Trouble ensues when the strict school uniform regulations are not adhered to.

By Gillian Howard

In 1967 I passed my 11+ exam and was rewarded with a place at our local grammar school. The school had gone co-educational the previous year because our small town could not support two separate grammar schools. I was the first member of our family to pass the 11+ and my parents and grand parents were really proud of me.

At junior school my behaviour was generally very good although I had been told off several times and was once sent out to stand in corridor for an hour. At this time it was common for pupils to receive corporal punishment and we had heard that at the secondary school it was very common for teachers to cane pupils in front of the class on a regular basis. At the grammar School we had heard that corporal punishment still took place but not as often.

My name is Emma Stiles and along with my two best friends, Jane and Christine, we set off on September 4th 1967 to start at our new school. We all felt excited but at the same time very nervous and we wore our pristine uniforms for the first time; navy blue skirts which were about four inches above the knee, white ankle socks and white blouse with a navy and yellow tie. The boys wore short navy trousers for the first two years and a white shirt and school tie. We all wore a navy blazer with the school badge on the pocket and the boys wore a navy cap with the school badge and the girls a navy beret with the school badge.

As we arrived we were all ushered into the assembly hall and after assembly all first years had to remain behind as the rest of the school left. The Headmaster then went through the procedure at the school and what happened at lunch time, the hours we would be at school and all the other rules etc.

Then he went on to explain the discipline procedure explaining that teachers could issue lines, detentions, smack, slipper or give the ruler to children. If children were referred to the Headmaster for punishment then he could carry out the same punishment but generally harder and he could also administer the cane over the buttocks with one item of clothing for protection.

At this point I heard the boy behind say: “That doesn’t bother me.”

I looked round and said: “It does me.”

The Headmaster then said: “Before I leave you to be divided into your classes and start your education at this school, could the girl in the middle of the second row and the boy sat behind her please come to the front now.”

I looked round and then realised that he was talking to me and I could feel myself blushing as I made my way to the front.

“What is your name girl?” He said in a quiet voice.

“Emma Stiles, sir.”

“And what is your name boy?”

“James Redmond, sir.”

The Headmaster then said: “Well Emma Stiles and James Redmond, I have brought you out to explain to you and everybody else that when I or any other member of staff are talking, you do not talk among yourselves or else!”

He then walked behind us and delivered two very hard smacks to each of our legs, leaving us both in tears.

“The next time you will be bent over in my office and will be caned. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?’’ He then turned and left as we returned to our seats.

At break time Jane and Christine said they could still his hand print on my legs. I said: “There is no way I am going to be caned if he hurts that much with his hand. I may be the first girl punished but I will not be the first girl to caned.”

By the time I reached my fifth year I had been smacked a fair few times as well as had the slipper and some detentions but I was also doing very well academically especially in languages as my mother was French by birth and I had spoken French from a very early age and could speak the language fluently.

I passed my GCE ‘O’ levels in nine subjects and would be staying on at school in the sixth form, then hopefully on to university to study languages.

Punishments were still being given and in the second week of the Easter term I was told by our French teacher to report to the Headmaster’s office immediately. I was very worried as you rarely returned from a visit without a very sore bottom but could think of no reason to be asked to see the Headmaster.

As I arrived, his secretary asked me to wait outside his door and said he would see me shortly. As I was waiting, I could hear his raised voice and then a sound which I assumed was the cane landing on somebody’s bottom, followed by a yelp from a female voice.

After four more strokes and yelps there was a pause before the door opened and Rosie, one of my friends who like me had never been caned before, came out, totally ignored me and went down the corridor rubbing her bottom. Her hands were under her skirt revealing a white knicker clad bottom.

My attention was suddenly drawn to the Headmaster asking me to follow him into his study. By this time I had tears in my eyes and my legs were like jelly, but could think of no reason for me to be caned.

I stood in front of his desk at the side of a chair and I could see a cane lying on his desk and some wet spots in front of it, obviously tears from Rosie, and I could not take my eyes off it.

“Emma, Emma, EMMA!” I heard the headmaster say and looked up to see him sat down looking at me. He said: “Are you alright, Emma?”

I stammered: “Yes Sir, but I don’t know what I have done to be caned, Sir.”

