A head teacher from another school is called in to deal with a complaint

By Kenny Walters

I found the school quite easily by following the directions given by the receptionist at the hotel where I was staying. I hadn’t thought to ask her if it was her old school, but her distinctly up-market accent suggested that it could have been. As I drove up the tree-lined driveway, I came upon the immaculate white painted walls with Tudor-style mock timber framing in black that formed the main school building of ‘Greenways Private School for Girls’. I parked, and went to find the headmistress, a lady called Miss Amelia Harper.

Inside the dark blue painted front door, I found a small line of comfortable-looking easy chairs to my left, opposite an open hatch that revealed the secretaries’ office with three ladies each sitting at their desks and typing away at computer keyboards.

“Can I help you?” The older, and I guessed the senior, secretary immediately glanced up at me as I leaned on the counter.

“Kenneth Walters, to see Miss Amelia Harper; I am expected.

“Indeed you are, Mr Walters. Do take a seat, and I’ll let Miss Harper know you’ve arrived.”

I sat, and just managed to hear this rather stout lady with greying black hair make an internal telephone call. Within moments, a smartly dressed lady with blond hair appeared from around the corner and approached me.

“Mr Walters? I’m Amelia Harper.”

“Pleased to meet you,” I said as I immediately stood up.

“Pleased to meet you,” she repeated. “Please come to my study. Anne, could you bring coffee, please?”

“You have a nice study here,” I remarked as we entered a quite spacious room decorated with white and green patterned wallpaper and oak woodwork. A very large desk with suitably large office armchair behind it stood to the left, with tall bookcases lining the wall behind. To the right, closer to the window, stood four very comfortable armchairs around a circular coffee table. I was directed towards one of these latter chairs, and we both sat opposite each other. No sooner had we settled down than the older secretary appeared carrying a gold coloured tray with two cups, a pot of coffee, milk and sugar which she placed on the coffee table.

“Thank you,” I smiled at the secretary as she handed coffee to Miss Harper and me, and then discreetly left us.

“So, Mr Walters, Head Office have appointed you to assist with our little problem, have they? They must have faith in you, because you aren’t actually employed by ‘Red Rose Schools Group’ are you?”

“No, Miss Harper, and do please call me Kenneth. No, I’m headmaster of another private all girls school about eighty miles from here, but we’re not part of the ‘Red Rose’ group. We are on friendly terms, though, and they do sometimes appoint me to help out when one of their schools has a problem where an independent arbiter can be useful.”

“I see, Kenneth.” Miss Harper glared across her desk at me, clearly trying to place me as friend or foe. “So, you’ve presumably had a little experience of, shall we say, parents with something of an axe to grind? It’s Amelia, by the way.”

I felt a small thaw in the freezing atmosphere. I smiled.

“Oh yes, it’s one of those many little things that make life less boring for us head teachers, I feel. This is lovely coffee.”

“Thank you. It’s a blend I chose myself. I presume Head Office have filled you in on the circumstances of the complaint?”

Miss Amelia Harper was an interesting lady. I placed her age at anywhere between forty and fifty, slim built, around five feet six inches tall, expensively manicured hair in a pale shade of blond that probably wasn’t entirely natural, pretty face often hidden behind rimless spectacles.

“Yes, I believe the complainant is a Mrs Samantha Andrews whose daughter, Chloe, is a sixteen year old in your fifth year. I’m, told she had a bit of a run-in with a prefect which resulted in her being put across said prefect’s lap, having her skirt lifted up above her waist and her bottom spanked, firstly with the prefect’s hand and then by the back of a wooden hairbrush.”

“Those are pretty much the bare facts, Kenneth, although it’s not quite as plain and simple as that.”

I smiled again. “No, I didn’t for one moment imagine it would be. Tell me, are your prefects authorised to use corporal punishment?”

“Not as such. They can award half hour detentions or up to one hundred lines, and they are supposed to refer anything that merits more robust action either to me or my deputy head, Miss Robertson. I alone have a cane in my cupboard and Jenny Robertson has a slipper in the bottom drawer of her desk.” Finally, a gentle smile warmed the headmistress’s pretty face.

