Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 14, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Break with tradition: Old friend, the strap, has been resting peacefully in principals9 desk drawers By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer When the Lethbridge public school board abolished the strap in December, it did not take away a tool of discipline from its schools, it simply broke with a tradition. As attitudes in society became more humanistic during the last few years, discipline in schools became more humane and corporal punishment gradually disappeared. The strap remained in the school mainly because it had been a part of schools as long as desks, chalk and blackboards. And when it was abolished some of the older teachers must have felt they lost an old friend who always came through with firm assistance when a youngster dared to test their patience or performed some, other act of unacceptable behavior. However, very few complained to their principals or the school board about being deprived of what was for years a tool of their trade. Resting peacefully Actually, that old friend has been resting peacefully for at least three years in the desk drawer of the principal's office in most Lethbridge public schools. In a few other schools, it had been lost in the shuffle of change long before the trustees put a ban on it in a December board meeting. A Herald survey of public school principals this week revealed that six schools didn't have a strap in them prior to December, four schools had straps but weren't using them and four schools had straps and were using them occasionally. The strap was used four or five times hi the last two years at the Fleetwood-Bawden School, twice last year at the Galbraith School which averaged between two and four strappings a year, once in five years at the Agnes Davidson School and once two years ago at the Lakeview School. It may have been used occasionally by teachers without the knowledge of the principal but it would have been a rare occurrence because the principal was to be informed of all severe discipline cases and all strappings were supposed to be recorded. Most of the separate schools don't use the strap even though it still is an accepted form of punishment in the separate school system. Cruel students The strap was used in only two of the six separate schools during the last three years, The Herald survey of separate school _ shows. ;The two, schools that.did record strappings Indicated used and when it was used, it was usually for the punishment of students who had been caught being cruel to another student. For example, boys caught molesting a girl. It is difficult to measure how effective the strap may once have been as a deterrent to those contemplating unacceptable behavior in school, but most of the 20 principals interviewed didn't believe it was a deterrent anymore. Only two public school principals reported any change in student attitude since the strap was abolished in December and in both cases the remarks were of the "ha-ha -you can't strap me" nature and only involved two or three students. Fred Cartwright, public school director of pupil personnel services, says no referrals came across his desk and he hasn't heard of any teachers not being able to control students just because corporal punishment was abolished. Alternate methods Dr. Gerry Probe, director of public school personnel, suggests many good teachers may have used the strap in the past, but they must realize it is not acceptable anymore and those who depended on it as a tool of discipline must now seek alternate methods of maintaining acceptable behavior in the classroom. "It requires a change in attitude of teachers toward human he says. Mr. Cartwright says central office personnel such as himself, Dr. Probe and the two psychologists are willing to assist any teacher who needs to seek alternatives to the strap for classroom discipline. The school system is also taking steps to help all teachers deal with discipline- Two special workshops on discipline in the classroom have been held in Lethbridge during the past month. Others were held prior to the school board's decision to abolish corporal punishment frdtn its schools in December. Dr. Probe says that in "the long run" if the efforts of support personnel'are still not able to assist the former strapper maintain discipline in the classroom, it may then be appropriate for that teacher to take another look at himself or herself. Atmosphere If teachers are to be effective, they have to establish an atmosphere in the classroom that is conducive to learning, he feels. This is not the responsibility of central office personnel, he adds. They can only assis't the teacher. Mr. Cartwright quickly supported Dr. Probe.' "There is no way a teacher can opt out of the responsibility of dealing with a child's behavior hi the classroom." It is their responsibility to "find improved methods of handling discipline." Almost all teachers in the public schools have accepted this responsibility and have been handling discipline in a positive manner, both Dr. Probe and Mr. Cartwright were careful to point out. Since the school board's decision to abolish corporal punishment not only eliminates the strap but also pulling of the-hair, pinching, slapping and many other forms of physical abuse, how can a teacher now maintain discipline in the classroom? "I am says Drx Probe, "that the abolishment of corporal punishment is associated with permissiveness. That is not necessarily so." Teachers set limits Dr. Probe says teachers still set limits or standards that give guidance and direction to the type of behavior they expect students to. follow. Teachers must be sure to communicate these standards and the reasons for them to the child, he suggests. He says students must also realize that these standards may change slightly from classroom to classroom. Children want behavior standards, if they are reasonable and fair, claims Dr. Probe. "There is no pat solution to dealing with discipline problems. They differ from human being to human being. They even differ in intensity from person to person." Teachers now have to do more work in eventing and dealing with unacceptable avior because it takes time tojunderstand 'individual problems. .JtfClrtWrlght sayiWteachefrmustknow the type of environment the children come from and any special learning problems each one of them might have developed because of their background and physical condition. Inability to learn the "Unacceptable behavior is usually result of a child's inability to learn." So instead of waiting for the child to "burst out" teachers attempt to work with the child's