After punishing a girl and boy, the headmistress thought they would be no more trouble.

By Joanna Jones

To see David Richards outside my office was not a surprise. He had been there quite a few times in his school career and had already visited me this year, despite being in the upper sixth. Angela Williams, however, was another matter; never in trouble, she had only been in my office to receive her prefect’s badge which, judging by the rather worried look on her face and the way she was sub-consciously fingering it, was an object she was not confident of keeping much longer.

I had just been passed a note by my secretary. Unusually it was from Mr Grimes, the school janitor, rather than a teacher. He had found the two in the school’s boiler room, well off limits, in what, judging by the description, can only be described as a fairly compromising position. How compromising a position was not clear. The question for me was what to do about it. As far as I was concerned there were two issues; first, how had they had gained access to a normally locked room, and second, what exactly had they been doing in there.

Before calling them in, I reflected on the two eighteen year olds waiting outside my office.

David, while not especially blessed academically, he was a slightly below average sixth former, was gifted with both extremely handsome looks and a honeyed tongue, should he see fit to use it. As one of the other female teachers had commented on his attempts to mitigate a punishment in the past, ‘he could charm the birds out of the trees’. Unfortunately the boy also knew it and the trail of broken female hearts that he left behind him was something even the teachers were aware of.

Which brings me to Angela. While pretty, she was intensely studious and hard working. What one would call a serious, quiet girl. She did not seem David’s normal type, nor would I have put David as the sort of boy she would associate with. However, the teenage mind and heart are strange things.

It was time to see what they had to say for themselves and I went to the door myself to call them in.

They both jumped when they saw me at my door. “Richards, Williams, into my office!”

They both shuffled in and stood in front of my desk. I sat looking at them for quite some time as they shifted uncomfortably in front of me.

David had a look that I can only describe as nervously defiant. Angela, on the other hand, was clearly just nervous to the point of near panic.

“So Richards,” I asked. “What puzzles me most is how you have a key to the school boiler room.”

I held the key that Mr Grimes had confiscated up as I said this.

The story, told with many pauses and looks at each other, was that Angela had distracted our school caretaker with a problem in one of the girls’ toilets, and David had managed to purloin it in the interval. Mr Grimes had only noticed the key missing from his office sometime later, and had used his spare to check on the room, finding them in there near the end of the school lunch break.

What they admitted to having been up to was a quick kiss and cuddle, and with no evidence otherwise I had to accept that.

I took my time considering what to do with the two. “The theft of a key and using it to access a dangerous location are very serious issues, and what you were doing there was unacceptable.” I started, then: “Williams, I am very surprised and disappointed in you. The only mitigating factor is that this is the first time you have been in trouble. You will receive four strokes of the cane. Further your involvement in the theft clearly shows the trust placed in you was mistaken. You are no longer a prefect.”

As I turned to David I noticed that Angela’s tears had started. Perhaps she thought the loss of her status was the worse punishment. I expected quite a few more tears by the time I finished with her, when she realised how painful a caning could be.

“Richards, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen you in my office. Anyone would think you enjoyed being caned! I am going to award you eight of the cane since clearly the six you got two months ago has had so little effect in modifying your behaviour. I will also be asking Mr Hopkins to ensure that this punishment is more memorable!

I noticed David gulp at the mention of eight. It was a long time since any pupil had been given more than a classic six of the best. He would be gulping more when he realised that my note to my deputy meant he was going to be the first pupil in about five years to get a caning on his underpants. While I could cane boys, LEA rules did not allow male staff to cane girls. Having worked hard against discrimination throughout my career, and being one of a very small number of female Headteachers in a mixed school at the time, I felt strongly that equality should work both ways. Completing my note, which also encouraged my deputy not to hold back, I called in my secretary to escort the hapless boy to his doom.

Back to Angela. I looked at her unsympathetically. “Your badge please.” I said.

She reluctantly took it off and I placed it on my desk to remind me to find a more deserving recipient.

I got out a fairly thin cane (much lighter than the cane I knew her boyfriend would be experiencing) and flexed it. “Do you want it on your hands or knickers?”

“Hands, please.” was the immediate reply. I was surprised; most opted for their backsides – more embarrassing but less painful. (The pleated uniform kilts made caning over a skirt unfortunately impractical, hence I compensated by using lighter canes than Mr Hopkins employed on the boys.)

“Very well, hand out!”

After a bit of adjustment I placed the cane diagonally across her palm.

She watched the cane rise and clenched her mouth in a grimace as it swished down with a ‘thwip’ onto her hand. She gasped and clamped her hands together as the pain registered. I gave her a few seconds then said: “And again.” Slowly the hand was proffered and I placed a second stripe across her palm.

