Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

School Can Sometimes Be A[euro][approximately]unreasonable'

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

School Can Sometimes Be A[euro][approximately]unreasonable'

Article excerpt

LIKE most people, the cartoonist and I were horrified by the evidence that came out of the Royal Commission hearings on the abuse of young girls at a Catholic school in Toowoomba.

Both of us are products of the Catholic education system but our memories of school years are far more pleasant than what those poor victims and their families have been left with.

We went through the system when the Christian Brothers were in charge.

The Brothers have endured their fare share of negative media over the years too, which is a shame because most of them were good people.

Hardly a schoolmate's reunion goes by without us reminiscing about the good old days under the guidance of the Brothers and lay teachers.

Strangely, most of the stories that have us laughing the most are those about getting into trouble and/or copping the odd strap or two.

Ours was a particularly unruly class which would have tested the resolve of St Mother Teresa.

While plenty of people are horrified that school kids in days gone by were subjected to the strap, those of us who went through it don't seem to be scarred by it, and personally I hardly ever received a whack I didn't deserve and I know I got away with far more.

Maybe it's that discipline that has seen some of my classmates grow into leading business people today - one is even a heart specialist.

I say I "hardly" ever copped a whack I didn't deserve, because to this day among my schoolboy memories is one belting which I found "unreasonable".

It was near the end of school in late November during final exams.

Because of the timing of the exams, our class was pretty well free to come and go as we pleased.

Now, this particular day was pretty warm (global warming must have started earlier than we thought).

A group of us decided a dip in the school swimming pool would just be just the thing and I was elected spokesman to get permission to use the pool.

I got on pretty well with the head Brother who gave his permission.

Soon into our splash, I noticed a snivelly nosed Year 8er sneak into the pool area, then run back to class. …

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