“So, the prefect was totally out of order in what she did?”

“Not totally, Kenneth. Girls are, of course, well aware that being sent to me or Jenny Robertson to be dealt with will likely result in them getting a smacked bottom of some severity. Therefore, it has become the custom over the years for prefects to sometimes offer girls the option of a lesser, but unofficial, whacking that doesn’t get recorded on their records and might be a little kinder to their bottoms. Only when the offence is not of a major proportion, of course, and usually it’s a few whacks with a slipper.”

“I see,” I said, still not really sure whether the prefect’s action was supported by Miss Harper and the school, or not. “So, tell me, if you had been aware of this happening, would you have taken action against the prefect? I mean, without the girl or her parents raising a complaint.”

“I might have offered a word or two of advice, particularly as this incident took place in an empty classroom with the door open, which meant that a couple of this girl’s friends were able to see her being spanked. I can imagine Chloe feeling quite humiliated.”

“Yes, of course, and I suppose it was that humiliation that caused her to mention the incident to her parents, who then decided to take the matter further.”

“I believe so, Kenneth. More coffee?”

“Yes, please. So, can you tell me something about the prefect, Amelia?”

“Susan Tyrell? A splendid girl by most accounts.” Miss Harper paused as she replenished our cups. “Quite a quiet girl, shy, very hard-working, a credit to the school.”

“And no known trouble between Chloe Andrews and Susan Tyrell?”

“Chloe can be, well, something of a little madam when she wants to be. She’s put everyone’s patience to the test at some stage or other, but certainly not especially with Susan.”

“I see. Fine, now, I’m seeing Mrs Andrews tomorrow at nine-thirty, I believe?”

“That’s correct, with her daughter, Chloe.”

“So, perhaps I could have a word or two with the prefect concerned; Susan Tyrell? If I have her side of the story, then I will perhaps be better equipped to meet Mrs Andrews, and her daughter, of course.”

“Good! Do you need me again today?”

“No, I’m sure you have plenty to do without me taking up your time, Amelia. We’ll have another chat after I’ve seen the Andrews and see where we go from there. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Amelia.”

“And a pleasure for me too, Kenneth. And, yes, there are some things I really need to get on with. Until tomorrow, then.”

Amelia Harper led me back to the secretaries’ office and arranged an empty classroom for me to meet the prefect, Susan Tyrell.

I sat at the teacher’s desk in a rather nicely designed semi-antique chair that would have benefited from a cushioned seat in preference to the solid elm. Five rows of five empty desks were arrayed ahead of me. Idly, I looked through the several drawers in the desks, and mainly found odd bits of paraphernalia like part used cartons of toxic-smelling marker pens, grubby yellow dusters, rulers and, finally, a scruffy old single white plimsoll. I was still smiling when someone knocked on the already open door.

“Susan Tyrell?” I said as I closed the drawer and looked up at the new arrival.

“Yes, sir.”

“Come and sit down, Susan.” I beckoned to the small chair that stood by the side of the desk.

Susan Tyrell was a pleasant enough looking girl, quite tall, maybe five feet seven or eight inches, shoulder length dark brown hair, a pleasant face, and black plastic framed spectacles. She wore a navy blue, pleated skirt and a white top, typical uniform, apparently, for the sixth form at this school.

“I thought it best if we had a little chat today, Susan.” I said gently, trying to put the girl at her ease. “I have an appointment to meet Mrs Andrews and her daughter, Chloe, at nine-thirty tomorrow morning and I’d quite like to get your version of events before then. Is that okay?”

“Yes, sir,” she replied quietly and very politely.

“Now, on Monday you had occasion to speak to Chloe Andrews. What exactly was the problem with her?”

Susan thought for a few moments before answering. She seemed the sort of girl that likes to think first before opening her mouth. Strange, then that she didn’t appear to think first before spanking Chloe Andrews, or did she?