problems to prevent frustration with school from developing. However, teachers still must face unacceptable student behavior because not all students are assisted before the frustration develops. When severe unacceptable behavior does occur "it is very important for the school and the home to work Dr. Probe suggests. For minor cases of unacceptable behavior, discipline methods such as withdrawing of privileges are very effective, he feels. The Herald survey of local principals found that most public schools are practicing the discipline philosophy expounded by Dr. Probe and Mr. Cartwright, although the methods of handling discipline differ slightly from school to school The same can be said about the separate schools. All the principals indicated that they encourage parents to approach the school about any aspect of their children's education, including discipline. If severe unacceptable behavior is repeated, the parents are usually asked to meet at the school with the principal, the teacher, the student and the school psychologist, if there is one available, in an attempt to find the source of the child's misbehavior. All three high schools in the city claimed that they don't have unacceptable behavior problems. Their main discipline concern is with students who are late for classes and lack motivation to progress in their studies. In both cases, the situation is handled by counselling rather than by disciplinary action. "Most kids are darn good says Reed Erickson, vice-principal of the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute. "You have to go a very long way before you find some kid that is mean and malicious." LCI keeps "pretty accurate records on students" and if a pattern of poor or late attendance shows up, the teacher and counsellors attempt to solve the problem internally. But if they can't and contact with the home is also ineffective the inconsistent attendance usually continues until the students fall far enough behind in their studies that they voluntarily withdraw from the school, Mr. Erickson says. No aggression Jim Anderson, vice-principal of Winston Churchill High School, claims his school has no discipline problems. "It says something about kids today because they don't seem to have the aggression that we had." The greatest problem facing the high school "is getting kids to face reality. They tend to run away from Mr. Anderson says. The school must keep encouraging them to "get real. Be real. Be honest." He estimates that really only about 10 to 15 per cent of high school students have study problems in school. Students in junior high school are more difficult to control than high school students because the younger students are at the age when they begin to question regulations and authority. Some substitute teachers are reluctant to teach in junior high schools because they find it hard to control students of that age when in contact with them for only a short period of time. Kendrick Smith, Hamilton Junior High School principal, says the most effective method of controlling the junior high age group is "to try to get youngsters to respect themselves and the staff." Order preferred He doesn't even like the word discipline. It makes him think of marching feet and the military. He prefers the wotdj'qrder" to describe the atfnbsphere in Hamilton Junior High School.-'Order that is obtained through mutual respect. The school doesn't lock any doors, damage is very minimal and the students don't commit malicious acts, Mr. Smith claims. The school institutes detentions mostly for lack of work and late attendance. If a child is late three times suspension is automatic and is only lifted when the parents bring him or her to school. Parents have been very co-operative, he says. Mr. Smith has never had a strap in the school because he doesn't believe in it. "If I used the cane the memory is of the cane" and not of the wrong doing and the reason why it is not acceptable behavior in the school. Ivan Millar, principal of the Gilbert Paterson School, believes unacceptable behavior is a symptom of a learning problem and should be treated as such. "It is not a disease." He claims discipline is only a problem with about one to three per cent of the student population. Counselling and discussion are by far the most effective methods of solving discipline problems, he says. The school also issues between six and 12 suspensions a year to students who repeatedly fail to meet classroom standards. The school includes Grades 1 to 9. It is now obvious, from the findings of the survey, that the strap no longer fits in the humanistic atmosphere of today's schools. Even the principals who still use the strap wouldn't likely miss it if it were banned from their schools. The school systems in Lethbridge aren't likely to face the confusion of having to order a strap for their schools again for the straps in some schools aren't likely to wear put in most schools it is an unwanted item. Vegetable cash program corrected The provincial department of agriculture Wednesday clarified its new cash incentive grant for vegetable growers in Alberta, limiting the program for growers of fresh product only. Glen Purnell, deputy minister of agriculture, told The Herald in a telephone interview Wednesday be made an error in announcing the cash incentive for both fresh vegetables and processed vegetables. Fresh vegetables are grown for table use while processed vegetables are grown for tbe canning and freezing industries. Dr. Purnell said the level of acreage and price growei's receive for processed vegetables is satisfactory in the eyes of the provincial government Bat the fresh vegetable market needs the additional incentive offered through the new provincial program. Under the program, growers will receive in extra per ton sold for cabbage, carrots, rutabagas and parsnips, per ton for sweet com and per ton for unions. Dr. Purnell said the fl million set aside for the program according to the amount of vegetables giunii is aimed at only the 100 fresh vegetable growers in Alberta. But Rueben Huber of Rosemary, secretary- manager of the Alberta Fresh Vegetable Commission responsible for selling Alberta vegetables, told tbe umunission annual meeting in Lethbridge mat even wittMTO production in tbe six crops included in tbe program, Alberta farmers would receive only about at most This is far below tbe provincial government estimate of The government based tbe expenditure of in the first year of tbe four-year program on an estimated production on acres of land. Mr. Hnber told tbe growers Alberta's vegetable acreage dropped to an all-time low of acres in 1973 from acres in 1972. And be expects tbe acreage of