Another story

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
bluegreen
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Another story

Postby bluegreen » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:12 pm

A few people have written about what the school was like for them. My experience doesn't compare to Clara's or many of the boys' but not that many from the girls school have told their tales. Clara Salaman obviously has told hers in a big way now and it is probably the best revenge possible.
Has anyone else mentioned about how we were denied the toilet until we were forced to be incontinent? Our punishment was to go to the sick room for some clean pants. Why did they have an abundant supply of y fronts in the girls school? And never girls underwear? Humiliation! Even though no-one knew you had boys pants on, you felt it and were reminded of it all day long. I was 4 years 4 months 4 weeks when I started at st j. Mum says I was toilet trained and dry day and night before I was 2. But in school if you asked to go to the toilet they always said No. I asked 3 times in Vedic dance and then wet myself. Someone sniggered and they had to clean it up. My sister and I have many memories of either wetting or having to clean up someone else's pee. When I look at how challenging it was to toilet train my little boy when he was 3, I would not be too pleased if only a year later he was made to start wetting himself again.
I had to stand on a chair with my hands on my head and my eyes closed for hours, many times. I was only a tiny child, I fell off so I was punished. It would be me outside facing the wall. No-one allowed to look at me or talk to me. Or outside Miss Caldwell's room. I had my naked bum smacked many times.
A girl in my sister's class who was one of the teacher's chosen victims was made to stand on the rostrum at the front of the class with her knickers round her ankles and hold her dress up for the duration of a lesson. There was loads of this sort of stuff in some classes in the girls back then. Humiliation, and sexual humiliation was the name of the game in the girls school. For crimes such as talking or more usually, being suspected of talking. For accidentally knocking your pen on the floor. Some tiny thing like that. And strangely the teachers appeared to be genuinely angry, livid! I remember how Miss Hartigan's nostrils used to flare and her face would go puce while she shouted her cigarette stinking breath right in my face. I thought I was so naughty and didn't tell my parents about it. But I wasn't bloody naughty, I was a little girl. God if I could go back there with what I know now and who I am now but in that body I would have turned over tables, spat in faces, smashed windows, then they'd know what naughty is. But we were scared. Always scared. Always silent. Poor little babies.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

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ET
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Re: Another story

Postby ET » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:46 am

Hi bluegreen, welcome to the board. Thank you so much for your post, it really resonated with me, as I clearly remember wetting myself in class, and being made to clear up the pee of others with a special J-cloth that the teacher kept in the cupboard. I'd forgotten about the Y-fronts though, that brings back memories.

You sound so hurt and angry, and I know how it is to feel like that, as it's a fairly constant feeling for most of us. Nearly four years of therapy and a very supportive partner have made me more able to cope on a day to day basis, but things like Clara's book do bring it all back to the forefront.

Please carry on posting on here, as if this board is here for nothing else, it's here for mutual support. I agree with you that, sadly, the girl's stories have not been posted or listened to much. I'm not sure why that is, I think because we were all so crushed down and told that our opinions were worthless, and so we don't want to talk about that time publicly perhaps. I don't know.

I saw an "advert" for the NSPCC Full Stop campaign on the internet this morning with a very affecting photo of a little boy staring miserably out of the frame while the words "You're useless", "You're disgusting" etc flash up above his head. I think it's easy for many of us, particularly the ones who had SES parents and were therefore getting it at home and school, to regard what happened to us as bad, but not abuse. We don't want to think of our parents as abusers after all, because we love them, despite everything. But what we suffered was abuse, pure and simple. I can't be the only one who remembers similar phrases being said to me and many others.