“Unless you were the other girl seen smoking with Rosie then I don’t think I will be caning you today. I need to speak to you about tomorrow. We have a Madame Rebois and Monsiuer Henrie coming from our sister school in Perpignon and as you speak fluent French I would like you to accompany them and act as their translator if it is needed.”

I returned to my class feeling very proud and was asked to explain to the rest of the class what I had been asked to do. Everybody seemed very pleased for me. I sat down behind Rosie and could see her fidgeting and trying to get comfortable but with difficulty.

At Lunchbreak I found Rosie in the toilets with Christine and asked how she was.

She said: “I am in bloody agony and the bastard gave me an extra two for not wearing school knickers. But I am pleased for you, Emma.”

“Thanks Rosie, but there was no need for him to give you extra for not wearing school knicks. Nobody in the upper sixth does and  I have red ones on today. I bet you don’t either, do you Christine?”

“Actually at the moment I do because when Rosie was called to the Headmaster I went to change. I was the other girl smoking and I thought if they forced it out of Rosie then I would be caned as well.”

My jaw just dropped as I didn’t know either of them smoked and said: “Bloody Hell, you were lucky because your bright red hair is unmistakable.”

Just then the door of the toilets opened and Miss Spencer, who had caught Rosie, was stood there. She said: ” Right Christine, go and wait outside the Headmaster’s room for smoking, and Rosie and Emma, you can both go for swearing.”

I said: “But Miss, we were only talking amongst ourselves.”

“It was loud enough for me to hear what Rosie called the Headmaster, and for me to hear Christine admit to being the other girl. Then I heard you swear as well, Emma. We will see what the Headmaster has to say, shall we?”

We arrived outside the headmaster’s office and were told to wait with our hands on our heads and our noses to the wall. The bell for the end of lunch sounded and the whole school came back. About half of them walked past the end of the corridor and saw us standing there and knew we were in trouble.

After about ten minutes, Miss Spencer came out and sent us in while she went to resume her lessons.

We entered and the Headmaster was writing in a large book on his desk. He looked up and asked each of us for our name and form, then closed the book. I had already seen the cane was still on his desk, along with a smaller thinner one.

He spoke at last, saying: “Christine, I have been told you were overheard admitting that you were the other girl smoking. Is that correct? You were also overheard admitting you had changed into your school knickers in case you had been recognised.

“You will receive three strokes of the cane for smoking, and a further two for not wearing school knickers, and a further one for trying to deceive me; in other words, six of the very best.

“Rosie, I had to cane you just over one hour ago for smoking and not wearing school knickers, and now you are back for swearing. As your bottom will not stand another caning now, you will receive two strokes of the cane across each hand for swearing.

“Due to the things you called me, you are very lucky not to be expelled with immediate effect, but my secretary is typing out a letter for you to take home for your parents to sign as on Monday you will become only the second girl in ten years to receive a school caning at the end of assembly when your knickers will be really pulled up so that in effect it will be on the bare. You will also have permission to wear the same type of knickers you are wearing today.

“Emma, just over an hour ago you entered my office and were petrified when you saw the cane and Rosie’s tears on the desk and I had to assure you that I would not be caning you today. How wrong I was since you were also heard swearing and admitting to wearing red knickers. I can now inform you that, yes, I will be caning you and you will also receive four strokes for swearing and two for not wearing school knickers. Have you anything to say?”

“I would not have said those words if I knew we could be heard and I have never been in trouble before, Sir. Can’t I just have the slipper, sir? I may have trouble sitting correctly tomorrow when I am showing our French visitors around.”

“No, you can’t have the slipper, and don’t worry about tomorrow. I will explain you were caned today and may have trouble sitting.

“Rosie, stand over here and hold out your hand.”

The headmaster pointed to the middle of the room, picked up the small cane and placed it on her palm. Rosie closed her eyes tight as he raised it above his shoulder and brought it down with tremendous power. She let out an almighty scream and pressed her hand under her armpit before being told to hold out the other hand.

The same thing happened and she was then told to hold out the first hand again. This time she moved her hand as the cane came down, causing it to miss. The headmaster was furious and grabbed her shoulder, spun her round and gave her two quick strokes across her legs. He turned her back and held her wrist as he gave her another on her first hand and did the same with the second. He then told her to stand against the wall with her hands on her head.

“Christine, remove your skirt and bend over the end of my desk. Hold the other side and remember you move at your peril!”

