I wrote to Fred Richardson, the man I visited in Halifax who was another of the founders of the Grammar School and who recalls my father with enormous admiration. And he just sent back a note mentioning a controversy that took place a few years after the school was started, when a ‘dissident’ faction in the school wanted to allow their sons to be caned by the Scottish headmaster. My father and other parents refused to permit it; there was a vitriolic split, and many pulled their boys out and started another school, the Dartmouth Academy, which condoned caning – and eventually fell apart.
Fred told me it wasn’t only the issue of punishment but the fact that my father was left-wing and an atheist and a Jew that made him such a target of personal attack. Almost all the Presbyterian and Catholic families took their boys to Dartmouth. Fred writes: