A mother authorises her daughter to be caned
By Robert Roberts
Sandra perched on the edge of her breakfast bar stool, a dish of cooling porridge untouched. Her thoughts of breakfast were a million miles away. She gazed into space, pondering her fate. A caning to be administered by her housemistress. Yes, she had received a couple of unofficial in-class slipperings when she was younger, but her parents’ previous refusal to sign the consent form for corporal punishment had helped her to avoid an encounter with the cane. So today’s punishment was going to be something else. Eight licks of the cane across the seat of her skirt.
Sandra’s mother entered the kitchen and broke her daughter’s train of thought. Elaine Davies could see her daughter was stressing and knew the reason. She wished she could alleviate the girl’s anxiety.
“Sandy. You are strong enough to deal with this.” She added hopefully, “It will all be over by this time tomorrow and I bet you’ll be joking about it with your friends.”
“Not over for my bottom,” responded a concerned Sandra. “After Fiona was caned she was still feeling it next day and the marks were still visible the following week. And she was teased remorselessly by her friends. I know because I teased her and so I can expect to receive the same.”
Elaine smiled sympathetically and wrapped an arm around Sandra’s shoulders, kissed her forehead and gave her a squeeze.
“Why do you have to sign the consent form?” complained Sandra. “I could serve a suspension.”
“You, me and your dad discussed this last night. Everything that had to be said was said. We agreed you taking the cane was the best option.”
Sandra’s housemistress, Mrs Owen, had telephoned Sandra’s mother, Elaine, yesterday afternoon and explained that Sandra and her friend, Robert Groves, had skipped school the previous day, apparently to attend a political rally in a nearby town. The mandatory punishment for truancy was six strokes of the cane, and two extra for Sandra because she was a prefect.
Mrs Owen continued. “We don’t seem to have written parental consent for Sandy to be caned.”
“We are against corporal punishment,” confirmed Elaine. “If Sandy has contravened the rules she must be punished. What alternatives can you offer? Her father and myself will lecture her sternly and ground her for a few days and withdraw privileges, but we don’t believe in corporal punishment.”
A polite discussion followed with both the housemistress and Sandra’s mother putting over their points of view.
“The only alternative to a caning is a five day suspension,” explained Mrs Owen. “I don’t think this would be appropriate. Sandy would be thinking she has got away with a five day holiday. Time off school, serving a suspension, would be detrimental to her studies. Please give serious consideration to her being given the cane. Short, sharp and effective. I’ll send her home with the consent form. If you agree, she can return with the signed form, receive her caning and we can draw a line under this whole unfortunate incident.”
Unaware that her mother and housemistress had spoken earlier in the afternoon, it was the last lesson of the day and Sandra was wondering what her punishment would be for skipping school. Confident she would not be caned because her parents would not sign the consent form. Poor Robert. He had been told he would be getting six tomorrow morning after assembly. The school secretary entered the classroom and asked if Sandy Davies was in the room.
“This is it,” thought Sandra. “I’m about to learn my fate. Probably suspension. Mum and dad will be furious.”
Sandra raised her hand.
“Sandy. Take this letter home to your parents and return the signed form tomorrow morning.”
Sandra took the sealed envelope from the secretary and felt, justifiably, rather uncomfortable.
The next few hours in the Davies household were not pleasant. Sandra’s parents berated her for skipping school, but she stood her ground trying to get them to understand her strong political beliefs and how necessary it was for her to take time off school to attend the political rally. Without any kind of agreement for her actions, the discussion turned to an appropriate punishment for her truancy. Sandra remained confident that a caning would not be sanctioned by her parents but ominously her mother, especially her mother after having had a telephone conversation with Mrs Owen, began to suggest a caning might be the favoured option. The heated argument drifted backwards and forwards with Hugh Davies eventually reluctantly agreeing with his wife. He was against corporal punishment, especially when applied to girls, but with Sandra not showing any remorse and even threatening to take more time off school to engage in political activities, he felt drastic action was needed.