Hang in there, bluegreen, and keep posting. We're here for you.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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bonsai
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Re: Another story

Postby bonsai » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:08 am

bluegreen wrote:Has anyone else mentioned about how we were denied the toilet until we were forced to be incontinent?
I'm well aware of one of my former classmates being repeatedly refused leave to go to the toilet and often wet himself in class. I really never understood why teachers did this and I still don't understand this to this day.


bluegreen wrote:A girl in my sister's class who was one of the teacher's chosen victims was made to stand on the rostrum at the front of the class with her knickers round her ankles and hold her dress up for the duration of a lesson. There was loads of this sort of stuff in some classes in the girls back then. Humiliation, and sexual humiliation was the name of the game in the girls school.
Absolutely degrading. There were a few things like this in the boys school too. I remember incidents of boys having to do gym without shorts and pants on because they hadn't changed quickly enough.



bluegreen wrote:I thought I was so naughty and didn't tell my parents about it. But I wasn't bloody naughty, I was a little girl. God if I could go back there with what I know now and who I am now but in that body I would have turned over tables, spat in faces, smashed windows, then they'd know what naughty is. But we were scared. Always scared. Always silent. Poor little babies.
Absolutely! It angers me greatly that St James and the SES have had such a primitive and ignorant view of child behavioural psychology. I also believe that the philosophical beliefs of the SES have a huge prejudicial and discriminatory impact on children that they perceive to be naughty, willful or belligerent.

Two aspects of the SES philosophy come up here. Reincarnation and Sanskara being that our past lives have impact on our natures today. The second is that all humans have made a threefold promise before birth, which they have forgotten along with "the Truth". This three-fold promise is: To remember the creator, to live by the fine laws and regulations of the universe and to find your way back to "the absolute".

Rather than accepting that children do not have the language, emotional maturity to describe what is wrong in their lives and are just simply reacting to their environment when doing things like wetting themselves, teachers certainly preferred to accuse pupils of being bad, naughty and evil.

The inquiry has achieved much to acknowledge the issues of the past but it is worth noting that the girls school got off very lightly. I suspect that this is due to the fact that there were proportionally very few girls who came forward to give evidence to Mr Townend. I think this is one aspect of inquiry that was handled adequately. St James did not do enough to inform former pupils of the inquiry and plenty of former pupils either did not know about the inquiry at all or by the time they did they had either missed it or were not ready to give evidence for what ever reason. Of course it was never really in St James's interest to make huge efforts to get people to come forward to the inquiry.

The other thing is that the inquiry was not really able to examine the impact of the SES philosophy on the educational environment of St James. The terms of reference carefully avoided the philosophy itself.

The biggest problem is that the governors of St James, whilst accepting the findings of the inquiry, regard these findings as the complete picture of the issues and have deduced already that schools have already changed sufficiently such that all these issues have been addressed. Unfortunately the inquiry has not uncovered everything and I am sure that there are other pupils out who have complaints about their time at St James who have not spoken out. I imagine that there are also plenty of teachers who breathed a sigh of relief that they were not implicated in the Inquiry but who know in themselves that they were responsible for some of the things that former pupils are complaining about.

Of course I am also fearful that current and more recent pupils of St James will yet in time discover just how weird their education has been as St James and have issues that they hold against the school in the future.

Bonsai

Jo-Anne Morgan
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Re: Another story

Postby Jo-Anne Morgan » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:34 pm

More awful stories of sadism and cruelty. What kind of a sick mind could even think up these punishments?

It puts me in mind of the stories from the Magdalen Laundries in Ireland; further examples of the effects of right-wing, reactionary, repressive religion.

A statement from one of the articles about those women and children reads:
``The record of priests and nuns is not good. They should not be told that everything is all right now. They should answer the questions exactly as a criminal would.''

I tend to think the same applies to those teachers in the SES schools, particularly those who are still teaching, but really any of them who are still around.