“It was at the end of the lunch break, sir. I saw Chloe coming down across the hockey pitch from the direction of the small area of woodland next to the fence on that side of the school grounds. Usually that means girls have been going out of bounds. There’s a hole in the fence and they can go down a narrow path to a parade of shops.”

“But you didn’t actually see her out of bounds?”

“No, sir. That’s why I simply asked her what she’d been doing and why she was coming from that part of the grounds.”

“And she replied? What?”

“Nothing. She answered ‘nothing’. Well, I was pretty sure she’d been to the local shops, and I put that to her. She became quite indignant and said I had no right to question her like that.”

“But, as a prefect, you did have some right, didn’t you?”

“I thought so, sir. Anyway, I told her to calm down and said that I was only asking her.”

“Did she calm down?”

“No, sir. Quite the reverse. She called me some, well, names and suggested I had something against her and was picking on her. I really wasn’t, sir.” Susan’s voice cracked slightly as she finished speaking, and I could see she was herself becoming upset.

“She attacked you verbally, shall we say, Susan?” I said gently.

Susan nodded.

“So, how did you react?”

“I grabbed her arm and pulled her into the nearest classroom which was empty, it being still lunchtime. I did put both hands on her and shake her a bit. Then I told her she shouldn’t be saying rude things about me like that.”

I sighed, hopefully silently to myself. I could easily see how this minor affair was escalating.

“How did Chloe react to that?” I still kept my voice low and soft.

“She pretended that I was hurting her arms and that, anyway, I didn’t have the right to haul her about like that. I called her a rude brat.”

“I don’t imagine that helped.”

Susan was now on the point of tears.

“No, she called me some even ruder names and purposely put her face right up close to mine. That’s when I grabbed her arm again and pulled her round to the opposite side of the desk. I sat down and pulled her over my knee.”

“And you spanked her?”

Susan nodded.

“On the seat of her skirt?”

Susan shook her head vigorously. “No, I lifted her skirt.”

“On her knickers?”

“Yes, sir. I used my hand at first but that wasn’t having much effect so I reached into my bag and pulled out my hairbrush.”

“And then you spanked her with the hairbrush?”

“Yes, sir. It has a wooden back and is quite effective. It’s what my mother uses on me.” Susan blushed as soon as she realised what she’d said. She then added: “Used to spank me with.”

“How many times do you think you hit Chloe?”

“About ten times with my hand, and then maybe another twenty times with the back of the hairbrush.”

“Were there any witnesses?”

“I know a couple of her friends, girls from the same age group anyway, passed by the open door and stopped to look in. I don’t know if anyone else saw what was going on.”

I paused, allowing Susan time to pull a handkerchief from her bag and wipe her eyes and blow her nose.

“Finally, I asked: “Is there anything else you want to say, Susan? Or perhaps there’s something you want to ask me?”

“Am I going to be punished, sir? Am I going to lose my prefect’s badge?”

“I haven’t spoken to Chloe and her mother yet, Susan. Once I have their version of events, then I’ll be able to decide whether any further action is necessary.”

“But from what I’ve told you, it doesn’t look very good for me, does it sir?”

“I think you let the situation get out of hand, Susan. But I can see the difficulties you had in dealing with Chloe. Don’t worry, and don’t let this get you down. I’ll meet Mrs Andrews and Chloe tomorrow and then we’ll see where we go from there. Okay?”

Susan nodded.

“Off you go, then.”

* * *
I got to the school at nine-fifteen the following day, and Mrs Andrews and Chloe were already waiting for me, sat on the chairs opposite the secretaries’ office. At least, I assumed that was who the adult and teenager wearing the school uniform were.

“Mrs Andrews?” I asked.

“Yes.” The lady looked up at me. She had short, collar length, chestnut-coloured hair and pin framed glasses that didn’t really suit her. The teenager sitting next to her had matching chestnut-coloured hair, longer, and fastened back in a ponytail.

“I’m Kenneth Walters. You’re here for a meeting with me, I believe.” I stretched out a hand.