Sandra’s parents had always encouraged her to put forward her case. When breaking the rules at home, she was given the opportunity to explain and they would listen to possible mitigating circumstances before announcing any punitive measures, which always excluded corporal punishment. So it came as a shock to Sandra when her mother scribbled her signature on the consent form to permit her daughter to be caned.
“Are you sure, darling?” Hugh Davies addressed his wife as she sealed the envelope.
“It’s done, Hugh. I don’t know how else to deal with this.”
“Well, it’s late and I’m off to bed. Sorry, Sandy, but you have brought this upon yourself.” Whereupon Hugh departed the room.
Sandra pleaded with her mother. “You have always said corporal punishment was uncivilised and would never agree for me to receive it.”
“This was my belief, but I never intended to give you a pass on punishment for misbehaviour. You have responded well to alternative punishments and have grown up to become a lovely, kind and sensible young lady without the threat of corporal punishment. But you are now eighteen and this political nonsense has turned your head, resulting in truancy and might possibly affect your school performance.”
“I’m scared mum.”
“And I’m scared for you Sandy. Off to bed. It’s late.”
Next morning. “If you’re not going to eat your porridge throw it in the bin,” suggested Elaine. “Perhaps a cup of coffee?”
“I really can’t believe you are doing this to me, mum,” sulked Sandra as her Mum poured her a cup of coffee.
“Darling, you’ve got some growing up to do today. I suggest you show a mature attitude. Accept responsibility for your actions, take the consequences, learn and move on.”
Not what Sandra wanted to hear. She angrily jumped up from the breakfast bar and announced she was going to take a shower and get dressed for school.
“I’ll give you a lift to school,” said Elaine.
“Why? Don’t you trust me to go? Do you think I might run away?” retorted Sandra, angrily.
Elaine let the outburst go. Normally she would not tolerate backchat from her daughter but today she realised Sandra was under pressure.
The car journey to school was in strained silence. They arrived at the school car park.
“Good luck darling. Be brave. Have you got the form?”
Elaine leaned towards her daughter to give her a kiss, but was firmly rejected. Sandra, in a deep sulk, got out of the car, slamming the door shut, carrying her school books and the dreaded signed parental consent form for her to receive corporal punishment.
“I’ll pick you up after school,” offered Elaine through the open car window.
“Don’t bother,” shouted Sandra, and she marched off to the secretary’s office.
Elaine felt some guilt as she watched her daughter head towards the staircase leading to the offices. She wondered how her daughter would cope. Sandra arrived at the office and, to her consternation, the housemistress, Mrs Owen, happened to be there, talking to one of the secretaries.
“Ah, Sandy! Good morning. You have a letter for me?”
Sandra handed over the envelope and Mrs Owen ripped it open and nodded her approval.
“Good decision. Come and see me at 4 o’clock after lessons have ended for the day. I will be dealing with your accomplice after morning assembly.”
Sandra shuddered at the thought of her friend, Robert Groves, being caned after registration and assembly in just a few minutes time, and her own caning this afternoon. She couldn’t make up her mind. Would she prefer to be caned immediately and get it out of the way but suffer a sore bottom all day, or have the proceedings delayed until later and then go home where she could get some aftercare? It didn’t matter. It was out of her control.
Registration followed by morning assembly. Sandra managed to catch Robert on his way to his rendezvous with Mrs Owen.
“Good luck. I’ll meet up with you at morning break.”
Robert smiled weakly. Having previously received three strokes of the cane for swearing in class, he was aware that he was in for a very uncomfortable day, but he also had concern for Sandra when she told him that her mother had given way to Mrs Owen’s wishes and she was also going to get the cane.
Double maths, followed by mid-morning break when Sandra tried to locate Robert but could not find him. She had to wait until lunchtime and her worst fears were confirmed. Robert was in a state. His eyes were red and he was obviously in pain, moving with some difficulty. He related his painful experience to Sandra.
“It was tough. I was in agony. She really laid it on. She said there was no shame crying but perhaps I wouldn’t want my friends to see me so she gave me a pass to the library for the morning.”
