Punishment, when deserved is one thing, but sometimes a pupil feels particularly hard done by.
By Joanna Jones
My worst experience at school was at the hands of my Headmaster, a bad tempered man with, to my mind, a vicious streak when it came to punishments.
During my school career I was caned twice by him; one was harsh, but I was in the wrong so I could live with it. The other was, to my mind, totally unfair; I was literally just in the wrong place at the wrong time and for reasons best known only to him he caned me, adding extra for my impertinence in protesting my innocence. I had nothing to do with the incident, and it was the most upsetting and painful experience of my school career.
Despite my protestations, my parents, while sympathetic, did nothing about it and I swore to get my revenge, no matter what it took to do so. That I did in the September after I left school, some two years after that incident.
My admittedly rather masochistic solution was simple; see if he would be inobservant and stupid enough to cane a former pupil, then ensure he suffered the consequences.
Thus I walked down the road, butterflies in my stomach, wearing a rather provocative mini dress, and with my trusty pack of cigarettes in my pocket. I deliberately let myself look younger and with my diminutive height helping no doubt looked more like a sixteen or seventeen year old lower sixth former than the nearly nineteen year old adult I was.
It was conveniently interval as I stood outside the gate puffing my cigarette and chatting to some of my younger sister’s friends, wondering if my bait would be taken. None of the girls I was talking to wanted a cigarette, happily for them as Mr Grayson stomped across the yard to accost me.
“Helen Frames!” He yelled. “Come here!”
The bait had been taken. As my stomach fluttered in anticipation I remember being mildly surprised he could remember my name. The question was, had he also remembered I had left school the previous July?
“How dare you have the temerity to truant school and then turn up smoking in front of my gates. Never in my career have I seen such a brazen display. You may think being in the upper sixth may entitle you to behave as if school is optional, but no pupil can behave in such a manner. Follow me!”
Clearly he had not remembered. I felt a nervous twist as I realised that the plan I had dreamt up was in all probability going to happen. For the benefit of the girls around me, I made a token effort to resist and point out I was no longer at his school.
Of course his infamous temper meant he interrupted me long before I had a chance to even get close to explaining things. Instead he roughly grabbed me to propel me towards the school entrance and towards his office. My claims of “You can’t do this” were met with disdain as he vigorously pointed out his right to discipline any pupil in his school no matter how old they were.
Once in his office there was, as I expected, no chance to say anything. In seconds I was pushed roughly over his desk, and my skirt yanked up, revealing fairly full cut knickers, though in a rather shocking shade of red.
He could of course not resist comment that clearly my underwear colour choice was further evidence that I needed a short (very) sharp shock. I reluctantly wondered if he found the sight rather stimulating as he no doubt appraised the satiny sheen of those panties enclosing my bottom now waiting for his ministrations. However, most of my mind was focused on what was shortly to happen, something that was forcing the nerves in my body to tingle in sick anticipation.
The lecture continued apace as he fetched the cane from his cupboard.
Suddenly, looking at his angry face from my position bent over his desk, this plot seemed rather stupid. I began more earnestly to plead, but never got more than about four words out before being told in no uncertain terms to shut up and stay bent over the desk he had forced me over. Unbidden, and to my surprise, I began to fall into the fear stricken role of the intimidated schoolgirl.
Something I had never, ever expected; I was supposed to be in control of this plan of mine!
Suddenly there was a swish and a crack. The pain surged through me, far, far worse than I recalled. Was it a poor memory of those previous occasions in his office, or was he hitting harder? Or both?
Whatever the case it took all my effort not to jump up. My fear and his well known reputation for no mercy and repeat strokes ensured I limited my reaction to my voice alone.
Another screech somehow escaped me.
Four further agonising blows landed on the thin nylon that merely protected my modesty.
By the end I was bawling; never had I expected it to be so bad.
Released from my punishment, I pulled my skirt down and half ran, half staggered, out of his office, ignoring his commands to ensure I was in school and properly dressed in future. I did not wait to watch him fill in his entry into that school punishment book, an entry that I fully hoped would be his last for any girl.
I did not need to pretend to sob as I staggered into the police station clutching my ridge-welted bottom.
At first the desk sergeant was unsympathetic, thinking me a naughty schoolgirl who had no doubt got her just desserts. However that slowly changed as he realised I was not a school pupil, and had not the slightest intention of being fobbed off with the “I am sure this is a terrible misunderstanding” line.
Eventually he took my compliant and called a female officer to interview me. Afterward I rather slowly, though more calmly, took myself down the road to the doctor, and then the local newspaper. After the vicious beating he had given me, there was no way I was going to give any wriggle room for this to somehow be swept under the carpet, and I am sure the journalist thought Christmas had come early as he listened to my story (with added waterworks – I did not need to try at all hard on that front, to be honest, as I relived my experience!).
To this day I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of Mr Grayson’s office when the police came to inform him he had caned an adult who was not a pupil at his school, and that she was pressing charges.
Sadly he was let off with a pretty token fine by the court, but he did lose his job, having been effectively forced to resign in disgrace and in the full glare of local publicity.
I watched him leave the dock a broken man, feeling absolutely nothing for the guilty plea that had, according to the judge, saved me the distress of testifying against him and possibly saved him from a few weeks accommodated somewhat less comfortably than he was used to.
Revenge; indeed a dish best served cold.
© Joanna Jones 2014