Problems with her skirt get a girl into trouble.

By Joanna Jones

“Before I conclude, let me remind half of you in particular about the uniform policy this year. ‘Skirts are to be of a length no more than three inches above the knee.’ We have tried to be tolerant in bringing in the change this term, but despite that quite a few of you have suffered detentions and impositions as a result. And far too many of you have persisted in flouting this rule despite all the warnings you were given. As you know, the school has put a note in all your term reports emphasising that next term any girl ignoring this policy will be made an example of, as will those boys who somehow think bell bottom trousers go well with school blazers.”

There were a few muttered guffaws from the male side of the hall, as essentially all had accepted the uniform long trouser regulations with little fuss. Hardly anyone had worn anything but standard school trousers before the new rules anyway. However, on the girls’ side there remained frosty silence. It was no secret that the majority of female pupils resented the fact that the required school skirt was now longer than the hemline of the outfits most of their mothers currently chose to wear!

Of course the Head was apparently, or at least outwardly, oblivious to their opinions as he concluded with: “I hope you all enjoy your break, and have a merry Christmas!”

With that, the Headmaster dismissed the final assembly of 1967, watching as the pupils filed out to do he knew minimal work in their classes before the bell went at lunchtime letting them home early, and only leaving the staff to enjoy their Christmas party.

However, while most girls gloomily resigned themselves to the new policy being more consistently and severely implemented, and knew their school was not the only one with such a narrow-minded leadership, one or two were feeling much more rebellious. One in particular was Rose Sawyer. In addition to innumerable warnings and comments she had had two impositions and a detention for either wearing a skirt that was too short, or one she had rolled up at the waist. On one occasion it had been for being sighted by the headmaster with the skirt rolled up as she walked home from school, which had been especially unlucky. However, she regarded the punishments as a minor inconvenience given she had her skirt at mid thigh or above nearly every day. It was only a fairly small number of senior teachers who seemed to want to enforce the rule in any case.

Rose was in the upper sixth, recently turned eighteen, and was in little mood to have the fashions of, as she saw it, ten years ago forced upon her.

Whereas most girls were resigned to the policy she most certainly was not!

Over Christmas, she tried to persuade a few friends to make a stand, but instead she found that they were resigned to toeing the line, at least for the moment when it was clear that there was likely to be a crackdown. Anyway, it was only for a few more months, then they would be off to a job or university and they could wear what they wanted. Be patient, they said.

Rose was not known for her patience!

On Thursday 4th of January Rose woke for the first day of term. Having pondered overnight, she made her decision. She was not going to be told what to wear! As a result she put on her thickest tights, given the frost on the ground, but selected her favourite uniform colour navy skirt, one that barely came to mid-thigh.

Her mother looked at her in astonishment as she came into the kitchen for breakfast. “You’re not really going to wear that? You know the rules. You saw the letter we all got making it clear flouting them would result in ‘severe sanctions’.

Rose glowered. “Humph!” She responded. “It’s barely been enforced all last term, far too many girls ignored it for them to do anything much, and I doubt they’ll be able to do much this term either. Anyway I am eighteen; I should be able to wear a skirt whatever length I want.”

Her mother recognised that stubbornness in her that always led to arguments between them, and decided she did not want a battle of wills that morning. “Well I would say you are being very silly and I suggest you go and change. However, if you insist on trying your luck, then don’t come crying to me if you don’t like the consequences.”

Rose was surprised that her mum was not making a huge issue of it, and her words did make her briefly pause. It would have been easier to have an argument, then stomp out of the house having stubbornly refused to concede her point. However, her stubbornness won through and she left home half an hour later with her short skirt still on. She was sure there would be others too.

However, as she arrived she was surprised. No one else she could see was overtly challenging the rule. Perhaps one or two were slightly above the three inch limit, but that was about it. She met a couple of friends. “You’re mad,” was their view, along with: “It’s so cold a longer skirt and a slip is better anyway.”

Rose suddenly felt a little vulnerable. There was no large number of friends to hide behind this time. Then she gulped a little as she saw the deputy head standing at the main double doors clearly eyeing the length of the girls’ skirts as they went in.

A couple of girls whose skirts were on the limit were clearly being mildly talked to, and she saw a girl whose skirt was a tiny bit shorter than that having her name taken.

Nervously she approached the door, trying to keep as many friends between herself and the teacher as possible.

She was of course fooling nobody.

“Rose Sawyer. Come here!” Demanded Mrs Holt as she clearly scribbled her name on the small pad in her hands. A few of Rose’s colleagues tittered rather unsympathetically as she detached herself from the group.

