If a girl is suspected of breaking school rules, there needn’t be a long and careful investigation.
By Gillian Howard
My name is Alice Woodward and I attended a mixed Grammar school in 1968 to 1974. Corporal punishment was a regular sight, with boys and girls being spanked and getting the slipper in class. The headmaster also gave the slipper over underpants or knickers only. He would also, on rare occasions, also cane both boys and girls in the same way.
I, along with my 3 closest friends Sylvia, Linda and Amy, had never been punished apart from when all the class got two with the slipper in the second year when we were making a noise as our teacher was late arriving. Overall, more than half the girls had been given the slipper in class as well as the class punishment, but all the boys had been given the slipper in class and most had visited the headmaster for the cane or slipper. Of the girls, 10 had visited the Headmaster; 7 got 6 with the slipper over their knickers and 3 got 6 with the cane.
It was just after Christmas that Sylvia, Amy, Linda and myself were leaving school early in order to go to the cinema for a showing of the film that was from the book we were studying for English Literature. As we walked downstairs, Sylvia gave us all a winter nip sweet to suck. Just as we reached the outside door I realised that I had left my scarf and beret in the cloakroom, so I rushed back, found them on my coat peg and put them on.
Two boys, Craig and Gerald, from upper 6th Science were in the corner and both acknowledged me as I turned to leave. Mr Hoskins, the Headmaster, was stood in the doorway.
He bellowed: “You three, to my office now. How dare you smoke in school.”
I tried to speak: “But Sir…”
“Quiet Woodward, I can smell the winter nip trying to camouflage the smell of tobacco, so don’t think that is going to stop your bottom feeling my cane. Now, all of you hurry up.”
We all hurried along the corridor and, as we passed the stairs, Sylvia was coming up and was about to speak when she realised we were following the headmaster. We arrived at his office and Craig was ushered in. I could feel the tears in my eyes and as I looked along the corridor I could see Amy, Linda and Sylvia at the top of the stairs.
I then realised that Mr Hoskins had stopped shouting and there was silence for a few minutes, then; Swoosh Thwack as the first stroke landed on Craig’s bottom. After the fourth, I heard a yelp, and they grew louder with the fifth and sixth. Then there was silence again before Craig emerged, his face wracked in pain and holding his bottom before disappearing through the hall to the common room. I noticed he had an envelope and booklet in his hand.
As I turned, Gerald was just entering the office. I heard the headmaster going on about the dangers of smoking for both his health and his bottom. I then clearly heard Gerald being asked whether I had been smoking and to tell the truth or get extra.
Then I heard the headmaster say: “Trousers down and over the chair.”
Then there followed the sound of the cane landing. It was on the second stroke that I heard him yelp and again they intensified with each stroke. After the sixth there was silence before the door opened and Gerald came out in tears clutching an envelope and booklet in one hand and his bottom in the other. He also walked slowly towards the common room.
I turned to see Mr Hoskins stood in the doorway.
“Get in here now and stop watching your partner in crime.”
I was just about to plead my innocence when he said: “Before you speak, both Taylor and Grice have refused to say you were smoking but they have also refused to say you were not smoking. On that basis, I caught you in the cloakroom where there were several cigarette stumps on the floor. Two were near where you were standing and the air was full of smoke. Add to the fact that you were sucking a strong smelling sweet leads me to conclude you were smoking, so no more. You will receive 6 strokes of the cane over your school knickers and will copy out a leaflet on the dangers of smoking by tomorrow morning. You will also take a punishment slip home for your parents to sign by the morning.”
“Now, you will remove your coat and blazer and put them over the seat of that chair. Then remove your skirt and tights and put them over the seat of the chair. You will then bend over the back of the chair and hold onto the rung at the front. Move, and you will be given extra.”