As sorry as she was for her friend, she was starting to panic at the thought or her own forthcoming encounter with the cane. Robert detected this and tried to reassure her.
“It’s your first time so she will be lenient,” he suggested, not knowing if this was true.
After lunch, of which Sandra did not partake, she had a one-hour General Studies class and then a free study period up to 4 o’clock. She stayed in the sixth form prefects’ room accompanied by her friend, Fiona, who was trying to comfort and reassure her.
“A caning is not pleasant but it’s manageable,” proffered Fiona, who had recently had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of her housemistress’s wrath, culminating in four sharp cuts to her ample backside.
As 4 o’clock approached, the prefects’ room began to swell with prefects, chattering, laughing, swapping stories and preparing to leave for home. Some of the girls were sympathetic towards Sandra, but most just accepted that caning was part of school life. Most had received it and now it happened to be Sandra’s turn.
Twenty minutes to 4 o’clock and the door burst open. There stood the dominant figure of Mrs Owen, and respectful silence greeted her sudden and unexpected arrival. She surveyed the room, quietly pleased that her presence commanded such deference and motioned to those girls who had jumped up from their chairs to be seated.
“Sandy!” she addressed the unfortunate girl who, in a panic, jumped to her feet, loudly scraping her chair on the tiled floor, all eyes on her.
“It’s not 4 o’clock, Miss,” she mumbled anxiously, thinking perhaps she had got the time wrong.
“Calm down, girl. I’m suddenly required to attend a meeting at 4 o’clock. We can deal with you now or wait until after assembly tomorrow morning. Your choice.”
Sandra could not think clearly and words failed her as she grappled with what would seem to be a straightforward request.
“It’s not a trick question, Sandy. Now or tomorrow morning?” repeated Mrs Owen.
Fiona tugged on Sandra’s sleeve. “Now, Sandy. You don’t want to be thinking about this overnight.”
“Good advice,” remarked the housemistress. “Come on, girl. It will only take a couple of minutes and you will be back here with your friends before you know it. Probably wondering what all the fuss was about,” she added unconvincingly.
She held the door open and beckoned Sandra through, and the two of them made their way to the housemistress’s study. Sandra, despite her anxiety, noticed Mrs Owen was showing no anger or ill-will towards her. In fact, she appeared quite friendly and chatty.
“I spoke to your mother yesterday on the telephone. She speaks with a lot of common sense and clearly thinks the world of you.”
“She betrayed me,” blurted Sandra. “I’ve grown up wrongly thinking she did not want to see me hurt.”
They reached Mrs Owen’s study and entered. “Your mother wants what is best for you, as do I. A sound caning will bring home to you the stupidity of skipping school and missing out on your studies. Look at this, not so much as a punishment, but as an incentive not to repeat the silliness.”
Mrs Owen silently reflected. She knew Sandra was an intelligent student with, until now, a near perfect disciplinary record. She actually liked and respected her and recalled she had submitted her name for consideration to be appointed Head Girl. Under the present circumstances it was perhaps fortunate another girl had been selected. She felt no animosity towards the trembling and anxious girl, but her duty and responsibility was to administer appropriate punishment.
Sandra looked around her housemistress’s study with some trepidation. She had been there before, but never for disciplinary reasons. Nervously, her eyes wandered, searching for that wicked instrument that would soon bestow indescribable pain upon her firm, flawless bottom.
Speaking with authority but not unkindly, Mrs Owen issued an instruction. “Please remove your blazer. There’s a coat hanger on the back of the door, and then you’ll need to slip off your skirt.”
“My skirt Miss?” asked Sandra with nervous surprise.
“Yes please. We don’t want it getting in the way. Place it on the sofa.”