“How dare you turn up in that skirt after all that was said last term! Go and wait outside my office, now!”

As she meekly acquiesced, she heard some giggles and guffaws, clearly at her expense, from a group of fifth form girls and boys. She felt a warmth building in her face and her cheeks redden as she tried to look nonchalant as she made her way into the school’s administration corridor.

When she arrived there were two rather pensive girls outside the office, wearing skirts that were perhaps marginally too short. By the time Mrs Holt arrived just after the morning bell two more had joined the company. All four of the others had skirts that were ‘nearly’ compliant. Rose was shocked; she was seemingly the only girl in the school who had deliberately ignored the policy.

The Deputy cast a gimlet eye over the five girls in front of her. “You four, kneel on the floor!” She ordered.

As they did so she fetched a ruler from her office. One girl gave a little gasp of relief as the height to her hem was measured as just over three inches, and the Head told her to go, but adjust the hem or find a different skirt by tomorrow. The three others all had hems just over four inches from the floor.

“The three of you wait here.” She ordered. “I will deal with you, Miss Sawyer, first since there is absolutely no point in wasting effort measuring the length of that.” She pointed to Rose’s skirt as she spoke.

She held open her office door. “In!” was all she needed to say and Rose, now rather less than nonchalantly, entered, hearing it click behind her.

She was of course left standing as the Deputy took her seat at her desk.

After a long pause for Rose to feel her irritation she spoke. “Explain yourself.”

Rose was now somewhat intimidated, and at for her an unusual loss for words. Eventually she stammered out: “Err, I just pulled out my usual skirt that I wore last term, and thought with thick tights it would be okay.”

Mrs Holt glowered at the sixth former now fidgeting in front of her. “So, you admit to deliberately breaking the rules last term and thought it would be okay to continue?”

“Well, I don’t know miss.” She replied lamely.

“And which part of the note home or the Headmaster’s assembly address at the end of the term didn’t you ‘know’ Sawyer? What bit of that did you not understand, girl?”

Rose really was now quite flustered, and as a result rather foolishly said: “It just seems unfair, Miss. The skirt lengths are now longer than those my mother wears!”

Mrs Holt allowed her anger to perceptibly rise. “So you did ‘know’, did understand what was said before Christmas after all then, you just deliberately chose to ignore it, perhaps make a protest, try to undermine a school policy. There are good reasons for a skirt to come to the knee, explained to you last summer when the policy was first announced. It is safer if something is spilt, say hot water in home economics, or an acid in chemistry. Further, we are here to learn and don’t need the disgraceful distractions such skirts can give! Why, half the boys can see a girl’s underwear as she climbs the stairs in a skirt like that! Those are distractions we can most certainly do without in this school! Now, I think you deliberately chose this morning to challenge this rule; is that not the case Rose Sawyer!?”

Rose could not bring herself to answer that directly, muttering, “Well please miss…”

However, before she could stammer out some apologetic plea, the Deputy Head interrupted. “So, Miss Sawyer, remind me what the Headmaster said would happen to girls choosing to flout the skirt length rule?”

Rose was finding it hard to cope with the anger of Mrs Holt. “Please, Miss I am very…”

The Deputy Head raised her voice. “I did not ask you to apologise, girl. I asked a specific question to which I expect the answer!”

Rose bit her lip and replied haltingly: “He said the girl would be made an example of, but please…”

Mrs Holt was not in the mood to listen to belated pleas, which were as far as she was concerned the empty words of a girl who had set out to challenge the school position, one of the group who had come very close to undermining the whole policy, a policy which she had driven, last term.

“And ‘an example of’ is exactly what is going to happen. I am indeed going to make an example of you, so that every girl knows the consequence of disobeying this school rule. Now take your skirt and tights off!”

“I beg your pardon?” Gasped Rose incredulously at the teacher who was now rummaging in a bag behind her desk.

“You heard, Miss Sawyer. Remove your tights and skirt now. I should warn you if you do not do what you are told, I shall phone your parents to discuss your suspension.”

Rose recalled her mother’s words that morning, not to come crying back to her if she didn’t like the consequences. She realised she had no option.

Reluctantly her hands went to the clip at the back of her skirt and she felt the tension go at the waist. A few moments later she had unzipped and slid the garment down over her hips and off. Taking care to ensure her rather skimpy underwear remained in place she more reluctantly peeled her tights to her knee then, kicking off her school shoes and using the desk for support, pulled the nylon garment off completely.