vegetables for tbe fresh market to drop to less than 800 acres in 1974. And this will limit even more severely the benefit accrued to farmers through tbe program, he said. Mr. Hnber said tbe problem of getting adequate labor to work tbe labor-intensive vegetable crops will likely drive some producers out of tbe crop. Add to this the excellent prices for other crops which can be grown in Alberta without labor problems, such as wheat, barley and hay, and tbe outlook for tbe vegetable industry isn't bright, said Mr. Hnber. Vegetable farm labor wage set Alberta vegetable growers Wednesday set in motion a new wage scale for farm labor which they nope will entice more workers into tbe fields. Claiming tbe lack of available labor is endangering tbe future of their indusJiy, tbe farmers planned a system of job classification and rates of pay that would spell out wage opportunities for workers. Tbe classifications were broken into several categories. In tbe two major job classifications, unskilled and skilled, jobs that are seasonal in nature were at tbe bottom of tbe scale. Permanent employment witb extra skills and responsibility were rated higher. College group seeks okay for pub-crawl competition Lethbridge Community College students today were attempting to get last-minute approval of a pub crawl competition from city hotel operators. At least one hotel, The Holiday Inn, gave the students a flat no when asked to participate, Gordon Colledge, LCC information officer, said today. Meanwhile, the Lethbridge Hotel Association decided not to oppose the competition slated for tonight as part of the college's winter carnival activities. Association president John Phillips said operators of the 10 hotel bars in the city had been disturbed that hordes of students would descend on their premises to drink as much as they could. But the college students later said that the teams composed of two men and two women each would spread out among the pubs. And the emphasis was on visiting as many bars as possible, rather than on drinking, Mr. Colledge said. A driver who would not do any drinking was included with each of an estimated dozen teams, he said. "I don't see any objections Mr. Phillips said today. "Let them go ahead and carry it out." But at least one operator disagrees and students were attempting to explain the competition in person to hotels this morning. A city police spokesman said the police would only become involved if a driver broke the traffic laws or one of the competitors became too rowdy. "There isn't much the police can Inspector Max Coupland said today. "If the hotel association goes along with it, I don't see how we enter the picture at all." Insp. Coupland said it was not the police's business if someone wanted to drink beer. The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Thursday, February 14, 1974 SECOND SECTION Pages 15-28 Cupid's day RICK ERVIN photo After a year of resting and making plans, Cupid and his henchmen are out in full force today, letting their St. Valentine's Day messages fall where they may. Lethbridge lovers Geri Knibbs and Jim Henderson appear stricken, but it's obvious they don't really mind. Positive word expected on travel portfolio The executive vice- president of the Southern Alberta Travel and Convention Association is optimistic that Premier Peter Lougheed will react positively to a suggestion that a full-time cabinet minister handle tourism in Alberta. Frank Smith says the idea of a minister is not new, and has been "Advocated by Alberta tourism for some time with no results." "But this time, the supporting statistics which we (south branches) have presented show tourism is a big enough industry to warrant this." He says the industry is now worth slightly over 10 per cent more than all grain crops, in financial figures, and Alberta tourism ranks with the top tourist provinces across Canada all of which have ministers of tourism. At present, Alberta's tourist trade is hi the bands of Bob Dowling, consumer affairs minister, who "has too many other says Mr. Smith. "What we're saying is that tourism has been on the short end because it is not a full- time responsibility, and it definitely needs to says Mr. Smith. The suggestion for a tourist minister, increased public spending on tourist promotion and comprehensive planning has been submitted to the offices of the provincial tourism organization and it Is hoped and expected a pro or con stand will be taken. "If the concensus is pro, then the weight of the 13 other tourist zones will be added and another formalized statement will go onward to the he says. In addition, says Mr. Smith, no one can "sweep it under the rag" as releases have been forwarded to the media so as to keep the general public informed of the situation. Tourism in Alberta contributed million to the 1972 provincial gross national product and the association is calling for an increase in the province's estimated 1973-74 expenditure on tourist promotion. Although Alberta ranked fourth in population, it was sixth in promotional spending and one of three provinces without ministerial management Sportsplex 'right on9 "Everything that's critical is on said Deputy Mayor Vaughan Hembroff Wednesday following a sportsplex committee tour of the Canada Winter Games Sportsplex. "The consultants tell us we can take bookings for Oct. said the deputy mayor who is chairman of the sportsplex committee. He said the major panels on the east and west walls are nearly all up, pouring of the upper seats was to begin today and roofing work win start within the week. most anything is behind is two-to-three be said, "and that's stuff they gave themselves lead time on. The stuff that needs to be on time is on time." "There's sure going to be lots of room and lots of usefulness in it" The deputy mayor said a full report on the progress of the sportsplex, financing and further contracts that need to be let will go to city council's next meeting Feb. 25. He also said the sportsplex committee has not yet received a statement of needs from the Lethbridge Community College, which may be the major user of the facility. The college agreed in November to see what programs it could fit into toe sportsplex and to then let the committee know its time requirements for use of tne facility. MFC thwarts pop shop An attempt by Green's Pop Shop Ltd. to move from its ctamped quarters at 546 13tb St. N. to 524 13th St N. was thwarted by tbe Municipal Planning Commission Wednesday. The planning commission turned down an application by Waines Industry to build a store for Green's at that address, which is now part of tbe parking lot for tbe Town and Country furniture store, owned by Waines.