Mrs Owen looked on with interest. The scenario of a student preparing for the ordeal aroused her. Analysing her own thoughts, she had concluded it was the act of being able to exercise control that she found appealing. Her modus operandi was to bring the errant student into her office, establish the facts, get an acknowledgement of the transgression, admonish and explain the punishment that would be dispensed. She would then send the student away to return later for the caning. Never cane in anger. To successfully cane a student the recipient would have to be compliant and so she attempted to carry out the caning in a more friendly and cordial atmosphere compared with the preceding lecture. She observed the varying ways the students each handled their predicament, some stoically with a calmness and resignation, pleased the torment of waiting was nearly over, others timid, embarrassed and needing support to get through their nightmare. She took no pleasure inflicting pain, but accepted that either the threat or the actual delivery of the cane was what enabled her to maintain control in the school.
“This is so demeaning,” lamented the proud girl, embarrassed by the instruction to remove her skirt. Surely her modesty could be spared with the whacking administered over her skirt.
“It’s a formality required to facilitate an efficient caning. I’m not going to change the procedures just for you. So, I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to bend over and grab your ankles, keeping your head down.”
The insincere politeness of the housemistress irked Sandra, but she had no option. Silently cursing her mother for allowing this barbaric attack on her bottom, she reached for her ankles.
The memory of the shock of receiving that first stroke of the cane never left Sandra. She howled as the intensity of the resulting burn spread across her bottom. Shouting, pleading, sobbing as each of the eight strokes relentlessly chased across her stretched and exposed buttocks. Twice she was ordered back into position with the threat that the school secretary would be summoned to hold her.
The eighth and final stroke, not delivered with any extra harshness, left her kneeling on the floor, crying and mumbling that she was in agony and how unfairly she had been treated. Mrs Owen was used to all sorts of reactions from students she had just caned and was not impressed with Sandra’s whining, but she gave her a couple of minutes before telling her to stop snivelling and compose herself.
“Sandy. I administered a lenient caning to you because I considered Robert talked you into this nonsense and he took the full force of your wrongdoings. Get yourself off home. Reflect on your bad decision and tomorrow is a new day. Slate wiped clean. Go!”
Sandra just stopped herself from saying, “You know nothing. I was the instigator. He followed me because he wants to be my boyfriend.”
Gingerly stepping into her tight-fitting skirt and putting on her blazer, she stumbled out of the housemistress’s office and made her way back to the sixth form room. Now empty except for her waiting friend Fiona who gave her sympathy and comfort. After a few minutes she was ready to painfully make her way home. Mixed feelings when she saw her mother waiting for her in the car park. Glad she did not have to walk home, but still angry with her mother.
She eased herself gently into the passenger seat and gratefully acknowledged the soft cushion her mother had placed there.
“How was it, sweetheart?” asked her concerned mother.
“Oh! It was such an enjoyable experience. You should try it sometime. How do you think it was?” snapped Sandra.
“No need for the sarcasm, Sandy. I’ve worried about you all day. When did you get it?”
“Just now, and it’s very painful.”
“Was Mrs Owen horrible?” asked her mother.
“Actually, she was quite friendly. I think she likes me but that didn’t stop her laying it on. The whole caning thing is wrong, mum. It should be banned.”
Over the next three years, after successfully obtaining good A-level results, Sandra Davies went to St. Andrews University to study politics. Her teenage interest in politics continued to develop and the painful caning she received in pursuit of her interest did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm. She loved canvassing on the doorstep and productively used her university degree studies to carry out research on behalf of her local political party. Moving up through the ranks, she became known and respected by the hierarchy, especially the local sitting Member of Parliament. This gave Sandra confidence to approach him concerning her pet subject of banning the use of the cane in schools.
A free vote was going to be held in Parliament; the motion being to ban canings of schoolchildren in the state schools. Sandra presented a paper to her MP including a reference to the caning she had received at school. He was most impressed with her reasoned arguments.
“I was going to vote to maintain the status quo, but you have convinced me to support the motion. I don’t think we’ll succeed. I’m expecting the motion to fail.”
The rest is history. The parliamentary vote was taken on 22nd July 1986 and surprisingly the motion was carried by one vote. Sandra’s intervention had made the difference. She remained proud of this achievement for the rest of her life.
© Robert Roberts 2021