She gasped and moaned. “Oh, oh, oh.” She was now crying again.

“Other hand Angela.” I ordered

“Please no, no,” she said frantically.

“We can start again over your knickers if you prefer.” I replied,

It was clear that option did not appeal. Her right hand shot out quickly to prevent any further discussion of alternatives. I whipped the cane down hard twice, eliciting two cries of pain and plenty of tears. She was a very sorry girl as she watched me complete her entry in the punishment book. By this point afternoon lessons had begun, so I had the secretary escort her to her class, and then ensure the same treatment for Mr Richards. A tear-stained face both added to the embarrassment and served as a deterrent to others.

As I settled down to work, I was pretty confident Angela would not be back in my office again.

How wrong I was!

It was at the afternoon interval that I was called to the sixth form common room, where two of my colleagues had apparently broken up a serious fight between a boy and girl. This was the first time in my six year tenure that something like this had happened.

As I accompanied the Head of Maths to the room I asked who was involved. He listed four boys and three girls who had been egging the main protagonists on, but the names went over my head. A sense of foreboding had filled me on hearing the names he had said first, the main culprits, Angela Williams and David Richards.

There were two teachers watching over the sixth formers. Meanwhile the school nurse was clearly tending some nasty scratches on David’s face. Angela held a tissue to what was a bleeding nose. My sense of foreboding increased.

As soon as the pupils saw me the quiet was replaced with a form of bedlam as accusation and counter-accusation flew as to what had happened. Everybody seemed to want to get their side of the story in first.

I had to shout to get myself heard. I was furious. Having got silence I explained in no uncertain terms how seriously this incident had to be viewed. I then escorted the seven ‘witnesses’ to my office in absolute silence, leaving the school nurse to watch over the two protagonists, with a warning that they were not to communicate with each other in any way.

Once I had the seven outside my office, I informed them that their behaviour in failing to stop the fight meant that they were all vulnerable to punishment, up to and including suspension. I would decide what after interviewing each individually as to what had happened. I expected the absolute truth, no fudging. Any pupil who clearly lied to me could face much more serious sanctions. I left Mrs Smith watching over them with strict instructions not to permit any form of communication between them.

My intimidation before and during the interviews seemed to work as the stories I extracted, while biased on boy/girl lines, were similar enough. Seven accounts later I sat in my office appalled.

To cut a long story short it appeared that David had bet his friends he could get any girl in the sixth form to ‘make-out’ with him within a month. His ‘friends’ had singled out Angela as the target. To prove his success David had, by means unclear to me, acquired Angela’s undergarments, which had been shown to all in the common room as a trophy, as David unceremoniously ‘dumped’ Angela as his girlfriend, insulting her in the process. I now at least knew why Angela had been so keen earlier to take her caning on her hands.

Humiliated, Angela had lost her temper and flown at him, in part to get her underwear back, but she also attacked him scratching his face. That, probably coupled with the pain reactivated in his bottom as he fell to the floor under the assault, had led to him retaliating.

My first instinct was to expel them both, and in the case of David Richards I would not have had a moment’s regret. However, to do that I would need to kick Angela Williams out too, and on reflection that sanction and consequences so close to her examinations seemed disproportionately harsh for what was a single (admittedly very bad) misjudgment.

I called Mr Hopkins in for his view. His opinion was similar to my own and eventually we worked out a plan that stopped short of using the ultimate sanction.

He fetched David from the common room, and I eventually got the same story out of him. He did indeed put on his most charming attitude through this, but it cut no ice with me. I retrieved from him Angela’s item of clothing and lectured him long and hard on respect for others and misuse of his gifts. I then, with him present, phoned his mother and went through not only what had happened but also his recent disciplinary record.

He cringed through this. Eighteen he may have been, but he had behaved like a spoiled brat. He gulped when I told him his punishment: six of the best on his hands, one week suspension, and a further eight strokes on his underpants when he returned. I also warned him that if he ever appeared in my office again, no matter how minor the offence, I would expel him.

After arranging with his parents to pick him up he went off with Mr Hopkins to get the first installment of his punishment. To his credit at least he had the good grace not to plead as I announced his fate.

The school nurse was still watching over Angela when I went to escort her back to my office, and she was relieved to get back to her normal duties.

Angela managed to keep herself together as she passed the seven still sitting outside my office, but once inside and being interviewed it was a different story. The tears started immediately. Her first comment was a desperate: “Please don’t expel me.”

I wanted the truth out of her so I did not immediately reassure her, but demanded the truth. I knew most of it of course, but I wanted reassurance on one point, as much for her sake as mine.