She was beet red with embarrassment as she picked up the two items of clothing from the floor and wondered what to do with them. Meanwhile Miss Holt had produced a short games skirt in the school navy, matching regulation knickers and dark junior school knee socks from the bag.

“You will wear these for the rest of today. Tomorrow and all next week you will wear your own sports skirt and gym knickers with knee socks, and return these laundered on Monday. Since you like short skirts so much this should of course be no great hardship for you.”

Rose was embarrassed. The games skirt was hardly fashionable, and she knew she would stick out like a sore thumb in lessons. A flash of horror went through her as she considered the order to wear the regulation pants she was being passed. Do, do I need to take my own kn… knickers off too?” She stammered desperately, not wishing to expose herself completely in front of the Deputy Headmistress.

“Whatever you feel most comfortable in, Miss Sawyer.” Replied Mrs Holt indifferently.

After putting her offending skirt and the tights into her bag, she unsurprisingly opted to slip the navy knickers over her own, wrapped the skirt round her waist, and then finally pulled the socks on. She felt ridiculous; her friends, no, indeed all the girls (and boys too for that matter) in the school, would, she was sure, find it very amusing at her expense.

It was as she stood after pulling those socks up and putting her shoes on too that the blood drained from her face. Mrs Holt was in her cupboard and had drawn out her cane, a thin whippy rod about two and a half feet long. An involuntary tear sprang to her eye as she rubbed her hands in anticipation. It was very rare for a girl to get the cane.

“Please, please miss. I’ll never do it again. Please don’t cane me.” She begged desperately, clutching her hands protectively behind her back as far from the Deputy Head as possible.

Mrs Holt noted the protective pose as she looked grimly at the now altogether stricken young woman in front of her. “You will be glad to know I am not going to cane your hands, at least. No, bend over. Hands on your knees!”

Rose gave a gasp as she stood in shock. She was to be caned like the boys, to her backside! This was nothing to be ‘glad’ about. It just got worse and worse.

“Come on Miss Sawyer, you were warned of severe consequences, and as a sixth former you should know better than to challenge the school so blatantly, bend over, now!”

Now totally intimidated, Rose managed to overcome her stupor and, with a final half hearted plea, reluctantly turned and took a grip of her knee caps, rather relieved she had not been ordered to grab her ankles as the boys had to do. Dully she hoped that the skirt might still cover most of her bum, and she did have some meagre extra protection from the fact she now had two pairs of knickers on.

Crack! Crack! Crack!

Rose screamed in shock and jumped up, clutching not her bottom but the middle of her thighs, which now stung terribly. Mrs Holt had caned her legs!

She could not stop the tears flowing as she hobbled and clutched at her legs trying to assuage that awful stinging pain that the three fairly hard, rapid-fire blows had produced.

Mrs Holt smiled to herself, then after a minute said angrily. “Stop that terrible fuss. I am not finished with you yet! Bend back over!”

After some desperate pleas were rejected Rose finally did as she was told

Mrs Holt ignored the sobbed moans of anticipation and raised her cane again.

Crack! Crack! Crack!

Three further strokes in quick succession had been administered, this time significantly harder, and all clustered very close together at the top of her thighs.

The screams from Rose were much louder as she suffered a dreadful pain in her upper legs. The cane was nowhere near as long or thick as that used by the headmaster on the boys, being principally designed to deal with naughty ladies’ hands, but it was more than sufficient to give a dreadful sting that overwhelmed the senses of poor Rose.

Tears flowed freely as she stood and now cradled her legs just below those school knickers she had had to put on, that being significantly sorer than the pain from the middle of her thighs.

Meanwhile Mrs Holt, still holding her cane, had gone to the door. “Right you three. In!” She demanded.

Three stricken young ladies crept into the room, all eyeing the cane in Mrs Holt’s right hand. All gasped fearfully in astonishment at Rose’s tribulations; clad in a games skirt, red-eyed, unable to stop crying and also equally unable to take her hands from her legs.

“Sawyer! Turn round, hands on your head and bend over at the waist.”

Sobbing Rose reluctantly complied, to a further chorus of horrified gasps from the three girls as they saw three angry red stripes on Rose’s thighs, with a fourth thicker, darker stripe just below her navy knickers.

Leaving Rose in position the Deputy said “Take careful note, if any of you three ever appear in my office again with a skirt even the tiniest bit too short then, like Rose, you too will be able to show some stripes on your legs to the rest of the school for a week or so. Something to think on when you serve detention every lunchtime next week. Now get out!”

