Questions from a prospective St James parent

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
St James 70s & 80s

Postby St James 70s & 80s » Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:28 pm

Considering the position Katharine Watson has taken on this board with regard to the abuses of the past, I was somewhat surprised to read her article in praise of Mr Debenham in the latest edition of Spectrum, the St James magazine.

This is the final paragraph:

"But all of us over this past few days had occasion to reflect that our lives have been touched, and in many cases transformed, by the presence of a very great man. And we all recognise that things will never be quite the same again. Men of his mould are very rare - increasingly so perhaps. He is at once a true Christian gentleman, a profoundly educated, humane and civilised human being, a polymath, a great teacher, and a man of deep wisdom. All of us at St James love and honour him more than words can say."

Is this really an honest description of a man who presided over a regime of violence and bullying and was personally responsible for beating so many children?

dan
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debenham

Postby dan » Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:02 pm

I think there must be a case of mistaken identity here, or some serious brainwashing
Dan

sparkss

Eulogy: Katharine, forgive me if I disagree with you

Postby sparkss » Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:47 pm

Dear Katharine,

Yes, I have reflected often over the years on how greatly this man touched my life and the lives of many others.

He touched my life very directly. He beat me. I use the word 'beat' deliberately? as he did when, towering over me, grasping his cane in one hand and blowing steadily into the clenched fist of his other, he passed sentence? ?I am going to beat you BOY?. (He never used the term 'cane' - he preferred 'beat'). I was 8 years old. Why did he beat me? For lying, stealing, cheating or bullying? NO. Nicholas Debenham beat me many times over the years, but never for any of these officially prescribed offences.

As an 8 year old I received a beating because I spoke. I spoke to a classmate whilst washing my hands in the toilets. I spoke on a day that this "man of great wisdom" had decreed that no child should speak for the duration of the day.

This profoundly civilised man showed no humanity as he applied 'the hand of discipline' to mould his young charge. He beat us into shape; he beat out any resistance, any ounce of personality, and any expression of individuality. Yes he was a fine artisan this Christian gentleman.

As for the ?Hand of Love?? This wonky pot never saw it. Love? Love? In that place? Never. It was a cold, brutal, institution, presided over by the self-righteous - those who could do no wrong. Debenham like his serfs was blind to his hypocrisy and ignorant of his own failings. His was a regime of fear. It was also a regime of high farce ? one could only laugh (in private of course) at the shear lunacy of many of his pronouncements. His misogyny and blinkered view of the world was breathtaking, matched only by his arrogance. I have met many arrogant men since but none have even come close to him.

This polymath, this great teacher taught me one thing and one thing only: respect has to be earned; those who demand respect are rarely worthy of it.

Yes, things will never be quite the same again. Men of his mould are rare, and may they become rarer still - for the sake of other children, that they should be spared what we went through.

So Katharine, forgive me if I disagree with you, not all of us at St James love and honour him more than words can say.

Kind Regards

PS: I believe that the ?Hand of discipline and the Hand of Love? are now available on video courtesy of the Education Renaissance Trust ? perhaps I could purchase a copy?

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:59 pm

Anonymous wrote:
Do you really want your children taught by people who only restrain themselves from viciously assaulting them simply because the law might punish them for doing so?


since when could you read minds? how do you know they still think like that?

I don't know that they think like that. However, given the history of abuse of the particular teachers I referred to, it would be dangerous to assume otherwise. Mr Lacey and Mr Southwell were two of the most violent teachers at St Vedast (and that's saying something!) yet they have never expressed any regret for the way that they behaved or even acknowledged that they behaved abusively. Unless and until they do so, I'll continue to believe that they are violent thugs who should not be allowed to teach children. What was it these people used to teach us? Something about always telling the truth, I think......

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Postby Daffy » Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:44 am

St James 70s & 80s wrote:Considering the position Katharine Watson has taken on this board with regard to the abuses of the past, I was somewhat surprised to read her article in praise of Mr Debenham in the latest edition of Spectrum, the St James magazine.

This is the final paragraph:

"But all of us over this past few days had occasion to reflect that our lives have been touched, and in many cases transformed, by the presence of a very great man. And we all recognise that things will never be quite the same again. Men of his mould are very rare - increasingly so perhaps. He is at once a true Christian gentleman, a profoundly educated, humane and civilised human being, a polymath, a great teacher, and a man of deep wisdom. All of us at St James love and honour him more than words can say."


This description is so ridiculous that I tried to verify it on the web, without success. 'St James 70s & 80s', if it's not too much trouble to type would it be possible for you to post the text of the whole article here? (I don't know how long it is.)

