Ex-Morrison’s Academy students recount how staff ‘raved’ about beating children in the 1950s

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Former students at a private boarding school have told how in the 1950s the staff “raved” about the beating of children, whereby a boy was beaten so badly that his wrist was broken.

An ex-student at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, Perthshire, told a Scottish child abuse investigation how he was tormented by an elderly student who threatened to brand him with a red-hot poker and put a cigarette against his bare skin.

Another, now in his seventies, said more than half a century later that the mistreatment of an “extremely violent” teacher “still bothers me.”

The evidence, most of which was given anonymously, came during the Scottish child abuse investigation, which investigates alleged abuse in Scottish boarding schools.

The experiences of former students of Morrison’s Academy, founded in 1860 and a boarding school until 2007, were examined in the survey today.

An ex-student at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, Perthshire (pictured) told a Scottish child abuse investigation how he was tormented by an elderly student who threatened to brand him with a red-hot poker and put a cigarette against his bare skin

Alasdair Liddle, who joined Morrison in 1950, described his tooth falling out after being forced into a boxing match with another new student.

He related how he was teased by an elderly apprentice and captain of the house, who “heated a poker in the stove until it was red hot and then approached me threateningly until the poker was inches from my nose.”

In a statement read by the staff to the investigation, he continued: “ He removed one of his slippers and took out the insole and said ‘eat that or I’ll brand you.’

With this red-hot poker inches from my face, I threw this disgusting object into my mouth.

Research previously stated that it is’ unfair ‘to select only boys’ schools when investigating’ predatory culture ‘

The head teacher of an independent boys’ boarding school has informed an investigation that it is’ unfair ‘to choose only boys when investigating a ‘predatory culture’.

Jonathan Anderson, principal of the £ 3,500-a-year Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) that the problem affected all schools in the UK.

Mr. Anderson said the school has gone through the ‘harrowing’ process of a full review of historical records and accepts that there may have been abuse between 1930, when the school moved to its current location in Colinton, and 2014.

The study’s adviser, Andrew Brown QC, questioned him about recent media reports of a “predatory culture” that boys’ schools can produce.

Mr Anderson, who took up his position at Merchiston in 2018 after teaching for 20 years in boarding schools in England, said: ‘I think it is a problem in all schools.

‘I think it’s unfair to mention boys’ schools because I think it’s a social problem.

“I think it’s how we raise young men, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

‘Being able to have a frank conversation with them in a room for boys only is very healthy in that respect.

“To say it’s only a problem for boys’ schools isn’t fair.”

He also stubbed out a cigarette on my bare leg under my kilt. After that I had an excruciating scar for a long time.

“My saddest memory was the total absence of help from the prefects, I suppose they were also terrified of the captain of the house.”

Another boy, who took the pseudonym Robert, now in his 70s, said in a statement that “some teachers loved to punish children” and that his wrists were cut after being lashed with a belt.

He related how, when he was about 12 or 13, a boy in his class broke his wrist after being beaten by a French teacher, who was then forbidden to use seat belts for punishment.

Robert added: “He wasn’t allowed to use the belt after that, so he used to pick up boys by the hair and kick their shins.

“He was an extremely violent teacher who used a thick Perspex ruler … the beatings I received from that man still disturb me.”

Another boy at school said in the 1950s and 1960s that one of his caretakers was a former colonial police officer and “not the best childcare choice.”

In a statement read to the survey, he continued: “In the 1950s, there was a primary school teacher with a reputation for inappropriate behavior who asked students to stay behind after class.

You had to be smart to avoid his wandering hands. Those were the days when kids telling adults was unheard of.

Worryingly, the teacher also became a cub master. Suddenly, he didn’t come back after a Christmas vacation.

“News came out that the school had heard of his inclinations.”

He said he had not seen any evidence of sexual abuse.

Another boy, under the pseudonym Wallace, now 85, told how at the age of 18 a girl married a teacher at the school who was about two decades her senior and who she “ got involved with while still in school. ‘.

Last month, Gareth Warren, headmaster at Morrison’s Academy, apologized to all former students who were victims of abuse “be it physical, emotional, or sexual.”

He said: “I am fully aware of the harm that abuse causes to children and young adults and the lasting damage and debilitating effects it can have and the anxiety it causes on a daily basis.

‘As a school, we believe the research is important to give a voice to those who have been victims of abuse, but also as an opportunity to learn from.

“It is very difficult and challenging to hear about our shortcomings and understand the pain it caused.”

In March, the survey was told how the head teacher of another independent boys ‘boarding school who was’ not fair ‘to select only boys’ schools when investigating a ‘predatory culture’.

Jonathan Anderson, principal of the £ 3,500-a-year Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) that the problem affected all schools in the UK.

Jonathan Anderson, head teacher at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh (pictured), told the March survey that it was' unfair 'to select only boys' schools when looking at' predatory culture '

Jonathan Anderson, head teacher at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh (pictured), told the March survey that it was’ unfair ‘to select only boys’ schools when looking at’ predatory culture ‘

Mr. Anderson said the school has gone through the ‘harrowing’ process of a full review of historical records and accepts that there may have been abuse between 1930, when the school moved to its current location in Colinton, and 2014.

The study’s adviser, Andrew Brown QC, questioned him about recent media reports of a “predatory culture” that boys’ schools can produce.

Mr Anderson, who took up his position at Merchiston in 2018 after teaching for 20 years in boarding schools in England, said: ‘I think it is a problem in all schools.

‘I think it’s unfair to mention boys’ schools because I think it’s a social problem.

“I think it’s about how we raise young men, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

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