Cloakroom 'Supervision' at St James.

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.

Were you ever watched by a teacher whilst showering?

Yes
20
91%
No
2
9%
 
Total votes: 22

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Keir
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Cloakroom 'Supervision' at St James.

Postby Keir » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:20 pm

It was standard practice in the boys school (and I believe in the girls school too) for a teacher to supervise the changing room and showering of pupils after sport.

It would be interesting to know what those teachers had been told about how to supervise young people, but I dont think staring at them whilst they were showering (under the pretext of ensuring they wash the mud off) and spot inspections of their nude bodies on exit from the shower was ever designed to make pupils feel respected, secure or comfortable.

I can remember at the time it was deeply resented by all pupils, and as an adult I think that it raises questions about one or two staff members motivation and an appalling insensitivity to the emotional welfare of the pupils in their care.

I am curious if any of the girls raised the issue with their parents and what response was forthcoming.

I am also interested if any of these experiences made it in to statements to the enquiry.

It is one of those things that you had no choice to accept whilst at the school, but looking back was deeply wrong on so many levels.

chrisdevere
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Postby chrisdevere » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:38 pm

Yep Mr mathews was the worst! (A confirmed batchelor), he was particularly keen on you using lots of soap between your legs when showering. He and Farndell would also on occasion slipper you when naked in the changing room. Showers at sarum chase were also always freezing cold. Also used as a punishment. Standing under a freezing cold shower in winter for ten minutes.
Christopher de Vere
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daska
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Postby daska » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:15 pm

Wasn't any better at the girls schools!

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:28 pm

Hi daska,

Did you ever complain about it to your parents, or was it just another thing that you thought they would ignore?

The pervasive culture was such that I know I often ended up thinking that it really was me being a moaning minnie if I did complain, as well as the reaction that you were exagerating if you ever told your parents.

I didn't say anything about it to the enquiry, simply because like so many things it was just part of the experience of St J/V. But the part of the inquiry report that states that there was categorically no sexual abuse made me wonder whether it was there but excused away as being part of the 'rigorous cleanliness' idea. Yet again it was a few teachers taking advantage/misusing a directive. And yet again it was the culture that ensured that something so unnacceptable carried on year after year.

It would be good to get some idea whether this is still going on at the 'new and improved' St J.

daska
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Postby daska » Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:41 am

Hi Keir, nice to hear from you. No I didn't actively complain. Partly because of the 'moaning minnie' aspect but mainly because at the time, although we talked about it between ourselves it didn't, to me, seem out of the norm. I know some girls felt otherwise but for me I was so used to having every aspect of my life controlled that it didnt' really make much odds. In retrospect, as a mother, no I don't think it was 'normal' behaviour and I would be concerned if my child reported being watched in the shower. But was the behaviour sexually motivated? I can't speak for the boys schools but my personal feeling is that it was probably more the power trip in the girls. Daska

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Re: Cloakroom 'Supervision' at St James.

Postby Daffy » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:30 am

Hi Keir,

I remember Debenham often sending us to the showers in the middle of lessons on the pretext that we weren't sufficiently awake for his liking. He would follow us to the changing rooms and examine us while we were in the showers.

Debenham wasn't the only one who did this, but he was certainly the worst. Unlike some of the other teachers who actually got out on the sports field and had a legitimate reason for being in the showers as well, Debenham was just a disgusting pervert who appeared to get pleasure from seeing naked boys. There's really no innocent explanation.

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:35 am

Yes that area is a tricky area to call, with rape now recognised as a power thing, not sexual.

I don't mean to say I fully understand the motivation of those teachers but simply to raise the question.

I know at the time we joked about it that they were perverts, probably to get through the humiliation, but I cannot be sure that some form of perversion wasn't going on - whether it be a power display or a voyeuristic thing. The only thing I have to go on is how it made me feel at the time, and what I think is reasonable behaviour now.

I wonder if we had had the emotional maturity then to tell these teachers how uncomfortable it made us feel, wether they would have been emotionally mature enough to listen and come to a compromise. It was a different time, but I have a feeling that the atmosphere of discipline so prized by the school in its press statements now and then, was applied too harshly and without the humility that befitted an experimental school.

Given such roots, and the continuing involvement of the SES, can it have changed that much. I doubt it. So how does the 'new and improved' St J handle cloakroom supervision nowdays, I wonder? Or is the ability to debate/reason/compromise reserved for after your 16th birthday?

james
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Postby james » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:10 pm

Im a graduate of 2005 and so have upto date experience of todays St James.
Well i dont know about you but we wore underwear while showering, and the teachers, Ray Cook etc.. , had no problem with that. We allways had a joke about gay teachers etc but it was never any more sinister than that. There was allways two teachers in the shower room (as requied by law) and showers became so they wern't even compulsory.
As you can see St James has moved on a great deal.

