Br Beaufort8 was on the staff of Artane throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, having previously worked in Tralee,9 where he received a letter from Br Noonan, Superior General of the Congregation, warning him about his temper and the risk he posed of causing serious bodily harm to the boys: A still more dangerous weakness in you was mentioned in the suffrages. You are passionate in your dealings with the boys. In fact at times you show so little control of your temper that you are in danger of inflicting serious bodily harm on the boys by your manner of correcting them. Watch yourself and pray to God to give you some of His meekness and forbearance. Never punish a boy in any way except what is permitted by the Rule. Forgive easily the small failings of your pupils and in this way more good will be done than by harsh treatment.
The Investigation Committee heard evidence from complainants about Br Beaufort. A witness recalled an example of his temper, when he suffered the kind of serious bodily harm apprehended by Br Noonan. Br Beaufort thought that the boy was laughing at him in class and responded impetuously: he jumped straight at me, picked me up, threw me like a dog around the place. I hit desks, hit the floor. I landed after some time on the floor. The commotion of boys screaming had brought Br Quintrell,10 who was in 11 school, which was the next school, he flew in and pulled him off. I know I was unconscious, and I know to God that if it hadn’t been for him coming in, I do not think I would be here today, in all honesty. The attack was vicious. Moments later, he was apologising, crying.
At the time of this incident, the boy was recovering from injuries to his hand sustained from an accident in the carpenter’s shop, which was confirmed by the infirmary records. The wounds opened in the assault by Br Beaufort. In addition, the witness complained of lacerations and injuries to his left eye and neck. Some of his teeth were broken, he lost one tooth on one side of his mouth and two on the other. He was brought to the infirmary after the attack and when he had quietened down he was taken to the dormitory. Until this incident he had had no difficulty with Br Beaufort, whom he described as friendly.
Another witness, who was in Artane from 1945 to 1950, claimed that Br Beaufort oscillated between kindness and impetuous violence.
The next Visitor noted that ‘instances of harsh treatment and severe punishment of boys’ by Br Eriq had been brought to his attention and that he, along with Br Beaufort, had been warned of the ‘possible evil consequences to the reputation of the school and to themselves personally of immoderate punishment of the boys’. Both expressed regret and promised to be ‘more watchful over themselves in their necessary correction of the boys’.
The first of these letters was written in the mid-1930s. Br Jules was sent a letter congratulating him on being admitted to perpetual vows. The letter also stated: You incline to the harsh side in school both in language and in inflicting bodily pain. Pupils hate sarcasm and they have a keen sense of what is just and fair in punishment. If you would secure respect for yourself and for your teaching be kind and just towards your pupils. It is said you are a poor student yourself. Perhaps it is due to your failure to make preparation for your work as a teacher that your pupils are made to suffer doubly.
A letter, written in the late 1930s, confirming to Br Beaufort his admission to perpetual vows, warned him about his temper: A still more dangerous weakness in you was mentioned in the suffrages. You are passionate in your dealings with the boys. In fact at times you show so little control of your temper that you are in danger of inflicting serious bodily harm on the boys by your manner of correcting them. Watch yourself and pray to God to give you some of His meekness and forbearance. Never punish a boy in any way except what is permitted by Rule. Forgive easily the small failings of your pupils and in this way more good will be done than by harsh treatment.
This Brother was in Tralee from the mid to late 1930s, having previously worked in Carriglea in the early 1930s. One Visitation Report during that time made the following reference to him: The main defect in Br Beaufort is his violent temper which on some occasions vented itself on the boys, but he is sorry afterwards and I am satisfied that he is on his guard against this defect and is striving to correct it.
The letter warning Br Beaufort about his temper was sent to him less than three months later. Notwithstanding that warning, his temper was again mentioned by the Visitor less than six months later. The Visitor referred to him as having at times ‘an uncontrolled temper’. The Visitor also noted that both he and Br Eriq (mentioned above) had been warned of the ‘possible evil consequences to the reputation of the school and to themselves personally’. Both had expressed regret about their behaviour.
Br Beaufort moved to Artane after leaving Tralee. He stayed there for 15 years, and the Committee heard complaints from ex-pupils of Artane about severe and abusive physical punishment by him. Documented cases of physical abuse: Br Millard