“That’s correct, Mr Walters,” she answered coldly, but shook my hand. “I hope this isn’t going to take too long. I have things to do, you know.”

“I’m sure you do, Mrs Andrews. Let me see which room we’ve been allocated and I’ll be right with you.”

Before I could turn round, though, the older secretary that I’d met the day before appeared from round the corner.

“We have a room set aside for interviews, Mr Walters. Would you all follow me, please?”

She led us along a corridor to the left and opened the first door we came to, holding it open and standing to the side so we could all three pass by into the room. It was a small room with just enough room for a desk and an office chair with arms to one side and two similar chairs to the other. I sat on the single chair and propped my elbows on the desk, then waited while Mrs Andrews and Chloe sat opposite.

“So, Mrs Andrews, Chloe, as you know I’ve been appointed to investigate the incident of two days ago. I should point out that I am not an employee of either the school or the company that owns the school and I am therefore totally independent. I am headmaster of an all girls school some distance from here, so I do have experience in the sector.

“All very well, Mr Walters, but what are you going to do about what happened to my Chloe?”

The sharpness of the response took me back a bit.

“Firstly, Mrs Andrews, I’d like to hear about what happened from Chloe, so I have her version of events. Chloe, would you tell me about it, please?”

“Go on, tell him, Chloe.” Mrs Andrews gave Chloe a nudge in the ribs.

“Well, sir, I was coming back into the school building when I was confronted by Susan Tyrell. It was getting towards the end of lunch break and I wanted to get my books sorted for the afternoon’s lessons.”

“Sorry, you were coming back into the school building? From where?”

“The playing fields, sir. I went out to get a breath of fresh air.”

“I see. So, why do you think Susan Tyrell confronted you?”

“Because she thought I’d been out of bounds, right out beyond the playing fields.”

“And you hadn’t?”

“No sir!” Chloe answered vigorously.

And you explained that to Susan Tyrell? That you’d only been as far as the playing fields?”

“She didn’t give me a chance, sir.”

“But, you do appreciate, do you, that part of a prefect’s duties is to ensure girls do not go to the out of bounds area, and to catch any girl that does?”

“Well, yes sir, but I hadn’t.”

“But she wouldn’t know that without asking you, would she?”

Chloe hesitated. “I suppose not, sir.”

“Nonetheless, you did object to being stopped from going about your business?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And I understand you used, shall we say, abusive language, called Susan some unpleasant names, that sort of thing?”

“I should think so too,” Mrs Andrews interrupted. “I would have too.”

That I didn’t doubt. I ignored the mother, though, and persisted with the daughter.

“And was it at this point that Susan Tyrell took hold of you, Chloe?”

“Pretty much, sir, yes. She dragged me into this empty classroom and started having a real go at me.”

“She admonished you?”

“Sorry, sir?”

“She lectured you about calling her names?”

“Well, yes, and then she took me by the shoulders and really shook me. It was quite frightening, sir.”

“Yes, I can imagine. Then what happened?”

“Is this really necessary, Mr Walters?” Mrs Andrews interrupted.

“It is, if I’m to adjudicate on your complaint. So far, I’ve only heard Susan Tyrell’s version of events, which may or may not be the full story. Only Chloe can tell me how it was from her point of view.”

Chloe had actually given her mother a glare that suggested she didn’t want to be stopped in telling her story.

“Please go on, Chloe,” I prompted.

Chloe took a deep breath. “That was really when she grabbed my arm and dragged me round the other side of the desk. Then she…” Chloe looked at me doubtfully.

I raised my eyebrows, trying to encourage her.

“She sat down on the teacher’s chair and pulled me across her lap.”

“And she spanked you, I believe?”

“Yes, sir.”

“On the seat of your skirt?”

“She pulled my skirt up, sir, and spanked me on my pants.”

“With her hand?”

“Only a few times, sir, then she got a hairbrush out of her bag and spanked me with that.”

“How many times?”

“I don’t know, sir. Maybe thirty or forty times?”

“How did you feel after that?”

