Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to church...
This is shaping up to be a day focussed on the theme of education.
I had a friend who attended a British public school (in American English, a private school) that was run by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic order of monks. His tales of life at the school never failed to shock me—the beatings, the cruelty. I suppose these were "lessons in life" for the leader class.
Now comes a lawsuit alleging the same and worse treatment by the Sisters of St. Joseph at a Boston school for the deaf.
The alleged victims attended the school between 1936 and 1991. They allege that they were physically and sexually abused at ages ranging from 4 to 17.
"We want the nuns punished, and we want them to realize what they've done," said Nick Giancioppo, 72, who alleges he was repeatedly beaten in the face and head by school staff.
One of the alleged punishments was quite novel:
As a child at the Boston School for the Deaf from 1955 to 1967, Penny Braddock couldn't hear, but she could see.
When she was about 9 years old, she saw a nun follow a young girl into the bathroom and emerge with a metal bowl filled with urine, she said through a sign-language interpreter yesterday. She saw the nun pour it into a brown bottle. And later, the nun made all the girls line up and forced them to drink spoonfuls from the bottle, Braddock said.
"I went ahead, I held my breath, and I swallowed it down," she said. "There was nothing else I could do. It was disgusting. I would never do that to my children."
Boarding schools for children are almost always a bad idea. Not only are the children at risk for such treatment, but the schools can produce products such as the Bush family. George H.W., Barbara and George W. Bush all were boarded. It makes you wonder what they were forced to drink.