Katherine,

The only part of your description that I recognised was "Men of his mould are very rare - increasingly so perhaps". Of course they are, at least in the world of children's education, and THANK GOD FOR THAT! The rest of your sycophantic eulogy is frankly quite disgusting to those of us who suffered a decade or more of abuse from Debenham.

I don't know whether you wrote these words before your short-lived participation on this forum, but your description has completely destroyed any credibility you had, or any sense that you really cared about the abuses directly perpetrated by this evil man.

Maybe I was a little premature to think that you weren't being given a fair hearing by some of the other contributors to this forum. Maybe I was a little gullible to believe, from your posts on this forum, that you represented an attempt to break from the past.

Anyone who is thinking of taking up (or has already taken up) Katherine Watson's offer to talk directly with her should treat her views with the scepticism that such revisionism deserves. Anyone who thinks that the school has changed should read this forum and consider the cruelties that Debenham personally inflicted. Then ask yourself whether you want to entrust the care of your children to someone who thinks that this sadistic, utterly cold-hearted man is 'a true Christian gentleman, a humane and civilised human being'.
Last edited by Daffy on Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby a different guest » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:47 am

and I don't think Katherine ever did answer my direct question re her husband's involvement in the SES.

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Postby adrasteia » Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:39 am

I am not supporting what Katherine has written, but would suggest that as the editor - I think she's still the editor anyway- of 'The Spectrum' she has to be seen to tow the party line and may have been asked to write this article in praise of 'the great man', she may have enthused without meaning a word of it- the spectrum is full of such articles. In this case I feel it is a shame that she doesn't feel able to stand up for what she believes, ie. refuse to write the article herself- the SES influence at work.
However, if she does believe what she has said in the article then I've for one have definately been wrong about her position. Maybe I was mis-reading her posts?

And Yet Another Guest!

Postby And Yet Another Guest! » Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:13 pm

"a very great man...is at once a true Christian gentleman, a profoundly educated, humane and civilised human being, a polymath, a great teacher, and a man of deep wisdom."

Oh Katherine!!!! How CAN you say that of him given what you know about his record, as detailed on these boards?!?!

You are a disgrace, you should hang your head.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:23 pm

Just to say that I wrote this reply. Something went wrong with my log in.

Tom
Anonymous wrote:
Anonymous wrote:
Do you really want your children taught by people who only restrain themselves from viciously assaulting them simply because the law might punish them for doing so?


since when could you read minds? how do you know they still think like that?

I don't know that they think like that. However, given the history of abuse of the particular teachers I referred to, it would be dangerous to assume otherwise. Mr Lacey and Mr Southwell were two of the most violent teachers at St Vedast (and that's saying something!) yet they have never expressed any regret for the way that they behaved or even acknowledged that they behaved abusively. Unless and until they do so, I'll continue to believe that they are violent thugs who should not be allowed to teach children. What was it these people used to teach us? Something about always telling the truth, I think......

Tom Grubb
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Two simple questions to Katharine Watson

Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:28 pm

Two simple question to Katharine Watson:
1) Did you write the eulogy to Mr Debenham that has been attributed to you?
2) Do you stand by it?

Tom

sparkss

eulogy

Postby sparkss » Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:47 pm

Re my reference to eulogy:

Perhaps for the sake of accuracy I should point out that Katharine's piece was'nt a eulogy - as far as I know the great man is still alive and kicking!

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Re: eulogy

Postby Daffy » Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:31 am

sparkss wrote:Re my reference to eulogy:

Perhaps for the sake of accuracy I should point out that Katharine's piece was'nt a eulogy - as far as I know the great man is still alive and kicking!

Re my own reference to 'eulogy', it was deliberate - you don't have to be dead to be eulogised! (see definition at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=eulogy)

Mr. Bob

Had enough yet?

