Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania: Teacher found not guilty in student's beating; too many sects,...

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    Bill Uhrich's Flashback Friday: Teacher found not guilty in student's beating; too many sects, bishop says

    Wednesday, March 17, 1920

    Teacher On Trial
    Charged With Severely Punishing A Pupil

    A case of a public school teacher who, it is charged, beat a pupil, is being tried before Judge Schaeffer.

    The prosecutor is A.K. Derr, on behalf of his 10-year-old son, Harry Derr. The defendant is Miss Grace Sugar. The school is located at Schaefferstown, in Jefferson Township, and the parties to the suit reside there.

    The boy testified that after school hours he became involved in a fight with other school boys and that the following morning the teacher blamed him for the trouble and beat him with a ruler, leaving marks on his body. The boy cried while on the stand. Witnesses testified to the punishment and the condition of his body.

    Miss Sugar, who is a Keystone State Normal School graduate and has been teaching for seven years, declared that young Derr had been troublesome and that she was compelled to punish him. She denied that he was severely whipped and that he fell to the floor as a result of it. Her attorney, William B. Bechtel, contended that under the law a teacher took the place of the parents of pupils from the time they left home to go to school until they returned.

    It was brought out that the prosecutor and defendant were related and that there had been some ill feeling.

    John B. Stevens, attorney for the prosecution, declared in his opening address to the jury that the child had been “unmercifully beaten.”

    The teacher is young and comely.

    Thursday, March 18, 1920

    Teacher Not Guilty
    Jury Directs Her To Pay Half Of The Costs

    A verdict of not guilty, with costs divided, was rendered by the jury in the case of Miss Grace Sugar, the Schaefferstown school teacher, who was charged by H. K. Derr with beating his 10-year-old son Harry with a ruler because the boy, it was alleged, fought with other pupils of the school.

    The prosecutor claimed that the school marm laid the ruler on the boy’s back with great severity and that he collapsed as a result. Miss Sugar denied that she was cruel. She declared Harry was unruly and merited punishment. W. B. Bechtel, one of her attorneys, said that under the law school teachers had control over pupils from the time they left their homes for school until they returned.

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