“Humiliated, sir, because two of my friends saw it.” Chloe stated angrily, then added for good measure: “And it hurt too.”

“Is there anything else you want to tell me, Chloe?”

She thought for a few moments, and then shook her head.

“And that’s the correct version,” Mrs Andrews declared in the silence that followed. “No matter what that Susan Tyrell tells you.”

“Actually, Mrs Andrews, the two versions are very similar. Tell me, are you aware there is something of a tradition that a girl caught by a prefect breaking the school rules is sometimes given the option of taking a few whacks from the prefect instead of being reported to Miss Harper or Miss Robinson? The thought being that the prefect will give a lesser punishment than the headmistress or her deputy.”

“No, I didn’t know that, Mr Walters. What has that to do with anything? She still shouldn’t spank my Chloe on the seat of her knickers.”

“True.” I thought for a few moments. “Chloe, you will have been aware that prefects do sometimes dish out a few whacks to girls to save them from being caned by the headmistress, or slippered by her deputy.”

“Yes, sir.” Chloe looked at me, expecting me to say her spanking was fully justified.

“Had Susan asked you if you wanted her to, say, give you a short slippering, rather than being reported, would you have taken it?”

“I-I don’t know, sir.”

“Hold on, my Chloe hadn’t done anything wrong!”

“That’s not fully accurate, Mrs Andrews. Both Susan and Chloe appear to agree that Chloe used language that was not appropriate when talking to a prefect, or indeed any other girl, and Susan shook Chloe which she certainly should not have done. There is some fault on both sides, it seems. I’m just wondering whether Susan had given Chloe the option of, let’s say, a more conventional punishment for a girl of sixteen, would that have been accepted? Chloe?”

“It might have, sir,” Chloe answered after some seconds had passed. “Yes, I probably would.”

“Just where are you going with this, Mr Walters?” Mrs Andrews butted in again.

I couldn’t help but think any problems Chloe may have caused staff and prefects in the past were as much to do with behaviour she’d learned from her mother, rather than any tendency of her own to misbehave. It didn’t seem helpful for me to point that out right at this moment.

“Chloe, I’m inclined to the view that it was the way Susan Tyrell interviewed you and then punished you that is really at the heart of your complaint. Is that right?”

“She spanked me like a younger girl, sir.”

“Quite, and she shouldn’t have done. She should also have asked you if you wanted to take your punishment from her, not just done it.”

“Yes, sir.” Chloe seemed to feel I understood how it was from her side.

“And she shouldn’t have shook her,” Mrs Andrews still felt the need to have her say.

“Also true, Mrs Andrews, as Chloe should have used more polite language to a prefect.”

“So, what are you going to do?” Mrs Andrews looked at me.

“I think Susan Tyrell was provoked to some extent, but she performed two actions that were not correct. She shook Chloe, and she spanked Chloe in a way that might have been more appropriate for a younger girl, not a sixteen year old. She will need to face a punishment. The question is, what should that punishment be?”

Mrs Andrews finally seemed to calm down, apparently satisfied that some action would be taken against Susan Tyrell. Chloe seemed eager to hear what that action might be.

“I’m going to recommend that Susan be caned, Mrs Andrews. She has a good record, both as a student and a prefect, and a short sharp shock will serve as a warning to keep her head in future.”

I immediately noticed a smirk on Chloe’s face, but her mother also seemed delighted by my adjudication. For the first time in my presence, Mrs Andrews smiled.

“How do you both feel about that?” I asked, knowing the question was hardly necessary.

“A good conclusion, Mr Walters.” Mrs Andrews wasn’t really licking her lips, I don’t think.

“Fine, sir.” Chloe was, I’m sure, bursting to tell all to her friends.

“Good! Then perhaps we can end our meeting there and I will report to Miss Harper accordingly.”

We quickly concluded, and I showed Mrs Andrews to the exit while Chloe went on to her lessons.

* * *

I was soon back with Amelia Harper in her study and enjoying another cup of her excellent coffee.