Postby Mr. Bob » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:29 am

Hello [please read my whole contribution, so as not to pass premature judgments]
I don't know whether to laugh or to cry at what I've read tonight. It has truly been a roller coaster of adventure, a sort of corkscrew motion, because it makes you feel a bit sick whilst giving you a rush at the same time, you're not quite sure whether you like it or not! Anyway sorry to waffle a bit, its so hard to actually just write something as its scary to think how it might be interpreted after witnessing what's happened to previous contributors. Anyway I think you need to give credit where it' due- regardless of whether you agree with Dr. Watson or not I think you need to "cut her some slack." As you probably know she is a teacher, and is no doubt very busy with things, however she has taken the time to try and hear you guys out. She doesn't need to come on here and deal with all the grief she's received recently, but she does, or has at least. I?m not surprised she's had enough. Every time she tries to say something, which is undoubtedly meant with good intention, she is insulted or slandered by people who frankly appear like they are just looking to stir up trouble. Now I know personally coming on here and sticking up for anyone is a risky manoeuvre and in a few days there will be no doubt someone on here attempting to pick apart my argument, taking things out of context and perhaps even going away and digging up anything that may support you argument, although Mr. Hipshon (now Dr. Hipshon) would be very impressed at these research skills, it's not really that fair. For this I fear leaving any details of my own and I am even too afraid to leave my name in fear that you may find some tedious link or something on me that displays some sort of bias towards Mr. Debenham or the SES or St James.
Dr Watson's views on Mr. Debenham are out with what you have said, you have your opinion of him based on your experiences and she has done likewise. You seem to be somewhat frustrated by her actions (I understand this whole process is very frustrating as it takes a lot of energy and effort and achieves very little at the end of the day), as if you were betrayed. It's not as if she thought "oh i know what will really get on those whyaretheydead.net contributors' nerves, is if I go away and write this article on Mr. Debenham. As I said it's her opinion and you (all) have your own, its unfair for us to expect people to be influenced by other people's opinion and it's even harder when it's people we trust. So I would ask you to stop being so petty and insulting her simply because of her beliefs, as it is not up to you to judge her, or anybody for that matter.
Also, to those who urge others not to speak to Dr. Watson or to remember that she is supposedly mendacious and unreliable, I would like to ask you if you have ever met her, or if you would ever considering doing so? I think one of the best ways to deal with this problem would be to have everyone meet and talk about this as it seems to be a serious problem. I have doubts of the success of it, however after seeing the disarray of this message board (which as a matter of fact is working on an anti scientology webpage, which seems actually crazy to think that you guys don?t even have your own website but leech off another website to expand your topic/s). I don't mean to be too harsh in that previous statement, i simply mean to suggest that you organise your own website, I believe there is an actual anti SES webpage that seems a more appropriate place to host this than here. (if that's not possible why not get your own webpage?) Anyway back to my point- I have heard that some F.P.'s like yourselves met with their former teachers and have discussed this, with many of them actually apologising. I don't know whether this could be deemed acceptable, but I would like to think at least some of you would like to try.
Ultimately I don't find any of this very constructive either and as one of the topics asks, "what do you hope to achieve by all this?" And I'm unsure what I would say If i were in your position, mostly because I?m not in it, but apart from perhaps making yourself feel better (in the short-term) by posting an angered remark on this board, you are achieving next to nothing.
I hope the enquiry does take place and we find out what was going on back in the "70's & 80's of St. James." I the think people's views that we have available are VERY extreme. You have those who will testify that Nicholas Debenham was a great man, and those who will swear that he was a brutal tyrant. Whatever the outcome I will be interested to see people's reactions as well as the verdict itself, not that I?m too sure what exactly the investigation would on, as in its title or focus. I think it will be a colossal problem to deal with thoroughly and effectively (also without prejudice).
I'm now going to leave it there, as Im very tired and have many other things to do, please note though, that I do find it important.- I will try to check back over the weekend, I would give out my email address but as Dr. Watson mentioned you come to fear what people might do after witnessing the anger of some people here. Not that you are not justified in what you feels as a result of your experiences!
But best wished to all and regardless of your opinion on this subject I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
- A current St James Pupil (with no association with the SES whatsoever)
P.s. Im not Boddy either!

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Re: Had enough yet?

Postby mgormez » Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:45 am

Mr. Bob wrote:I have doubts of the success of it, however after seeing the disarray of this message board (which as a matter of fact is working on an anti scientology webpage, which seems actually crazy to think that you guys don?t even have your own website but leech off another website to expand your topic/s). I don't mean to be too harsh in that previous statement, i simply mean to suggest that you organise your own website, I believe there is an actual anti SES webpage that seems a more appropriate place to host this than here.


This website is over 1 gigabyte in size and has scientology as its maintopic, but many other groups are taken a closer look at as well. Tens if not hundreds of groups and social issues. You won't find this archive for example anywhere else
http://www.whyaretheydead.net/misc/Factnet/factnet.html


Why this forum is here is because I never intended to start a forum and least of all a debating place on the SES. But as I already had the most comprehensive anti SES webpage for years with good ranking and regular emails from people seeking information, ranging from former students to journalists, and I didn't feel like spending money for yet another website, I choose to use the space here where my tiny first forum was laucned -- currenlty the overwhelming majority of postings is in relation to SES. It is my offer to host it and I certainly don't consider it leeching. Of course anyone is free to take their conversation to anywhere else if they so wish.
Mike Gormez

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Postby a different guest » Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:03 pm

Mike - you have no need to defend yourself. This accusation of "Leeching" is the post pathetic attempt of defending the SES I am yet to see.


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