Waiting for a name to be called out at Assembly, has she got away with it?

By Joanna Jones

The quiet muttering around the assembled girls sitting in the hall was more animated than usual as they waited for the weekly assembly to start. The reason was not very hard to fathom. On the stage the small vaulting horse with four wooden legs and its leather covered top was out, and the leather restraints were in place on the legs. Someone was going to be strapped in front of them at the end of assembly!

A rare event indeed.

Vicky wondered who it was; in the five years she had been at the boarding school it had happened only six times, and usually the school grapevine had done a good job of indicating who was up for it and why. However, this time she had no idea for whom, or of course why, the school’s ultimate sanction, short of suspension or expulsion, was going to be employed.

The girls all instantly quietened and stood to attention as the headmistress, Miss Halton, entered. For the next fifteen minutes assembly proceeded as normal, as if nothing unusual was going to happen. However, the underlying frisson of tension, of expectation, could not be missed. Every girl was sitting that bit straighter, the brief glances between friends that inevitably occurred were notably absent.

Finally, as the girls sat down after the hymn that always ended the event, the Headmistress turned and picked up her strap; a solid length of thick undivided leather, fully two feet in length. Its semi-rigidity was clear as she held it in one hand while the ‘business’ end tapped the other.

“Last year, a number of sixth form girls were punished in my office for attending the pub in the village, an offence that occurred far, far too often. As a result I warned this year’s sixth form that any girl seen coming out of ‘The Red Stag’ or any other such establishment would be dealt with at assembly.”

“For the first part of this term there has been no problem. However, that, girls, is sadly no longer the case.”

As Miss Halton paused and swept her eyes across the hall Vicky, while apparently sitting quietly, was in turmoil. Like her friends she remembered the headmistress’s warning to them that she was toughening the line taken on any girl foolish enough to go to the pub, probably as a result of a girl getting into ‘difficulty’, when (very) well lubricated, near the end of the summer term last year. However, after the October half term one girl had slipped in there to meet her boyfriend, and having got away with it, since then others had taken the risk for various reasons.

Vicky had indeed been in a pub that last Saturday. Betty, a childhood friend and near neighbour, had taken advantage of her recently passed driving test to visit her in her parents’ car. Betty had driven her out into the countryside and they had gone to a different pub, well away from the school, but…

She desperately prayed it was not her that had been spotted.

Miss Halton’s eyes settled on the group of upper sixth girls at the back of the hall. “Deirdre Walsh, stand up, and come up to the stage!” She demanded.

As there was a desperate squeak to her left as a chair moved, Vicky let the relief flood through her. It was not her.

As Deirdre made her way past her to get to the end of the row Vicky could not help but notice that she was already struggling with tears.

Miss Halton was meanwhile waiting angrily on the stage, her strap now gripped firmly at either end. Two other teachers had also stood. One was waiting near the edge of the stage, and the other next to the horse.

She knew why. Deirdre would need to take her blazer off, and sixth form trousers too. For younger pupils it would be gym-slip off. A strapping by the Head was invariably ‘over one layer’ and one at assembly was no different.

She also knew exactly how many strokes. It would be the maximum allowed, which was determined by your year. For the few first formers who boarded it was only four; second and third, six; fourth and fifth, eight; and for a sixth former who should, in the view of Miss Halton, know better it was a fairly unimaginable twelve.

When Vicky had been in the lower sixth a couple of housemates had visited Miss Halton’s office, and had got away with eight. Both had been utterly distraught after. Vicky felt very glad she was not in Deirdre’s shoes!

As the condemned girl slowly made her way onto the stage, Miss Halton explained how she had been observed by one of the teachers canoodling at the back in a corner with her boyfriend. It was clear that these activities were not mitigating factors!

Finally her fellow sixth former was handing over her blazer and, more reluctantly slipping off her black leather school sandals. It was difficult to miss the desperate ‘I wish I was anywhere else but here’ look as Deirdre cast her eyes on her schoolmates as her hands went to the button on her trousers. Clearly biting her lip she unclipped it and slowly slid the trousers down, giving a glimpse of some plain white knickers under her blouse, as well as her slender legs.

The hall was silent as she undressed under the steely glare of the headmistress, who then watched as she slowly and nervously padded over in her navy ankle socks to the horse.

She had to jump to get on to it, and wriggled until her stomach was right on the box and her bottom was facing the girls, with perhaps the crown being aimed slightly upwards. Deirdre’s legs and arms dangled uselessly downwards. Only the very tallest girls had a chance that their toes might reach the floor, which was not the case for Deirdre.

Meanwhile, the headmistress waited as the second teacher buckled the restraints. With her legs apart the gusset of her tightened panties alluded clearly to what was within. A strapping at assembly was the only punishment in the school where the box and restraints were used. A strapping in Miss Halton’s office was a case of ‘just’ bending over by all accounts, with a secretary being employed to hold if necessary, though Vicky had happily never been called to the dreaded office to have that experience.

From the solitary first hand report she had heard from a girl who had been dealt with on stage, the feeling of helplessness in being whacked while not being able to move even if you wanted, made it far harder to cope with, far harder to control oneself.