“So, have you managed to reach any conclusions, Kenneth?”

“I think so, Amelia. I actually found Chloe Andrews to be not unpleasant, although her mother is a bit more of a challenge. However, I do think they have a bit of a case. Susan Tyrell should not have shook Chloe in the way that she did, and spanking her in the fashion that she did was also not appropriate for a girl of Chloe’s age. Had Susan told Chloe her behaviour was unacceptable and that she would either report her to you or your deputy, Miss Robinson, the likelihood is Chloe would have taken a slippering from Susan and that would have been an end to it.”

“You think Chloe would have taken a slippering from Susan?”

“She effectively said as much, and her mother didn’t offer any kind of objection. No, I think it was the manner of the spanking that caused all the difficulty.”

“Interesting. So, Kenneth, how do we move on from here?”

“I think you have to administer a caning to Susan Tyrell, Amelia. Probably four strokes should be sufficient. That would satisfy Mrs Andrews, and Chloe too.”

“I can imagine Chloe would enjoy sharing that information with her friends!”

“Yes, she will, Amelia. But these things soon settle down, and it won’t hurt for everyone to realise that even prefects are subject to the school’s rules.”

Amelia Harper nodded thoughtfully. Eventually, she said simply: “I’d better get Susan Tyrell in. Then we can break the bad news to her.”

The headmistress used her telephone to request that one of the secretaries find Susan Tyrell and ask her to come to the study as soon as possible.

Ten minutes later, there was a knock on the study door.

“Come in,” Amelia called, and Susan Tyrell appeared, looking smart and business-like in a fairly tight-fitting dark blue skirt and white blouse.

She was invited to join Amelia and me sitting around the coffee table near to the window.

“Thank you for coming promptly, Susan,” I started. “Since I spoke to you yesterday, I have met with Mrs Andrews and Chloe and heard their version of events. Actually, what they said ties very closely in with what you told me, so there really is no discrepancy between you.”

I paused. It was clear that Susan was quite tense, and that what she really wanted to hear, or maybe she didn’t, was the outcome so far as it affected her. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Amelia Harper concentrating on me in such a way as to suggest she also was looking to me to continue and advise Susan of her fate.

“I’m afraid, Susan, we have two problems. Firstly, you shook Chloe fairly violently, and you shouldn’t have done that. Secondly, you spanked her in a way perhaps not appropriate for a sixteen year old, at least in a student/prefect situation. I’m sure you realise that?”

Susan nodded thoughtfully, then almost whispered: “Yes, sir.”

I continued.

“I got the impression from Chloe that she does respect you as a prefect, and would have accepted, say, three or four whacks with a slipper had you suggested that to her as a punishment for her behaviour.”

Susan raised her eyebrows at that.

“That was what she more or less said, Susan, and Mrs Andrews also seemed to feel there would have been no problem with that.”

The eighteen year old didn’t look convinced.

“Whatever, offering Chloe that option would have been the proper thing to do, and Miss Harper would then have been able to support you in your action. As it is, I’m afraid she can’t do that.”

Susan nodded slowly. Did she already know what was coming next? She didn’t seem enthusiastic to hear.

“You are a good and respected prefect, Susan, and I’m sure the school doesn’t want to lose you as a prefect.”

Signs of confusion now spread across Susan’s face. She hunched her shoulders in such a way as to ask: ‘Well, what then?’

“I feel, Susan, the best way forward would be for you to take a punishment that would reflect the errors of your actions and satisfy Mrs Andrews and Chloe. You could then continue as a prefect and the matter can be regarded as finished.”

I leaned back in my chair, giving Susan time to mull over my words.

“What punishment?” She asked immediately.

Clearly, she didn’t need time to consider.

“I’m going to suggest Miss Harper gives you four strokes of the cane, Susan. It will be quick, and then we can all move on.”

Susan looked daggers at me. I can only think this was one option she hadn’t considered, and wasn’t at all pleased it had now been suggested.

“I have never been caned, sir.”

