A true account kindly passed to us by Megan
It was a spring day in May of 1960 in western North Carolina. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid 70s. It was 2:30 PM and the school day was drawing to a close. The bell rang signaling the end of classes and the beginning of activity period.
Activity period was the last 40 minutes of the school day. It was essentially free time with certain limitations. The athletic teams used it to get an early start on after-school practice. Those who wished to get a start on homework assignments could do so in a study hall, or the library. The work-study students could leave early, provided they reported to their jobs. It was also the time of day when “student issues” were dealt with in the office.
I wasn’t surprised when the secretary came on the PA system and began with: “Will the following students report to the office,” and then began reading a list of names. I was surprised to hear my name called, but I got up from my seat in study hall and walked down the hall to the office.
There was a group of about 25 students there, most taking care of routine school business. They left quickly as their business was concluded, and seven of us remained. As we looked at each other it became clear why we were there. The group was the same as the group that had gone to the athletic field after lunch to have a smoke.
One person said it first, that we must have been seen and reported. We soon found out this was indeed the case. The principal began by telling us the baseball coach had been at the athletic field during lunchtime and had seen us. He informed us he knew all seven of us had been smoking and asked if we knew the penalty for it. We all answered that we did not, and he proceeded to inform us that it was automatically a paddling.
When he said this, one of the girls turned white as a sheet and said: “Oh no, I can’t. I have never been paddled in school.”
His reply was: “Laura, I don’t think you understand. You have no choice. The others aren’t protesting. They know what they did, and they seem ready to accept the consequences for their actions. I would suggest you do the same.”
He turned to a filing cabinet, opened a drawer and got out the paddle. It did not look very intimidating at first glance, being somewhat small and thin. It was about sixteen inches in length and the rounded off ‘business end’ was about three inches in diameter. While it was only about a quarter inch thick, it was made from a very tough springy wood that could be swung very hard without breaking. This made for a very intense burning sting without causing any real pain or physical damage. Most showed no reaction, but Laura began to tremble noticeably when she saw it.
John and Pete went first. Now John and Pete were not bad kids, they just had a penchant for trouble. Their butts were no stranger to the paddle. John went first and took his eight, followed by Pete who did the same. Both had kind of sheepish grins on their faces when it was over, but showed no outward signs of emotion or distress. Yours truly went third and while I had been paddled twice before, once in 6th grade and again in 8th, it was by teachers both times; this was my first time in the principal’s office.
I moved next to the desk and bent over, resting my arms on the desk. I heard him move behind me and then I sensed that he had drawn the paddle back. A second later I heard a loud crack, and I felt the heat explode across my butt. Before I could dwell on it, three more licks were given in very rapid succession, intensifying the sting from the first. A very short pause, then three more also delivered very quickly. I resisted the urge to straighten up and after another brief pause the last lick came and it was over. Like Pete and John, I straightened up without showing any sign of distress, but did put my hand back and rub rather dolefully. Ray went next and, like Pete and John, he had been paddled quite often in the office, and he took his eight licks, as they had, without emotion or distress.
With the four boys now seated on the ‘waiting bench’, he now turned his attention to the three girls. He looked at them, and with a “might as well get it over with” look Judy stood up walked to the side of the desk and bent over. Judy had been paddled a few times in elementary school by the teacher, but this was her first time in the office. Her bottom twitched nervously as she waited. It was not a long wait. SMACK!! Judy’s bottom jerked to the side. SMACK SMACK SMACK!!!! Her bottom gyrated a couple more times. SMACK SMACK!!!! And it was over. Judy’s bottom gave a final jerk, and she stood up, rubbing hard and fast. “OH OH OH,” was all she could say as she fought back tears. The girls were getting only six licks, but they appeared to be as hard as the eight the boys had received. Judy walked to the bench and took her seat rather gingerly next to the four boys.
The two remaining girls remained seated, looking at each other. When neither made a move, he looked at them and gestured toward the desk with the paddle.
“All right, Jerry,” he said. Like Judy, Jerry had never been to the office before, but had gotten the paddle a few times from teachers. She walked toward the desk and bent over, resting her arms on its surface. Once again, he moved behind and I could tell she was very nervous as she waited. SMACK!! The first lick landed and, like Judy, her bottom jerked to the side. SMACK SMACK SMACK!!. The next two caused her to shake even more, as though trying to make the burning sting go away. SMACK SMACK!!. And it was over. Jerry stood up, and rubbed her sizzling bottom, but showed no real outward signs of distress.
He now turned his attention to Laura, who had waited last, probably hoping somehow to avoid the inevitable. She remained seated, looking toward the office doorway, as though wondering if she could get away with bolting out of the room. He looked at her and just spoke her name.
Slowly she stood up and, being very unsteady, almost fell as she took a step toward the desk. The assistant principal, who was serving as a witness, took her by the arm to steady her and helped her as she walked to the desk. She now stood in front of the desk looking straight ahead, but making no further move.
“Ms M, bend over please,” he said.
Slowly she leaned forward, beginning to cry and saying: “No, no, no,” several times. She placed her arms on the desk and buried her face in her folded arms, still crying softly. SMACK!! Her one leg kicked up.
“OWW NO!” She yelled.
SMACK SMACK SMACK!!! The leg kicked up again, and now her hand came back in an attempt to cover her bottom.
“Please move the hand now or I will have to give you more,” he said.
Not wanting that, her hand moved away and SMACK SMACK!!. The final two licks came and it was over. Laura stood up, the tears streaming down her face, and yelled: “OW, OWW, OWW,” all the while rubbing her bottom.
He turned away and placed the paddle back in the cabinet, then began the lecture about how he hoped this had helped us, and that we would abide by school rules in the future, and so on. Finally he told us we could go, and we trooped out of the office just as the final bell rang.
Laura was still crying openly, but the rest of us had completely recovered our composure. Since the school was very small, the sound had traveled up the hallway and been heard in every classroom on the floor. The first few students in the departing crowd saw who was coming out, and while some were no surprise, most were very surprised to see the girls, especially Laura.
We all departed quickly. Jerry and I, who were an item, then headed for the nearby park. My efforts to comfort her quickly turned into a rather hot make-out session, during which I rubbed her sore bottom and could feel the heat radiating from it. Feeling very turned on despite my own tingling bottom, I attempted to lift her skirt to inspect the damage, but she said no. It was a public park and someone could come by at any time. Frustrated, I gave up the attempt and we headed home a short time later.
The word traveled fast about who was involved, and what the offense had been. While there was not much said about the rest of us, the next morning, as Laura approached the school on foot, a few guys said: “Hey Laura, want a cigarette?”
She said nothing but walked past them. Then a few girls began with a sing-song voice: “Laura got a spankin, Laura got a spankin.”
Laura looked as though she was about to cry. Her face turned red and she said: “You are all just awful,” and ran into the building.
I heard later that the teasing began anew in her first class but was quickly put to rest when the teacher said: “We all know what happened and why. Now, no more about it.”
One footnote, I feel, needs to be added here. While all of us committed the same offense, the girls got only six licks while the boys got eight. Even though the girls’ licks were every bit as hard as those the boys got, I did not feel that this was fair.