Miss Halton was already lining up the first blow.

Then it came. Vicky was shocked at the effort the teacher put into it. Miss Halton’s whole body seemed to twist into the stroke she thought. Despite being near the back the crack reverberated around the otherwise utterly silent hall as the leather impacted on the thin white fabric adorning Deirdre’s bottom.

There was a rather anguished gasp from the victim.

Meanwhile Miss Halton was scanning the hall, no doubt looking for any girl who might find what was happening amusing. Vicky remembered once a couple of girls from her house being sent to wait outside her office in such a circumstance. They had clearly found the subsequent punishment very unpleasant when they had reappeared.

After a pause a second blow indented the knickers. And so it slowly proceeded. By the fourth Deirdre was yelping and on the seventh she was definitely suffering as the strap landed again and again on her helpless body. Vicky shuddered with each blow as the wails turned to screams and sobs. It was hard to watch a mature, self-confident colleague being systematically reduced to a blubbering little girl.

Even from the back of the hall Vicky could see the involuntary flinching and rather desperate writhing against the straps as Deirdre struggled against the effects of the punishment. She was so glad it was not her lying immobilised on the vaulting horse, and was sure that the other sixth formers, like her, would not be taking further risks with the pub.

As the last blow was dealt to an almighty scream there was a palpable release of tension in the hall. Deirdre seemed to be barely able to walk as she was told to stand facing the back of the stage, hands on head.

Once she was in position Miss Halton faced her girls again. The faint movements of girls getting ready to file out, all along the front of the stage to see at close quarters what to expect from a thorough strapping as a final deterrent, suddenly stopped as she cleared her throat.

It was not a final admonishment to learn from Deirdre Walsh’s experience. It was four words that chilled Vicky utterly.

“Victoria Underwood, stand up!” She declared.

The horror that enveloped her was total. Immediately she knew she was done for.

It was with a sick panic she did as she was asked, and with a horrible reluctance that she complied with the command to come up to the stage. The snuffling sounds from the girl standing next to Miss Halton did not leave poor Vicky with much confidence that she was going to cope well with the forthcoming experience.

The headmistress was intimating that not only had ‘Miss Walsh’ been spotted by a schoolteacher in a pub, but that she had both gone beyond the bounds of the village without permission and, seriously, allowed herself to be driven in another young person’s car. Both individual offences in themselves were serious enough to earn a strapping at assembly, to say nothing of the pub visit.

Vicky was in a panic now. In the excitement of seeing her friend she had forgotten those rules. From the relief of a few minutes before she now found tears welling in her eyes as Miss Halton indicated that she had had difficulty in finding a punishment that did not involve suspension in such a case. However, after consultation with Vicky’s parents she had finally found one; six of the strap on her hands on the stage before the thrashing on the horse.

Vicky was appalled at the prospect of what was being suggested. Hand strappings were not common but did happen. However, never before coupled with a second to one’s rear immediately after. She wanted to run out of the hall, anywhere to get away from what was about to happen to her. Terror was the only emotion she could feel as she arrived at the edge of the stage, with Miss Halton’s comments about the appalling lack of judgment she had shown ringing in her ears.

There were involuntary tears of anticipation flowing as, under the gimlet eye of the Headteacher, she removed her blazer, shoes and finally slid her slacks down and off.

Though she was aware of the eyes of her colleagues observing her part undress, her mind was preoccupied with the thick strip of leather the headmistress was holding. She could not imagine what that strap would be like on her hands, to say nothing of her bottom. But she now had only a few moments left before finding out.

Finally she tottered over to the Head, whose angry glare did nothing to soothe her emotions.

“Hands out,” she ordered immediately.

Vicky forced herself to comply, pushing them, left-on-right, straight out in front of her. To be standing like that with one’s blouse acting as a short mini dress was nothing short of awful.

The slap rung in her ears, to be immediately replaced with excruciating pain on her palm. The awfulness of the embarrassment was nothing compared to the pain!

She screamed in shock, and it took some persuasion for her to put the throbbing hand out take the second, and then a third, before three further blows to her right hand progressively reduced her to a compete wreck. She now had two hands which seemed to be in indescribable agony, yet numb at the same time.

Vicky did not really recall how she ended up over the horse with her blouse up and her thin white underwear displayed to the world. It was a blur as she was buckled into place. Her hands were totally unable to grip the legs of the horse for support.

She did, however, remember the first blow to her rear and the terrible pain it produced. Already at the end of her tether, she screamed immediately.

On the second, her sobs that had abated somewhat during the brief pause while she’d been manhandled into her current ignominious position, had restarted.

The next two minutes or so were a blaze of pain as the strap methodically thrashed her bottom.

Finally she was released, barely able to stand. Miss Halton was a little sympathetic and allowed her to keep her hands clasped in front of her as she joined Deirdre in facing the back of the stage as the school filed past.

Finally allowed to get dressed in the empty hall, a task that Vicky’s painful hands took an age to achieve, the two girls were given the morning off in their rooms to recover.

Neither went near the pub again, and their bright red, then bruised bottoms were all too much of deterrent for their sixth form friends too, much to Miss Halton’s satisfaction at least.

The End