“I’d be surprised if you had, Susan. By all accounts, you’re an obvious credit to the school. But you have created a bit of a problem for yourself and the school, and we need something that will satisfy all parties so we can put this behind us, so to speak.”

“I’m to be caned to please Mrs Andrews?”

“That is only one part of it, Susan. You have, on this occasion, let yourself down and let the school down. There is a need for punishment, and this would be a simple and quick remedy. Do you have a better solution?”

“I was expecting to lose my prefect’s status, sir.”

“Do you not want to be a prefect, Susan? You are a good one, and Miss Harper certainly does not want to lose your services.”

“Absolutely, Susan.” Amelia confirmed. “I should very much like you to continue in that role.”

Now Susan Tyrell sat back in her chair and seemed to be thinking things over. Both Amelia and I allowed her the time to contemplate.

“Four strokes?” Susan asked.

“I think that would be fair.” I confirmed.

Susan thought some more.

I glanced across at Amelia Harper and she showed me her fingers crossed.

Finally, Susan looked up.

“Okay.” She nodded, rather vigorously, to confirm.

“Amelia?” I asked.

Amelia Harper got up and went across to a cupboard in one corner of the room. Susan had her back to this cupboard and did not look round. Instead, she stared down at the coffee table and completely ignored me. She seemed thoughtful, but there were no obvious signs of fear.

When Amelia turned back, she held a two-and-a-half foot straight cane in one hand. It looked thin and extremely pliant. It would undoubtedly impart a sharp sting.

I stood up as the headmistress hovered behind Susan’s chair, and only then did Susan look round. The view of Amelia Harper waiting with cane in hand caused Susan to stand up abruptly and turn to face her headmistress. Amelia’s reaction was to walk slowly over to the front of her desk and wait for the prefect to join her. A wave of the headmistress’s hand towards the desk was enough for Susan to bend herself across the desk and rest her forearms on the top surface, causing the moderately tight navy blue skirt she was wearing to envelope her firm, neat bottom most admirably.

I stood perhaps eight feet away, allowing the headmistress plenty of room for a good swing. She tapped Susan’s bottom three or four times with the cane and then delivered a good crisp stroke across the seat of the navy blue skirt, which caused Susan to grunt and screw her face up with the sudden pain.

This same pattern of tapping followed by a crisp stroke was repeated for the second stroke. This time, Susan’s head jerked up in tandem with another grimace as she experienced the sting.

There was no tapping for the third stroke. Instead, Amelia simply whipped the cane horizontally across Susan’s bottom, where it landed with another crisp ‘thwack’. Susan ouched and wriggled, but generally held her position.

Within seconds, the fourth and final stroke was delivered, lower than any of the previous ones. Finally, Susan cried out, although in quite a subdued tone. She breathed out almost as noisily, and her facial expression confirmed the caning had been well administered.

“Thank you, Susan,” Amelia said quietly. “Take a few moments to get yourself together. Take as long as you want.” That said, the headmistress went and returned the cane to its cupboard.

Slowly, Susan drew herself up from the desk and gently rubbed the seat of her skirt with one hand, while the other held the front edge of the desk as though she needed it to steady herself.

“All over, Susan,” I said, almost in a whisper. It was a pointless statement, but I felt I had to say something.

Susan gave me a cold glare in return.

“Okay, Kenneth?” Amelia returned and sat down behind her desk.

“Yes, thank you, Amelia. I shall let you get on. Thank you for your assistance, and I’ll let Head Office have my confirmation the matter has been amicably resolved.”

Did I feel another angry glare from Susan?

“Goodbye, Kenneth.” Amelia smiled.

“Amelia. We must have dinner some time.”

I headed for the door and found Susan coming too, so I held the door open for her. We walked together in silence along the short corridor to the main entrance, whereupon she continued while I left the building. She left me in no doubt that I was not her favourite person, but I felt reasonably satisfied with the outcome. Mrs Andrews and Chloe would be satisfied, Susan would still be a prefect, and the school would soon revert to normal.

The End

© Kenny Walters 2019

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