§ MR. KELLY (Camberwell, N.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a case, heard before Mr. Lushington, at the Clerkenwell Police Court, on the 15th instant, in which it was proved that the head mistress of the Penton Street Board School, Pentonville, had, in the discharge of her duty, kept a child in school, and that an elder sister of this child, who had been sent to bring her little sister home, had knocked the mistress down, when the latter had ordered the child to go back to the corner into which she had been sent, and in which case Mr. Lushington, though informed that, by the Rules of the School Board, the mistress could only have punished the child by keeping her in, gave it as his opinion that the mistress had no right to detain the child when the mother had sent for it, and that the mistress had not been so grievously assaulted as she had sworn to have been the case, and had decided to do no more in the case than require the defendant's mother to become surety in £5 for the defendant's keeping the peace for six months; whether he is aware that such is not the first case in which Mr. Lushington has treated complaints of a similar character by board school teachers; and, whether he can give the House any assurance that he will at an early date introduce some measure for the better protection of all Government certificated and fully qualified teachers in public elementary schools?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have received a Report from Mr. Lushington on the case from the Penton Street 134 School, in which he informs me that, in his opinion, it was at least doubtful whether the schoolmistress was within her legal rights in insisting that the child should not be taken home upon the mother's order. The defendant was 14 years of age, but did not look so old; and the magistrate felt a difficulty in deciding what punishment would be suitable for so young a female culprit. He considered, on the whole, that the another's recognizance for her good behaviour would be the most appropriate determination of the matter. I have no reason to believe that the law presses hardly on school teachers, and I think it can be left to the discretion of the magistrates to protect them in the exercise of their duty; but I shall be happy to consider any suggestions of my hon. Friend.