was on loan to the school from the education authority's historical archive to display the cruel techniques employed by the Victorians to stop children fidgeting.

But the blocks were brought into use to detain the boy - who had snapped the point off a pencil.

His stepfather claimed the boy had been detained in the head's office during morning, lunch and afternoon break with his hands clamped behind his back like a prisoner.

Outraged Scott Meikle, 36, who did not want to name his stepson, marched into the education authority's offices and demanded an explanation. He then called in the police.

He said: "The blocks had been brought into school to help with history projects but at the time they were used on our son he was in a maths lesson.

"These things were taken into the school to teach the children about the bizarre punishments handed out in Victorian times.

"We look back on those days and pity the children who had to suffer such things.

"To actually use those methods on a child in 2003 is absolutely diabolical."

Durham Police took the boy and his seven-year-old sister, who saw the incident, to interview suites.

The children were questioned separately and gave identical accounts of the incident at Sherburn Hill Primary School, County Durham, on September 17.

Mr Meikle, of Haswell Plough, County Durham, said: "He accidentally broke the point off a pencil and went for another one, which was stuck together with Blu-tack.

"It split in half and one of the other children told the class teacher what had happened.

"She called our son from his seat and put the wooden blocks on his fingers. …

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