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 Post subject: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 01:38 
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In reading through the series, the way that offences are punished don’t seem to evolve. There are some creative ways to drive home the “no slang” rule, which are, frankly bizarre and excessive— the Regency weekend in Peggy comes to mind.

But I’ve always found the reaction to running away to be especially odd. The offender is ignored, and the school told not to discuss it. The thinking being, I suppose, that “least said, soonest mended.” But how effective is that likely to be? When the girls go through terrifying experiences (scrambling down cliffs, walking 12 miles at night in wartime, climbing cliffs with a rising tide behind you) it would seem that they would need some comfort and reassurance to avoid years of night terrors. And while the fine details are probably unknown to the school at large, rumours will spread... how realistic is it that 100+ girls would not discuss the disappearance of a popular older girl? All the more since somehow the details seem to be common currency not long after... witness Carola being described as the “girl who ran away to school” or Tom knowing the details of Annis’ escape or most famously, Jo’s rescue of the princess.

Any ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 08:59 
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I think the idea was partly to avoid copycat offences, but I don't suppose too many people were going to run off to climb a mountain, especially after both Joey and Grizel became seriously ill as a result!

There are a couple of instances which I find very odd. Val Gardiner gets a real telling-off from Miss Annersley, after being kidnapped and drugged! Not a bit of sympathy. OK, she shouldn't have wandered off, but she was only going to see her brother - she was hardly to know that a gang of kidnappers would be wandering about!

By contrast, everyone blames Miss Bubb when Gay Lambert ran off. It was very unkind of Miss Bubb to refuse Gay permission to see her brother before he went away to war - although I don't know why Tommy couldn't have come to see her instead - but Gay was very irresponsible. She walked miles through the countryside, on her own, in the blackout. Anything could have happened to her - she could have been attacked, or fallen and hurt herself - and she doesn't even seem to get told off.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 09:39 
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I rather think that most UK schools had a 'hush it up' policy, at least until recent times. It's only now (via the former pupils' page on Facebook) that I'm hearing any more than the barest outline of various things that happened during my time at my grammar school - for example, in my second year we were told that we were swapping French teachers with one of the older forms but we were not (of course) told that this was because one of the older lads had punched their French master on the chin.

It seems to me to be a mixture of preventing copycat offences (and admiring people for the wrong reason) and preserving a school's reputation, and I suspect that those in authority would have held firmly to it that it was the former. Unfortunately, as Elinor does demonstrate on quite a few occasions (Peggy is probably the best-known example), it can then prompt rumour-mongering of the most extreme kind.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 10:35 
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There was some kind of "drugs bust" at our school, and all kinds of rumours went flying round. Someone had been caught taking drugs on a bus, someone had been caught with drugs in their locker, all the lockers were going to be searched, no they weren't, the police were involved, the police weren't involved, it was just the girls' school, it was the boys' school as well … and the headmistress called a special assembly about it but then refused to tell us anything!

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 16:46 
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Aaaaargh! And then they wonder why people gossip!


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 17:55 
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Alison H wrote:
There was some kind of "drugs bust" at our school, and all kinds of rumours went flying round. Someone had been caught taking drugs on a bus, someone had been caught with drugs in their locker, all the lockers were going to be searched, no they weren't, the police were involved, the police weren't involved, it was just the girls' school, it was the boys' school as well … and the headmistress called a special assembly about it but then refused to tell us anything!


Surely, telling everyone sternly that they were not to discuss it ended the chatter? :roll: Or perhaps the Head needed to give a lecture that she had never bettered?


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2019, 19:16 
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I think it made people speculate even more :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 03:10 
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I can see why schools would not want the miscreant to bask in the attention after doing something stupid and dangerous - some fraction of their peers and juniors are going to think that running off was So Cool!, which kind of dilutes the impact of their disgrace. They wouldn't be able to keep it under cover forever, but just for the novelty to wear off.

Val's punishment seems particularly harsh. If we look at the other cases of girls who ran away for reasons that weren't immediate rescue (of princesses, puppies, skaters or mountain climbers) and their results we have

- Grizel and the Tiernjoch (serious illness for two girls)
- Joey and the ice carnival (resulting in a badly sprained ankle)
- Grizel on way to school
- Cornelia and the Salt caves (head injury)
- Eustacia (back injury)
- Gertrude (bombed ship)
- the Triumvirate after spies
- Gay to see her brother (epidemic at the school)
- Annis (sprained ankle)
- Joan
- Jack and gang on walk (get lost, sprained ankle)
- Val to see brother (kidnapping)
- Jocelyn (lost in snowstorm)

I don't think any girl except Val, the youngest of the lot, is threatened with expulsion (even Cornelia, whose behaviour to that point had been terrible), and in most cases the punishment of their injury and/or a day in bed is considered sufficient.

In modern days, in Val's case the school would be sued for knowing that there were murderous criminals sniffing around the school looking for a read-headed girl and not doing anything about it. They don't call in police support, they don't send Flavia to protective custody, they don't warn the students, they're reluctant even to tell the girl they know is being targetted. They just assume that a haircut and a change of last name is sufficient protection, and when a student is kidnapped and drugged, they blame the student.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 08:32 
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That was clearly where Val went wrong - if she'd come back with measles or bronchitis, she wouldn't have been punished!!

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 01:35 
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jennifer wrote:
I don't think any girl except Val, the youngest of the lot, is threatened with expulsion (even Cornelia, whose behaviour to that point had been terrible), and in most cases the punishment of their injury and/or a day in bed is considered sufficient.



