Punishment for Stealing Beans at File Hills Residential School


Sam Bear, a 17 year old grade 8 student at File Hills School in 1926, was caught stealing a mouthful of beans from the kitchen. As punishment, Sam was forced to eat nothing but beans at a table setup just for him in the middle of the dinning room in front of his fellow students. When Sam refused to eat anymore beans the matron held his mouth open and "shoved in the beans." This punishment went on for about a month.

This form of punishment reflects a pattern of abuse that was endemic throughout the Residential School System. Punishments for infractions by the students, even minor ones, were often unjustifiably cruel and malicious. Punishments often included an element of publicly shaming students in front of their peers as is seen in this particular instance. For more information on the abuse within residential schools see; 'Physical Abuse in Residential Schools' and 'Runaways and Student Truancy in the Residential Schools.