History Of The "Old High School" 1828-1840
by Charles Wells Chapin

at the school, some of the boys were very busily engaged digging a pit directly in front of the steps at the south entrance to the school room. Having completed this work, they covered the top with light material, on this a layer of dirt, then taking favorable positions under cover, awaited the arrival of the teacher, who as he neared the steps unsuspectingly stepped upon the covering, and suddenly disappeared, all but his head. By his own efforts, with the help of sympathizers among the boys, he was soon brought to the surface, apparently receiving very little bodily injury. The countenance of the, teacher as he entered the school room gave the impression that if he could find out the boys that dared to commit such an act he would give them a severe flogging; but his efforts to discover the victims of his desires proved unavailing."
        The old proverb, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," was not Much in vogue in those days. Corporal punishment, coupled with a little moral suasion, was the most effective method in bringing the insubordinate pupil to obedience. At the present day the former practice is often dispensed with when the occasion demands heroic treatment.
        One of the scholars residing in this city relates: "My brother George and I stole out of the school room by crawling under the seats, in order to see the first train from Worcester (in 1839) come in on the Western railroad. We witnessed the event and got back to school without being missed by the teacher. We thought it quite an exploit."
        From a city in Western New York a voice comes can remember how some of the bold small boys, in the warm summer days, when the school room door stood invitingly open, and the teacher was engaged at the other end of the room, would crawl on their hands and feet, and put out of doors to enjoy for a moment the fresh air and freedom. One day the boy who sat next to me came to school with a striped snake in his bosom inside his shirt. It gave me a chill which I think has clung to me to the present time."

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