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Sam Hyde
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Postby Sam Hyde » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:20 pm

Thanks for you post james....Im still here, bugger!

As for the showers at school, they were demolished as far back as I can remember, in the days of boxing with BB :D In their place now exists a fully renovated hall with auditorium seating built through and over the old shower blocks, a stage and theatrical lighting equipment. All facilities for us to express ourselves, oh and by the way, since ND left (maybe even during) the english department realised that Shakespear was'nt the only playwrite the world had ever seen. Mind you, the music department still awaits its holy inspiration.....at elast Maclarren (we call him MC Larren) is'nt on the decks anymore. We do give the music department HELL though. LOL

Sam xox
thats old now, like me, only 4 weeks to go!!!!!
"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education"

xstJ
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Postby xstJ » Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:35 pm

We were always watched while showering in the girls' school, and to add to the humiliation a record was kept of who had started their periods and when their last period had been so that we could not use it as an excuse not to shower publicly.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:02 am

Interesting, a student who graduated in 2005 showered in blocks that were demolished, according to Sam Hyde "as far back as I can remember, "

xtsj - that is just awlful :(

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Sam Hyde
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Postby Sam Hyde » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:42 pm

what are you on about?????

As far back as I can remember was in place of an accurate date so you pathetically pedantic people dont look for the building records and accuse me of trying to cover up 'SES' FUNDED' cover up of abuse in showers! or something equally rediculous!
FFS
It never happened and they were demolished a very long time ago, Hell I even showered in them!

(unless I've totally missed your point XstJ....please enlighten me)

Sam xox
thats old now, like me, only 4 weeks to go!!!!!

"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education"

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Keir
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Postby Keir » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:03 am

The point you have failed to grasp is one that would appal almost any social worker, judge, policeman, teacher, parent, school kid, infact anyone apart from it seems you Sam.

Intrusion, controlling behaviour, prurient interest of a minor by an adult in a position of responsibility.

The fact that it was not your reality shouldn't mean that you are incapable of extending some sympathy, or even showing some compassion for xstJ.

You clearly haven't tried to understand what it would be like to be watched naked in the shower by a teacher on a regular basis. You also have obviously failed to connect with the fact that with a period comes varying degrees of pain or discomfort and emotional turmoil which would heighten the feeling of intrusion and lack of control when it is being used as a tool of discipline and I would presume in full hearing of the rest of the class.

Even if you don't understand her difficulty with these things, it would be polite to recognise that she does, and if you show some understanding of how not being ok with something that happened to you feels, then you might get a flavour of compassion that she feels abused.

Your abrupt (at best) reply is unlikely to generate anything more than anger and contempt from the larger number of posters on this board. It suggests that you are unwilling to try and empathise with other people.

I think that is an unhealty and antisocial attitute in a person that is currently being governed by an organisation that talks about a holistic education and a one-world-family.

Or perhaps you thought we had made this up just to piss you off? Its nothing to do with you, it happened before you were there. If it doesnt happen now, then great. That is all you have to say from experience. The rest you dont know about. So have a bit of care in the way you post about stuff you dont know about.

After all, I dont say that its bullshit that they dont watch you do I?

james
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Postby james » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:47 am

Hey a different guest
I agree it was sharp of Sam. However you did jump to a conclusion about the showers. The showers at the senior boys were knocked down in the year of my arrival. However we used to shower at the facilites provided at the playing fields. Hope thats cleared that up a little better than Sams reactionary post!

I agree xstJ that is awfull, i would not, not being a girl, have any knowledge of what went on at the girls school in those days. I presume this occoured a long time ago, in the time when most of this seemed to happen? From talks ive had with recent graduates from the girls school this never happened to them. I won't lie there was some story about developement of there breasts, but I was told to long ago to recall it properly, however it was not nearly as bad, or humiliating as your experience. To the best of my knoledge the teacher involved has left.

whitedevil
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Postby whitedevil » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:17 am

xstj,

That's awful!!! As James said i can only imagine what that's like. But judging from the pain my girlfriend goes through, (waking up at four in the morning and biting down on my hand) it must have been worse for you to go through that discomfort once a month and for someone to make a record of it. It's hideous. I do try to keep a level head, but that one shocked me quite a bit
freedom wears your scars of desire


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