Child abuse? Not in the “good old days”

This story triggered a bit of childhood reminiscence, not to mention reflection on how times have changed:

A West Australian teacher who allegedly tied a five-year-old boy to a chair to punish him for misbehaving has been stood aside while the case is investigated.

When I was that age our kindergarten teacher at Harbord Primary School was Miss Hilton.  We had a kid in our class named Sid Dawson.  His parents had sent him to school early; he was only 4 years old.  Probably as a result he was disruptive in class most of the time.  Miss Hilton seemed a kindly old biddy, only a couple of years off retirement.  But she had a unique way of disciplining little Sid.  Because we were only littlies we had two rest periods every day when we would curl up on sleeping mats and have a nap of 20 minutes or so. The sleeping mats were kept in a coffin-like wooden box.  When Sid ran around the room noisily keeping everyone awake, as he often did, Miss Hilton would lock him in the mat box for the duration of the rest period.

Miss Hilton was never reported or disciplined for this as far as I know, she retired with honours a couple of years later.  Nor did the experience seem to do Sid any harm as far as I could tell (mind you, how would I know?).  If it had been me it would have blown my mind completely.  I’m a bit claustrophobic.  Maybe it comes from imagining what Sid must have felt like locked in that dark box.

Incidentally, from memory Sid was the grandson of famous Australian baritone Peter Dawson, and Sid’s older brother Khan in turn became quite a well known popular tenor.  I have no idea what became of Sid.  I never saw or heard of him after primary school.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
10 years ago

“I have no idea what became of Sid. I never saw or heard of him after primary school.”

So…..has anyone checked the box?

Samantha Dawson
Samantha Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Honnor

NO RESPECT!! Rude!!

observa
observa
10 years ago

Like Miss Hilton, MrsO is coming to the end of her JP teaching career given the demands of modern R-1s. Well if not yet official retirement age she has been threatening to chuck it in of late and so I helpfully suggested she grab the Rann Govt’s recent $50k sweetener(after July 1 naturally) to unload their baby boomers and make way for more permanent younguns.(they also wanted to unload the crappy teachers) Unfortunately she can’t because like so many she recently availed herself of some new top teaching status (Class 9 competency I think?)and that automatically bars her from the $50k grab and run option. Smart move by SA Ed I guess because that only leaves the ones who couldn’t cut it to take the $50k carrot now.

So when I heard about the chair tying I very helpfully suggested that would be a great idea to get downgraded in order to qualify for the $50k. MrsO was somewhat aghast at that, albeit quickly musing over just who she would tie up and then seeing I was humouring her somewhat, finally dismissed me by saying in any case she could get the sack and no $50k anyway. Ah rubbish says I, The public circus never sacks anybody and even if they hinted at going there, a quick unfair dismissal letter from the Company lawyers would see them turn to water and besides the offer of a competency downgrade would let them save face officially. July 1 and $50k coming up luv! Oh you’re always thinking of money says she dismissively and you can’t put a price on my professional reputation. No thinks I but it can sure cut out a lot of crap.

Tom N.
Tom N.
10 years ago

Perhaps Sid is living in a shoe box in the bottom of a lake?

Samantha Dawson
Samantha Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom N.

NO RESPECT!! What a disgusting thing to say about a poor innocent abused child. You horrible person. That is my Father your speaking about. He was one of the best human beings you could ever hope to meet. So maybe when it’s YOUR time a damn box is where you should be!!

Tom N.
Tom N.
1 year ago

Hi Sam, you seem to be a bit late to the party and, being less inebriated than the rest of we Scotchmen, seem to be struggling to appreciate the joke.
Si, to clarify, nothing in this thread is intended in any way to be respectful to your Sid. That you seem to want to (mis)interpret it as such says more abiut your ability to distinguish serious commentary about someone from comedy using someone’s situation for that purpose.
So, frankly, I suggest you lighten up.
And before you ask, were it my long deceased uncle who was the subject in this thread, or even me, “yes” I’d be totally comfortable with what was said.

Samantha Dawson
Samantha Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom N.

It’s Samantha, and you know nothing about me or my father… what so ever. Simply your “interpretation “ So please feel free to take your inebriated self stroking suggestions and keep it. “ Si, to clarify, nothing in this thread is intended in any way to be respectful to your Sid.”

My Father, Syd went through more in his life then you could even fathom. He through it ALL He was a strong, selfless, loving, kind, funny soulful amazing person even in his crap of a life! For anyone who has passed deserves RESPECT! Sadly even you… you quoted your self that no respectfulness was intended. So what I said remains ever firmer.

I have quite the humour thank you as did my father. Again you don’t know me and clearly states you have no respect so keep your “humour”

Anyone should only get to have a dark humour when they CAN respect life itself. See if that one floats through your Inebriation.

Oh! is anyone really late to the “party” on speaking up for their father that has passed?… hmm 🤔 life is precious and should ALWAYS be respected. << since we are taking it apon our selfs to give direction and advice to other we don’t know… and people dead! Then that would be mine to you. A little Aretha Franklin for you RESPECT L!

Tom N.
Tom N.
1 year ago

Sorry Samantha but, my inadvertent typo aside, I am going to stay firm here and say again that you need to take a chill pill on this.
I have no reason to doubt that your father was all that you said, but nothing written in this thread is inconsistent with that or shows any disrespect to Syd, if interpreted in the way it was meant.
Alas the modern trend is often to intentionally and/or unreasonably misinterpret statements and then adopt an offended tone and attempt to shame or castigate the “perpetrators”. It is an unhealthy trend and needs to be called out and resisted.
Anyhow, I will give you the last word if you want it.
Tom

kymbos
kymbos
10 years ago

Soggy Lake? I used to dream about a soggy lake!

Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
10 years ago

In my day if you didn’t get flogged (with whatever was close at hand) at least once a day the teachers weren’t doing their job proper. AND we’d give it to those wussers then, you betchya.

observa
observa
10 years ago

Hmm… looks like a lack of principals has tied up another brilliant plan to soak the Gummint-
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/principal-shortage-looming-for-state/story-e6frea83-1226045261342

Rachel
Rachel
9 years ago

Well I know what became of Syd.

He was my uncle and he passed away 20 years ago. Unfortunately he slipped into a diabetic coma in his sleep.

Although I don’t condone locking kids in boxes, it didn’t seem to have affected Uncle Syd too much. He was a wonderful bloke with the best sense of humour and wickedest giggle I have ever heard.

As far as Peter Dawson is concerned, my Mum Lani (Syd’s older sister) always told me that he was not related to her family. Her grandfather was from New Zealand.

Kate Ferguson
Kate Ferguson
4 years ago

Well I know what happened to Khan Dawson!! He has a long history of child sexual abuse..via grooming students and fostering competition between students so they didn’t share. How do I know? He molested my cousins daughter, which led to her suicide. He pretended to be interested in the mother to get to the daughter. The girl she tried to warn, later went to police, leading to a jail sentence after 100’s of photos of unconscious girls were found. About time he was outed. I know he’s still performing, but is he still teaching??