I pulled out of my top drawer some white cotton. “Are these yours?” I asked.

Seeing them put her into a quite uncontrollable state, but eventually she calmed down enough to tell me that she had not gone as far as I feared. Apparently he’d kissed her legs going up and then “down there” as well as using his hands to rub her in the same location, but nothing more. As to how he’d got them she was mortified to admit she’d given them to him when he’d asked, she could not coherently explain why.

On reflection one could not fail to be impressed with the talents of our ‘Casanova’; I pitied any girl he took his fancy to at University or beyond.

Having satisfied myself on that front. I decided to put her out of her misery and tell her her punishment. I had decided to give her a slightly milder version of the same punishment as young Mr Richards. She had already turned eighteen so again I really only needed her agreement, but I phoned her parents and gave them the story and informed them she would be suspended for three days, in addition to receiving eight of the best on her backside now, and four on her hands on her return.

Once finished I looked at her and told her how close she’d come to being expelled and if she ever got into trouble again I would seriously be looking at that option. Then it was time for her caning.

“Take off your skirt and bend over my desk here.” I said, then: “Oh, and you’ll be needing these,” as I pushed her undergarment towards here. She kicked off her shoes, and pulled them on before removing her skirt and bending over. Her white knickers were stretched tightly over a rather rounded target.

I selected a senior cane this time, identical to the one Mr Hopkins would have applied to David earlier that day. It was the first time I had used it, but I was very angry, and felt a lesson needed to be learnt.

I was not going to hold back and decided it would be fairer to call Mrs Smith in and have her held from the beginning. Eight from the senior cane was going to be a harsh first experience for her rear end, and to be fair her hands were probably in no state to grip the far side of my desk tightly, having been caned only a couple of hours or so previously.

She was moaning through the tears right from the start. Mrs Smith gripped her wrists hard on the other side of the desk and pulled her tighter across it than she perhaps would have done voluntarily. I then lined the cane up high on her knickers and lashed it down to a scream from the girl. Taking my time I lined up the second just below and lashed it down again, getting another desperate reaction from Angela. I slowly worked down the target area. By the fourth stroke the screams and struggles she put up confirmed my judgment in having her held, she was in no state to control herself by that point.

Angela to my mind was no coward though, but right from the beginning I had used all the force I could muster and I could see the impressive red weals forming on her lower buttocks around the edges of her knickers on the fifth and sixth blows. The last two strokes cracked onto the base of her buttocks, essentially entirely unprotected, and taking my time I was able to watch the white lines turn to red, the beginnings of what would be welts to remind her of the folly of this day every time she sat down for quite sometime.

Having completed the punishment, I signalled to Mrs Smith to let her go, but Angela just lay there sobbing. Finally I raised her up and she gradually regained some composure. After struggling to put her skirt on she staggered out to wait for her parents. Her last words were, perhaps oddly, to thank me for giving her another chance and a promise not to let me down. This time I knew Angela would be keeping out of further trouble.

As I escorted her out to the outer office with Mrs Smith, I invited seven very worried looking sixth formers in. Having heard Angela’s screams and pleas they could be under little doubt that I was not in a good mood! After a brief lecture I told them their punishments; none of them had tried to stop the fight and in addition the boys had been party to the bet. As a result I sent the boys to Mr Hopkins for six stokes each, trousers down. One of the boys was a prefect and I took his badge. As for the girls, I awarded three strokes of the cane each, and again the two girls who were prefects found themselves stripped of that rank. Perhaps I was harsh, but my irritation with what had happened, and what could have happened was still high.

For the girls I did not bother changing the cane to the shorter, thinner one I normally used, nor gave them the choice of having it on their hands. I simply ordered them to take off their skirts. Perhaps not wishing to seem cowardly in the presence of their friends, or perhaps too fear-stricken, based on the noises heard from Angela’s thrashing, they all accepted this without demur. I watched as each of them unzipped themselves at the side, let the garment drop to a pool around their shoes, then pick up and place the skirt on a chair in the corner of the room.

Soon three pairs of thin cotton or nylon were displayed over three very nervous bottoms as the girls faced the wall. In turn I ordered them over my desk and whacked each of them thrice with the senior cane, first right across the middle of their bottom, a second lower down and a final one across the base of their buttocks where they would be sitting. In each case the third gave me another clear view of the development of the angry mark that they would sport for a good few days. Three girls, who probably had been confident of remaining un-caned throughout their school careers, were each reduced to tears in a matter of seconds.

As they replaced their skirts and slunk out, the bell for the end of the school day went. I was relieved, and decided that an early finish was definitely in order.

Angela was the only time as Headteacher that I had to cane a girl twice on the same day.

The End