Schools are the most important institutions in any country. Regardless of the lack of comforts, schools are made to give us lots of knowledge. Schools even helps us make many friends from different cultural societies. It also helps us decide which career is the most suitable for us. Exams are regular to ensure that students are retaining what they are taught. Teachers are like a second set of parents for all of us. We spend more than half of our teenage years at School, a home away from home. Many people call it a temple of knowledge. We learn, grow and face many difficulties all throughout our school lives. At the end of the day, we pass out into the real world equipped with knowledge yet, schools are a hated by many of teenagers. But why? Homework, exams and studying is the main reason. Most of us are privileged to attend the best schools around the world. Canadians are known for their notorious schooling system. Though the last residential school in Canada closed in 1985, its horrific tales are still fresh in the minds of many people.
Here is a list of ten terrifying truths about the Canadian residential schools:
1. Forced assimilation
Students were forced to blend into the local Euro-Canadian culture. The native aboriginals were stripped of their identity and were forced to look like Europeans. Schools made the aboriginals cut their hair short, made them bathe in toxic chemicals to make their skin lighter and were also forced to wear only western clothing.
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2. Family separation
School has to be attended regularly and students are not allowed to take holidays. To make this mandatory, most principals in Canadian schools forcefully took away children from their parents and took them to residential schools where they were given their own room to stay in.
3. Quality of Life
Children were not taken care of properly, the quality of life in Canadian residential schools is comparable to that of some notorious prisons in Kenya. The schools were always overcrowded and lacked proper hygiene. The children were also forced into hours of gruesome labour such as washing the dishes and making food.
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4. Human experimentation
Canada was trying its best to make it big in the medicinal sector. To test their medicines children from school were used as lab rats and forced to take pills which were being tested. No child’s parents were even asked before giving the pills. All the experiments were carried out by the Federal Government.
5. Brutal punishments
Punishments included a wide number of gruesome acts. The teachers caged, beat, stripped naked and even electrocuted children as punishments. Many children were even forced to fornicate when they were sick.
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6. Sexual Abuse
This was the most common thing in Canadian residential schools. Young children were sexually abused by the priests, teachers and even senior students of the school. Many young girls who got pregnant were made to undergo abortions and many young boys were left with bleeding anuses.
This is a side effect of the abuse and experimentation the young children faced. It had become such a common thing that graveyards were built right beside schools. Death among children skyrocketed to 70% in the first five years.
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Many natives stood up strong and wanted to maintain their traditional backgrounds. To do so, protests were common in schools. But who ever organised the protest were taken the very next day out of the school premises and executed.
9. Lack of training
Students were actually attending schools to work as labour. Classes were only for 3 hours everyday and the rest of the time was spent in the fields and mowing grass. Many people did not even finish schooling till they were 25!.
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10. Breaking cultural ties
Students were segregated based on colour and creed. Whites studied in the cleanest of the classrooms whereas the blacks were taught lessons in the filthiest of classrooms. When a black student was seen interacting with a white student, he or she was immediately separated and given lashes or various other punishments.