With rather desperate apologies, and what seemed like some form of thanks for not caning them there and then, the three girls made their escape.

Which left Mrs Hunt to finish dealing with Rose. “Right, young lady, you can put your hands by your sides, no more of that rubbing in here.”

Rose’s sobs were now more pathetic sniffles as she stood in front of the teacher’s desk, desperately resisting the urge to try to assuage the still awful sting in her legs.

Miserably she watched as Mrs Holt made an entry in her punishment book which, despite being fairly old, was rather empty, unlike the book Mr Toms, the headmaster, kept for the boys.

“Now Rose, let me be clear what is going to happen. You will wear that uniform till the end of next Friday. Further, when you return here on Monday at registration to give back the clothes I have leant you, I shall also take the opportunity refresh those marks on your legs which I expect will have faded nearly completely by then. I intend to ensure you get no pleasure from your special treatment in being able to wear that short skirt!”

Rose wailed miserably and started to cry again as she realised she was going to get a second caning in four days time.

Mrs Holt ignored the sobs and dismissed her, saying: “Now get out and go straight to your class, and I should warn you to be on your best behaviour. I have asked the teachers to pay special attention to those who think our uniform rules do not apply to them.”

Rose slowly picked up her bag and hobbled her way out. Desperately she wanted to go and wash her face but she daren’t risk having to return again to Mrs Holt’s office before her Monday appointment. Instead she made her slow way to her English Literature lesson, registration having finished.

There were many gasps around as she knocked and crept in. She tried to hide the marks on the back of her thighs as she walked to her seat, but the rather strict Mrs Robson decided otherwise. “Rose Sawyer, I see you have had a visit to Mrs Holt’s office this morning.

“Yes, miss,” she sniffed.

“Well before you try to creep so furtively to your seat, turn around and let your friends see what happens to girls who like to wear short skirts at school.”

Grizzling, Rose slowly did as she was told, with a few fresh tears pricking her eyes as she heard the gasps of her classmates at the marks on her thighs.

Worse was to follow as she sat and found the fourth mark, hidden under the skirt when standing, making direct contact with the wood of the seat causing her to jump up involuntarily before sitting more carefully, to a some mild laughs around the class. Mrs Robson did nothing to dissuade her classmates’ amusement.

The rest of the day was awful. Apart from a couple of sympathetic best friends, there were far too many teased comments from both boys and girls.

“Nice legs, ha, ha, ha!”

“Legs not too cold? Perhaps you should ask Mrs Holt to warm them up again for you!”

“Did she warm your knickers too?”

“Can you see the worst mark, just below her knickers, come on give us a better look, Rose!”

As she walked home she was mortified as children and adults alike, some discreetly, others less so, pointed out her rather unsuitable attire and the marks visible on her legs. It was everything she could do not to burst into tears.

Those tears started to fall as soon as she got in the door. Her mother looked at her, still wearing the games skirt of course. “Bad day at school then?”

Rose nodded miserably.

“Well don’t say I didn’t warn you. What happened?” Asked her mother coolly.

“M… Mrs H… Holt d… didn’t like my, my skirt. I h… have to wear this until, until t… the end of, of next w… week.” She sobbed. “S… she gave me t… the cane too on, on my l.legs.”

Her mother looked rather impassively at her daughter, and took her by the shoulder to turn her round and examine at the damage. The lower three were just beginning to show signs of fading, though the top one looked like it would remain visible for quite some time.

“I’m, I’m g… going to bed.” Declared Rose miserably.

“Rose, are you not forgetting something?” Asked her mother quietly.

“W… what?” Replied Rose despondently.

“You first have an appointment over the kitchen table do you not?”

Rose opened her eyes wide in shock. Never in her darkest thoughts that day had she considered her mother implementing that family rule. “Please mum,” she begged. “Mrs Holt promised me another caning on Monday to make sure I have marks on my legs for everyone to see next week too! Please!” She begged.

Her mother looked coldly at her daughter. “Well that will mean another trip over the table on Monday too then, won’t it? You know the rules; know what happened to your big brother. Now I suggest you get bent over without any fuss, or perhaps I will add some extra marks to your legs with my spoon for your friends to see tomorrow!”

Utterly defeated, now once again starting to sob uncontrollably, Rose slowly went into the kitchen, slipped down those two pairs of knickers to her ankles, flipped up the tiny skirt and bent over the table.

There was indeed no point to come crying home to her mother!

The End

© Joanna Jones 2013