He lined up the cane across her bottom raised it high above his shoulder before bringing it crashing down. She raised her head and started to rise but stopped and I  saw her knuckles whiten as she gripped the desk.

As I looked at her bottom I could see a red mark either side of her knickers. The second followed the same pattern but was followed by a loud scream. After the fifth, she was really crying and he lined up the final stroke. He appeared to bring it upwards under her bottom to land at the point her bottom and thighs joined and was virtually on the bare skin. She was told to join Rosie with hands on head.

“Emma, you have seen what to do; skirt off and bend over my desk.”

As I removed my skirt slowly I started to blush and my face was soon the same colour as my knickers; bright red.

“So, Emma, you don’t think you should wear school knickers? You too will receive four strokes for swearing and another two for not wearing regulation school underwear. Get over my desk and don’t move or else!”

I bent over the desk and could feel my brief knickers tighten over my bottom and rise up slightly. I then realised that a lot of my bottom would be unprotected from the cane. I felt the cold cane rest across my bottom and then move away before I heard a loud crack and realised that was first stroke, which I thought not too bad. Then the pain came and I couldn’t believe how severe it was.

Before I had recovered, the second and the third landed in quick succession, causing me to squeal out at the pain. The fourth landed towards the top of my bottom and again I yelped in sheer agony. I could feel the cane being lined up against the lowest point of my bottom and realised there was no protection. I felt the cane move, then SWISH THWACK and I let out an almighty scream. The final stroke landed very close to the fifth and I let out another almighty scream.

“Stand up and join the other two over there against the wall. All three of you are to report to me after assembly tomorrow when I will check your uniforms. Any infringement and you will receive two more across your bottoms and spend the next two Thursdays in detention. Now get dressed and get out. Be ready for afternoon classes and don’t forget, Emma, that you have a meeting straight after school to discuss your special duties tomorrow.”

As soon as we were outside, we almost ran to the toilets to clean up and inspect the damage. I had six very angry looking welts running parallel across my bottom. After washing the tears from our eyes, we just managed to get presentable before our first lesson.

As soon as we entered the room everyone looked at us. They had already heard we had been seen being escorted to the headmaster’s office and wanted to know what had happened.

Before we could say anything, Miss Sharpe came in and split everybody up into groups of three to revise our book ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and we were told to sit at the back where we could stand if we wished. She also knew about our caning.

As English was a double lesson, it was also the last lesson of the day. I cleared up my books and headed off to the Headmaster’s Office for the third time today. I knocked and heard: “Enter!”

I went in to see our three French teachers, our Headmaster and Deputy Head, along with two of our English teachers all sat in a semi circle around the Head’s desk with a chair at the end for me, with a cushion upon it!

“Please come in and sit down, Emma. For those that don’t know, at lunchtime today Emma received her first caning for swearing, hence the cushion.

“We all know about the visit tomorrow and as Emma speaks fluent French she has agreed to escort our visitors all day and act as translator if needed. They will be visiting most parts of the school and will join all the staff and Emma for a special Buffet Lunch. They are due to arrive at 08.30 am, so I will entertain them in my office until assembly is finished. Then Emma will join us and take them on a tour of the school.

“Emma, when you arrive at my office with your two friends, go into the secretary’s office and she will summon me to come and examine your uniforms before I take you to meet the two French teachers. You may leave us now, Emma, and I will see you in the morning.”

I rushed as it was nearly 5.00 pm and mum would be wondering what had kept me. I got in and told Mum about tomorrow and she was really pleased for me. She gave me a drink and a biscuit and told me to sit down and tell her all about it. As I sat I squirmed a bit and mum asked if I was ok. I had to tell her I had been caned for swearing and not wearing school knickers. I said I would have to wear a pair of my old ones tomorrow as we have to be inspected straight after assembly.

I noticed mums face change, then she said: “I thought you didn’t need them now so I threw them out a couple of weeks ago. You don’t have any. Don’t worry, I will write you a note explaining the situation as it is too late now for the school outfitters. I will get a new pair to you by 10.00 am tomorrow. I hope that will be ok. Anyway, let’s see the damage.”

I leaned over the table as she lifted my skirt and she lowered my knickers and saw the damage before telling me to go upstairs and lie on my bed, face down. She would come up shortly.

She came up a few minutes later.

“Ok, skirt and knickers off; I have some cream to put on. It should help. It used to help me when I got the Martinet when I was at school in France.”