bluegreen
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Re: Another story

Postby bluegreen » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:14 pm

Thanks for your replies. I have not been harbouring anger all these years but have had it triggered by reading this forum and before it, the whyaretheydead one a few years back, and then Clara Salaman's book. Now I'm older and realise none of it was normal, and I also have two small children and that puts things into a rather different perspective. One of them almost the age I was when i started at st j. So I understand that their expectations were ridiculous and punishments destructive. The main reason I was saved the anger and other psychological troubles many of you had is because I had/have a strong and independent minded mother. Saying that, my sister has had a fair bit of therapy and is a bit screwed up and I have terrible confidence issues. That NSPCC ad you mention sounds like just the sort of thing we got used to hearing. I was there from 1977 when I was 4 until I was 8. Mum said if she'd known what was going on sooner she'd have done something sooner. But we thought it was normal so we didn't say. When she heard that we were spending nearly all of our time outside classrooms, in corners or with our eyes closed, hands on head she thought that our fees were a waste of money at a time when dad lost his job so she took us out. On another occasion when she couldn't make it to a week or a weekend thing, S Caldwell told her she should put her group commitments above the family. Mum told her that she wasn't going to leave her children and that was final. I think from then she was on the SES sidelines a bit. Despite that, she says that she liked Sheila Caldwell and thought she was a lovely lady who was really good to my sister. I'm not sure that my sis would agree. (I told her about Shame On You and she was shocked).
I think Clara Salaman's and many others' lives would have been more bearable if they had not felt betrayed by their parents and friends. What went on in school in many of your stories and Clara's is very familiar but I don't feel I was betrayed by the people that mattered. Mum went along with the sexist stuff up to a point mainly so that Dad could be a proper SES man because she loved him. But twice he 'disciplined' us violently and twice more, extremely unfairly and with no understanding of little girls, causing alot of distress, and she put her foot down and told him that she would be responsible for our discipline from now on, and he was to stay out of it. He took this to mean 'stay out of their lives' and had little to do with us for many years. He was much more of a yes man than she and still believes most of the SES bull. They stayed on until they started to separate men and women, which she didn't like, then mum had to go to a women's weekend for which the group leader said that they should not be wearing cheap cotton skirts but should wear nothing but the finest silks. She found herself worrying about what to wear for the weekend and suddenly thought that this was not what it was about. Dad left much later because we had to move away from London.
We went to normal schools from 1981 and I had a lovely time. My sister, a year older, has been a bullied victim in every place she has been to school or worked and has socialising and relationship difficulties. She stopped speaking for a bit after she started at St J. Now I'm reminded about how things were, I think it's likely that our problems are related to being told we were bad, not being believed and being humiliated and watched others hurt and humiliated. Most stuff I had forgotten and have seen something familiar in many of the posts I've read. We were hit and had hair pulled by teachers but its the psychological stuff that hurt us more I'd say.
Reading this forum I can get very angry for the person telling the story and then I get angry for the young me.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

bluegreen
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: Another story

Postby bluegreen » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:16 pm

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Last edited by bluegreen on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

stiltrubld
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Re: Another story

Postby stiltrubld » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:18 am

Dear Bluegreen,

Poor little babies. Words fail me.

I have made a final decision not to return to SES next term.

I have changed my ‘nickname'.
Last edited by stiltrubld on Thu May 24, 2012 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

stiltrubld
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punishments

Postby stiltrubld » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:29 am

Bluegreen wrote:

A girl in my sister's class who was one of the teacher's chosen victims was made to stand on the rostrum at the front of the class with her knickers round her ankles and hold her dress up for the duration of a lesson.


Is this really true? Who would do such a thing? And as Jo-Anne put it, who would even think of such a thing to do to a child, and why?? Who was this teacher and are they still in the SES - does anyone know?
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

bluegreen
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: Another story

Postby bluegreen » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:08 am

My sister used to tell that story, but she has forgotten a lot of detail now and can't remember which teacher. It was a female. Her teachers were Miss White (i doubt it was her) and later Miss Aires(?sp) or it could have been a different one. They both got married,( Miss White became another Mrs David) and I can't remember who miss Aires became, a greek name I think. I'll ask my sis again.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

bluegreen
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Re: Another story

Postby bluegreen » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:10 am

I remember the name of the child but it's not fair to tell someone else's story, she probably got really screwed up in later life becasue she was a frequent victim and so probably did the other 2 girls my sister remembers being ritually humiliated.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

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morrigan
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Re: Another story

Postby morrigan » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:40 pm

Such bad behaviour of "teachers" and authoritative leaders; so many kids and parents controlled and "abused".

Has there been anyone who has sued those people who have treated them badly? I've never heard that happen, and yet in other places it does happen.

And apparently now the government is having all sorts of "volunteer" parents and other volunteer adults also CRB checked, even having problems to be allowed to look after kids and take them to their homes/schools/groups if they have not been in court, but have been warned by police in the past.


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