Joyce Linton is told that, if she is reported again, she'll not be allowed to return (we see this only in 3rd party - Gillain tells Joey). That's the basis for expelling Thekla - if Joyce had been found to be out of bed without good reason, she'd have been expelled.

Betty Wynne-Davis is said to have been close to expulsion (this is missing in the Armada) because she's generally unsatisfactory in behaviour but the School is reluctant to "sack" her as she has such a poor home life. They expel her only when forced to do so.

Similarly Jennifer Penrose comes close to expulsion but has unsatisfactory parents (again missing in the Armada). The parental reaction - complaining of the School's actions - will be familiar to teachers everywhere!


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 07:36 
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That again's pretty illogical. I know that Joyce had been in trouble for other things, notably Miss Norman, already, but being found out of bed after lights out, unless you're caught stealing from someone else's locker, vandalising school property, etc, is hardly the crime of the century. Numerous girls in the Tyrol era leave the school premises without permission, and no-one threatens them with expulsion!

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 20:12 
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I've just reread Theodora and think Margot got off way too lightly for her bullying campaign against Ted. I also think Mary-Lou should never have thrown Ted's past in her face like that - the whole point of her coming to the CS and changing her name was to put all that stuff behind her - and was unnecessarily nasty to Con. Con was tactless, but she was hardly the bad guy here.

The one I find really odd is in Three Go when three girls gasp or giggle involuntary, and they all get a really horrible punishment. And Peggy went a bit overboard about the Regency prank. Madge dealt with the Shakespeare one far better and had a sense of humour about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 21:01 
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Lotte wrote:
I've just reread Theodora and think Margot got off way too lightly for her bullying campaign against Ted. I also think Mary-Lou should never have thrown Ted's past in her face like that - the whole point of her coming to the CS and changing her name was to put all that stuff behind her - and was unnecessarily nasty to Con. Con was tactless, but she was hardly the bad guy here.

The one I find really odd is in Three Go when three girls gasp or giggle involuntary, and they all get a really horrible punishment. And Peggy went a bit overboard about the Regency prank. Madge dealt with the Shakespeare one far better and had a sense of humour about it.


Agreed! Con stating a plain fact, that Margot knew, was not the problem. And ML raising Ted’s history was completely unnecessary. Margot gets some oddly light punishments for her many misdeeds. Having to confess to the Head is hardly a dreadful thing, even if the Head expresses her disappointment in Margot. It just subdued her until the next offence.

I think that the most appropriate punishment was the one Naomi proposes for the Lost Property prank. Making them return the items individually was definitely apt.

Madge generally had a sense of balance about punishment, although I think that she allowed Grizel lots more leeway than she should.


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2019, 21:26 
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I think Miss Annersley should also have disciplined Mlle de Lachennais for telling Mary-Lou about Ted's private business in the first place!

I've just been re-reading New House. Biddy's friends encourage her to tell them folk stories in their dormitory. When they're found out, Biddy is punished by having to sleep in Miss Wilson's room for a week, whereas the others don't seem to get any more than a telling-off. A lawyer would argue :lol: that the rule was no talking after the silence bell, so technically the others hadn't broken any rules because they'd only been listening, but it seems very unfair, especially as Biddy was only telling the stories because the others has asked her to.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 11 Nov 2019, 08:19 
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Polly, in Jo Returns had a light punishment for ringing the alarm bell in the middle of the night. That affected the whole village, and I’m sure that there were repercussions for the school. The “adoration” of Joey and the school May have mitigated the reaction, but surely there was a response. It may explain why the bell is never mentioned again...


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2019, 21:54 
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Isn't it implied in one book that the staff know that Flora McDonald tells stories after lights-out? I could have sworn there's a bit about her "famous stories" and bedtime, but no hint that Flora shouldn't be doing that.

One of the girls treated most unfairly, in my opinion, is Blossom Willoughby in Wrong Chalet School when Jennifer Penrose manages to get her locked in the art room. She's taken to task for believing Herr Laubach wanted to see her on Saturday morning. Of course, she would have been in trouble had she decided the message was unlikely and not gone. Bit harsh to train girls to render instant obedience and then chastise them when they instantly obey.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2019, 22:24 
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That one's ridiculous. If someone gave you a message from a teacher, would your reaction be a) to do as it said or b) to assume that it was a fake message that was part of a conspiracy to lock you in an art room and make you miss a tennis match?! I'm a terrible catastrophiser but even I would never have thought of that one :lol: :lol: :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2019, 22:35 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
Isn't it implied in one book that the staff know that Flora McDonald tells stories after lights-out? I could have sworn there's a bit about her "famous stories" and bedtime, but no hint that Flora shouldn't be doing that.


I thought the situation was that the girls hurried to get ready for bed so that they could listen to Flora telling her stories; that is, the stories are being told after they have got into bed but before lights-out.

I will try and check this when I have a moment


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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2019, 05:03 
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I'm picturing a CS girl being reprimanded for not answering a summons and explaining that she figured it was a prank and decided not to go. Also - how do you confirm if it's a joke? The easiest way is to go to the Art Room and check. Wandering around the school to find a mistress who is going to have no idea what's going on is not that useful. The mistress would at best take you to the Art Room and be a bodyguard against malicious pranks.

There's a similar dynamic when Jane is partly blamed for being physically attacked by Jack when she's doing something the mistresses have asked her to do. Jack's being a vindictive little bully, and Jane is not only completely innocent, but a victim. She doesn't actually get punished for it, but then again, neither does Jack.

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 Post subject: Re: Crime and punishment
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2019, 21:45 
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I think the logic was that Herr Laubach wouldn't have been in school on a Saturday - was it at a weekend? - not that that means Blossom was in the wrong.


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