I did as I was told and was soon stood behind the chair with just my blue panties on below the waist. I stretched over the chair and felt my knickers tighten across my bottom. I heard him open a cupboard and a rattling sound as he picked out his cane. Without any ceremony, I felt what seemed like a red hot poker ignite the centre of my bottom and yelped in agony. Another landed below the first, doubling the pain, and now the tears were well and truly flowing. After the third, I was screaming in pain. The next two were lower still and I thought the pain couldn’t get any worse, but the sixth went diagonally across the other five and as I was told to stand I was dancing round clutching my burning bottom and I could feel the raised welts.
I was told to get dressed and as I bent over to put my tights on my skin tightened across my bottom and the pain increased. As I eventually got my tights over my very sore and swollen bottom, I saw Mr Hoskins finish writing in a book and then on a piece of paper. I picked up my skirt and stepped into it as Mr Hoskins picked up the cane from his desk and walked to the cupboard. As he opened the door I saw several other canes hanging from a rail. I fastened my skirt and reached for my blazer.
“Leave it there, Woodward!”
I turned as Mr Hoskins was taking a small cane from the rail.
“Woodward, what colour are school knickers?”
“Green, Sir,” I said in a very soft voice as I was still sobbing.”Correct. You are wearing blue, so that is another deliberate breach of school rules. Stand up straight and hold your left hand out at shoulder height. As I did so, he walked over and placed the cane across my hand before raising it over his shoulder and bringing it back down with such force I thought he had broken my fingers. I looked and saw a welt rise across the palm and the tears were flowing again.
I was in a trance as I slowly raised my right hand and, as the cane lashed down, I let out an almighty scream. I was told to put my blazer and coat back on and was given an envelope and booklet. I was to copy out the booklet but, as my hands were really sore, he told me I had 2 days to copy it out although I had to bring the punishment slip back tomorrow, signed by my parents.
I couldn’t turn the door handle to leave, so he did it for me and I staggered out towards the stairs. Then I saw my 3 friends rush up the stairs and cuddle me. We made our way to the bus stop and I realised that what I thought had been an absolute age was in fact only about 10 to 15 minutes.
We went to the cinema and, although in pain, managed to enjoy the film. As we made our way home the girls finally asked what I had done to be caned. I explained that he had caught Craig and Gerald smoking and there were cigarette stumps near me. Because I was suckling on a strong sweet, he assumed that I had been smoking, and Craig and Gerald wouldn’t say one way or another. So, I got 6 over my knickers. Then, as I was getting dressed he gave me another stroke across each hand for not wearing school knickers.
I also knew that I would be getting 8 with the hairbrush across my bare bottom in front of both my brothers. They got the belt off Dad when they were caned.
After dinner and we had done the washing up, mum told me to go and change into a short nightie and a pair of skimpy briefs. I put on my new white babydoll top and a pair of white nylon briefs. As I came back, the family were all sat at the kitchen table. I was told to stand in front of the fridge with my back towards them and touch my toes. I felt my knickers tighten and my nightie ride up my back. I heard mum pick up her hair brush and walk behind me, raising my nightie onto my back. When she told me to open my legs a little to give me more balance, I was embarrassed in case my dad and brothers would soon be seeing my private area. I felt mums fingers go into my knickers, but she pulled them up instead of down and they disappeared into the crack of my bottom. She then said that my modesty was protected but the areas she was going to punish were bare.
“Alice, you are not to move.”
I felt the hairbrush against my right bottom cheek before it moved and returned with such force I almost fell forward. My bottom was on fire. The next smack was on the same spot and my first scream was heard. Another 2 followed before she repeated the same on my left cheek.
As soon as she finished, I ran upstairs, took my knickers off and lay face down on the bed in tears. Somehow, while I was lay on my front, I managed to copy out the leaflet about the dangers of smoking.
I got up the following day and mum gave me my signed form. I had breakfast and, when I arrived, Craig and Gerald were waiting at the school gates. They apologised and said they thought I was playing truant and that it would be easier for me to be caned for smoking than being caned twice for truancy.
I said they should have told the truth but I accepted their reasoning.
It was my one and only school punishment and, 8 years later, I married Craig.
© Gillian Howard 2016