My particular memory is from an incident that occurred at my school when I was a 16-year-old fifth form schoolgirl. Along with three other girls, we got into trouble for repeatedly skipping lessons and spending time in town when we should have been studying for our exams. We were all warned several times of the consequences, but foolishly chose to ignore the warnings.

Inevitably, we crossed the line and took our antics a step too far, thinking we would always get away with just being told off or, at worst, a detention. We were all caught red-handed in a coffee bar by a member of staff and reported to our headmaster, who had no hesitation in informing our parents and calling them into school to deal with the matter.

An appointment was made for my mum to attend with me at three-thirty in the afternoon, and I was to take the afternoon off and come into school with her. On arrival, we had to wait outside the headmaster’s study before being called in. A female member of staff was in attendance and the head told both my mum and me to sit down. He made it absolutely clear that he was not prepared to accept behaviour of the kind we had displayed and that he intended to punish me for my misdeeds. I told him I was truly sorry for what I had done and both my mum and I assured him I would not transgress again.

He informed us that he was relieved to hear this, but had no choice but to award me two strokes of the cane. I had only been caned once before this and was not expecting to be subjected to the cane, being 16 and in my fifth year at school.

My mum asked if he could punish me some other way, and again reassured him that I had learned my lesson. He nodded his head, informing her he had to cane me, pointing out that he had already caned the other girls involved, earlier in the day.

My mum looked at me and I simply agreed to be caned. I obviously didn’t have any other option available to me. My mum just said if that was the only choice then we would have to accept the decision.

“Very well, young lady, if you would stand up?” He said.

I did so.

The headmaster then asked Miss W, the female member of staff, to hand him the cane from a cupboard placed against the far wall. He took the cane from her and asked my mum to stand while he administered the punishment.

He positioned me in the middle of the study and, flexing the cane, ordered me to fully hold out my hand. I did so. He placed the cane across my palm and raised it above his shoulder before bringing it down on my outstretched hand with a resounding whack. It stung and caused me to take in a deep breath and jerk my hand back. He just stood there and partly raised the cane again. After a few seconds of complete silence I held out my hand again to take the second stroke, which he delivered with much the same force as the first. Strangely, it didn’t seem to hurt as much as the first but I was probably just pleased to have it over with. He placed the cane on his desk and expressed his regret that he had had to cane me. My mum said that it would teach me a lesson for the future and he agreed, hoping it would teach me the intended lesson. He hoped he wouldn’t see me again in the same circumstances and I assured him it would not happen again. My mum thanked him for dealing with the matter and at that he dismissed us.

That was the last time I got into trouble at school and that caning taught me a lesson I certainly would not forget.

LJH