The following morning mum gave me a note for the Headmaster and I set off to school knowing that I was wearing white briefs instead of school knickers. As we got to school, I told Rosie and Christine about my knickers and they both wished me well.

At assembly the Deputy Head was in charge and explained to the school about the visitors and that I would be showing them around. Assembly finished and we reported to the school secretary. She informed the Head we were waiting and after a few minutes he came into her office.

He said: “Right let’s examine your uniforms.”

I handed him my letter and he opened it and nodded. “Ok, you two come here.”

He checked their uniforms before walking behind them and lifting their skirts.

“That’s better; off you go to your lessons. Emma, you can come and meet our visitors.”

I followed him into his office and was introduced to Madame Rebois and Monsieur Henrie. I greeted them both in French, which they appreciated and thanked me for.

The headmaster then said: “Before Emma takes you on a tour of the school, where she will answer any questions, there is a little business to take care of first. Yesterday Emma received her very first caning across her knickers for swearing in the toilets and for not wearing school knickers. She was told to report to me along with her two friends who were also caned for me to examine their uniforms.

“The other two girls were in full uniform but Emma brought a letter from her mother to say she had no school underwear and that she would bring her in a pair for 10.00 am.”

I had to translate all this as the headmaster waited.

He then continued to say: “I do not accept any excuses, so Emma will receive two strokes of the cane in front of you. Then so you can see how we punish disobedient pupils.”

I somehow managed to translate this as I saw the headmaster get a cane from the cupboard behind the door.

“Ok Emma, skirt off and bend over my desk.”

I obeyed, even though I was very embarrassed. Gritting my teeth, I managed to take the two strokes without screaming but the stripes from yesterday’s caning were very much on view.

We then set off on our school tour and I was told if I wanted to go slowly they would understand. I said that I just wanted to get on with it and hope the pain would fade away. Mum arrived and I changed my knickers but told her I had been caned anyway but I would explain when I got home. The rest of the day was brilliant and I got on very well with our visitors, especially Madame Rebois who was only about 25 or 26.

At the end of the day, we reported back to the headmaster and they thanked him for allowing me to escort them and said that I had been a credit to the school. This caused me to blush again as I translated for him. I then bade them goodbye and left them with the Head and our French teachers.

On Monday after assembly Rosie was called to the stage and had to bend over facing the school as the deputy headmistress lifted her skirt and pinned it to her blouse. She then could be seen pulling her knickers up tight to reveal virtually all her bottom.

While this was going on, the Head explained to the school why this caning was taking place and that he would not worry about doing again if somebody deserved it. He then delivered six thunderous strokes across her bottom and Rosie was screaming for him to finish after the third one.

She was then made to stand, hands on head and back to the school, as assembly was dismissed and we all saw the marks on her bottom. Unknown to us her mother was waiting to take her home immediately afterwards as she had been given three days’ suspension.

The following Wednesday at lunch time, I was again summoned to the Headmaster’s office. As I got there he was just going in, so I was ushered straight in.

I stood there looking around and then he said: “I am going to examine your uniform.”

I was ok with that as I was wearing school knickers.

He then told me that he had a visit that morning from the chair of the local education committee who had told him that our French visitors had been very complimentary about the visit, especially my part, and had asked him to pass on two presents from them.

One was a lovely pink box tied in pink ribbon and the second certainly looked like a bottle of alcohol. He gave them to me and told me to leave them in his secretary’s office till after school.

At the end of the day I picked my gifts up and rushed home with Christine who could not wait to see what I had got.

When we went in and told mum she said: “Ok, lets see what you have.”

I opened the bottle first and it was a bottle of fine French Champagne, from Monsieur Henrie. I then opened the box and inside was a lot of tissue paper.

As I removed it I saw a card inside which said: “Do not wear to school.”

I then removed a pair of red silk French Knickers, a matching suspender belt and a pair of black silk stockings with a seam down the back.

Mum said: “WOW, they are beautiful! You will certainly look very sexy in them. I think I will have them!”

“No way,” I said. “They are my special underwear.”

I got up for school the following day and told mum I would be late home as I was serving the first of my two detentions. As I got to school I called into the secretary’s office with a letter of thanks for my gifts which said she would forward on for me.

The story of my two detentions will follow shortly.

The End

© Gillian Howard 2014