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and has been there some time, if he should commit an act of misbehavior which would have a direct and immediate tendency to injure the school and to subvert the master's authority, he may be punished for it in school the next day. The misbehavior must not have merely a remote and indirect tendency to injure the school. All improper conduct or language may perhaps have, by influence and example, a remote tendency of that kind. But the tendency of the acts so done out of the teacher's supervision, for which he may punish, must be direct and immediate in their bearing upon the welfare of the school, or the authority of the master and the respect due him. Cases may readily be supposed which lie very near the line, and it will often be difficult to distinguish between the acts which have such an immediate and those which have such a remote tendency.
Hence each case must be determined by its peculiar circumstances. Acts done to deface or injure the school-room, to destroy the books of scholars, or the books or apparatus for instruction, or the instruments of punishment of the master; language used to other scholars to stir up disorder and insubordination, or heap odium or disgrace upon the master; writings and pictures placed so as to suggest evil and corrupt language, images, and thoughts to the youth who must frequent the school; all such or similar acts tend directly to impair the usefulness of the school, the welfare of the scholars, and the authority of the master. By common consent, and by the universal custom in our New-England schools, the master has always been deemed to have the right to punish such offenses, (even though, as in the present case, they are committed out of school hours.) Such power is essential to the preservation of order, decency, decorum, and good government in schools. (Lander v. Seaver, 32 Vermont R. 120.) We cite the foregoing authority with the utmost confidence, and believe it to be entirely correct. But even though the teacher's right to punish for misbehavior on the way to and from school is fully established in point of law, yet, on account of the opposition which it meets with in some localities, we think that it should be exercised only when it appears to be absolutely necessary for the welfare of the school; nor then, except upon the most mature reflection and with the utmost discretion. A teacher may refuse entirely to exercise this right; and he will probably fare better, even in the courts, than if he had adopted the other course and laid himself liable by exercising the right unnecessarily or indiscreetly. The intelligent and conscientious teacher, however, who sees the necessity and acts from good motives and with discretion, need not be deterred from doing his duty, even to the extent of exercising all his rights—this particular one not excepted -and he need not fear the consequences. For as he will have done but his duty, the courts of justice will protect him from harm--the most able by fully justifying his acts, and the less enlightened by fining him “one cent, and without costs."
SEC. 8. Pupils shall be considered under the government of their teachers while going to and returning
from, as well as when in, the school-room. (By-Laws of Md. Comrs. 1865, p. 20.) The jurisdiction and authority of the teacher over the pupil is neither limited by the school-house walls nor to the time the school is actually in session. As a general rule, in all matters legitimately connected with the schools and the manners and morals of the scholars, the teacher's jurisdiction commences when pupils leave the parental roof and control to go to school, and continues until their return from school. The teacher, however, is not responsible for the misconduct of pupils on the way to and from school, though he has the right to punish for such misconduct when brought to his knowledge. (Pa. School Laws and Dec. 1866, p. 74.)
It was the intention of the Legislature to make the public schools a system of moral training as well as seminaries of learning; and it is as necessary in the anreserved intercourse of pupils of the same school, as well without as within its precincts, to preserve the pure-minded, ingenuous, and unsuspecting children of both sexes from the contaminating influence of those of depraved sentiments and vicious propensities and habits, as from those infected with contagious diseases. Consequently, when a teacher expelled a scholar for her immoral practices while at home evenings, his action was sustained by the committee, and afterward by the court, although no fault whatever had been found with the girl's conduct in school. (Sherman v. The Inhabitants of Charlestown, 8 Cush. R. 164.)
SEC. 9. The following positions, as general rules, in reference to the control which a teacher may legally exercise over his pupils in respect to time and place, are, we believe, fully sustained in law :
1. In the school-room the teacher has the exclusive control and supervision of his pupils, subject only to such regulations and directions as may be prescribed or given by the school committee.
2. The conduct of the pupils on any part of the premises connected with the school-house, or in the immediate vicinity of the same, (the pupils being thus virtually under the care and oversight of the teacher,) whether within the regular school hours or before or after them, is properly cognizable by the teacher. And any disturbances made by them, or offenses committed by them, within this range, injuriously affecting in any way the interests of the school, may clearly be the subject of reproof and correction by the teacher.
3. In regard to what transpires by the way in going to or returning from school, the authority of the teacher may be regarded as concurrent with that of the parent. So far as offenses are concerned for which the pupils committing them would be amenable to the laws, such as larcenies, trespasses, etc., which come more particularly within the category of crimes against the State, it is the wisest course generally for the teacher (whatever may be his legal power) to let the offenders pass into the hands of judicial or parental authority for discipline and punishment. And it is never worth while for teachers to exercise any doubtful authority, as they may thereby involve themselves in controversies with parents and others, and expose themselves to the liability of being harassed by a prosecution at law.
But'as to any misdemeanors of which the pupils are guilty in passing between the school-house and their homes, which directly and injuriously affect the good order and government of the school, and the right training of the scholars, such as truancy, willful tardiness, quarreling with other children, the use of indecent and profane language, etc., there can be no doubt that these come within the jurisdiction of the teacher, and are properly matters for discipline in the school.
4. Teachers may, at their discretion, detain scholars a reasonable time after the regular school hours, for the purposes connected with the discipline, order, or instruction of the school. This practice has been sanctioned by general and immemorial usage among our schools, and by the authority and consent of school committees, expressed or implied, and has been found exceedingly useful in its influence and results. (Hooker.)