News Columns & Blogs

Duct-tape case stirs memories from old days

Duct-taping an unruly student to a chair?

When I heard a Palma Sola Elementary School teacher had been placed on leave and was under investigation, two things immediately came to mind:

Boy, am I glad the good sisters of St. Joseph didn’t think of that.

The Xaverian Brothers, too.

I’d have never made it home.

Nor would a lot of my classmates back in those days of innocence.

Not that the nuns or brothers needed duct tape to keep us in line.

Or, as coach Eddie Shannon puts it, “Get your mind right.”

Regardless, duct-taping an unruly child is a tad extreme.

A lawsuit in the making.

Believe it or not, 43 of Florida’s 67 school districts still allow corporal punishment, according to recent Florida Department of Education figures.

Manatee prohibits it.

Couldn’t the teacher have sent the boy to the principal’s office instead?

Sounds like standard procedure.

Or maybe that doesn’t strike fear into kids anymore.

Worked for me.

So did rulers across the knuckles.

Getting pulled by the ear.

A slap upside the head.

Traumatized?

Not at all.

I’m glad I went through it.

Taught me right from wrong.

Got some great memories, too.

Like the time Brother Corby was amidst a Latin lesson and suddenly fired a chalkboard eraser across the classroom.

It wasn’t a direct hit, but you knew who he was aiming for by the cloud of chalk dust rising from the guy’s pompadour.

Then there was “Jug,” a euphemism for detention.

You knelt on the seat of the desk, arms folded behind your head and you had to remain absolutely still for an hour.

A brother patrolled the classroom with a pointer.

If you dared move? Whap!

Then there are the stories I’ve heard about Eddie Shannon, who believed in equal opportunity when it came to dispensing justice with his infamous paddle.

Neighbor Mark Anderson recalled the days he played tackle for Manatee High back in the 1970s.

Although diminutive, Shannon’s paddle packed a wallop.

Anderson said Coach would swat guys who towered over him and lift them right off the ground.

Got their minds right, OK.

Can’t picture Eddie Shannon with duct tape, though.

Or the clergy who taught me, God bless them.

Judging by another duct-taping incident in Brandon, there’s only one group of people who will probably benefit most when the Palma Sola Elementary case is all said and done.

The lawyers.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

  Comments