38826: Alleged Assault by a Lewis Schoolmaster

Court case involving William Bruce, Knockiandue School

In the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Weir MP for Ross-shire, asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he will cause inquiry to be made into a case of alleged assaults on 13 January last by the Schoolmaster of Knockiandue School, Keose,.Lochs, Island of Lewis upon a boy, aged 13 years, a pupil of that school, reported to the Procurater Fiscal for the Island of Lewis, whether he is aware that the Procurator Fiscal in making enquiry into the case, sought no information from the parents or parents to the School Board, of which he, the Procurator Fiscal is Clerk and that he never brought the case before the School Board; whether he will state what other offices the Fiscal holds, the amount of his commission fees, or allowances from private parties for prosecutions for the year ending 31 March 1893 and on what transactions these commissions, fees or allowances were paid and whether he is aware that many children in the district are not attending school whilst the School Board take no notice of the fact.

Sir George Trevalyan – I am informed by the Procurator Fiscal that he carefully investigated the allegations of undue severity towards pupils made against the Headmaster of Knockiandue Public School and deemed it advisable to institute proceedings. After an exhaustive trial before the Sheriff of Ross and Cromarty, in the course of which he heard evidence from school children, parents, the Compulsory Attendance Officer, the parish Doctor and Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools, the Headmaster was acquitted. I think it right to add that the Inspector of Schools gave testimony in his evidence to the efficienty anbd success of the Headmaster and I understand that the attendance at Knockiandue School is about the best in the Parish.The Fiscal holds under authority from the Sheriff the offices of clerk to the School Board of Lewis and the office of Secretary to the Piers and Harbours Commissioners. During the year ended 31 March 1893, he did not conduct any prosecution on behalf of private parties and he reeceived no commission fees, or allowances in respect of any such prosecutions. The School Board and managers intimated before the trial their willingness to hear the complaints at the first meeting of the new School Board which was recently elected. That meeting takes place today.

Extract from the Highland News, 14 March 1894

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