Boy caned for smoking

I lived in Yorkshire, England, as a kid. The following happened in my 2nd year at secondary school when I was 12, which would have been about 1970.

I was walking down the road after school with two friends. I had just started trying smoking, and had one lit.  I never really liked it but the other kids smoked so I did too. Like kids do.

Suddenly the headmaster pulled up in his car along side me and we had a short conversation which ended with him telling me to see him after assembly the next morning.  The other kids had somehow concealed their cigarettes so got away with it.  But after he drove away they enjoyed telling me I would get the whack the next day.

I didn’t have a good night, bit of a worry, but then I knew other kids who had the whack and had survived, so not too bad.

Next morning, I did registration then went into assembly.  After the usual hymn singing, he got up and said he wanted to see me after assembly.

So I joined the queue outside his office, wondering who else would get the whack.  He put me at the back of the queue.  He dealt with the other kids who just had admin stuff, and then it was just me.

I stood in front of his desk. He listened to my pleas; that it was outside school, that my parents didn’t mind, but he brushed those aside.

Then he got up and grabbed the cane, which looked like the bamboo canes we use in UK gardens for growing stuff like peas, from the corner. It didn’t have a handle, and was quite thin.

He took me outside of the office into the deserted corridor; his office was in a separate block away from classrooms.

He told me to bend over, not over a desk or anything.

He gave me two whacks. I don’t remember any severe pain or anything. It didn’t make me cry. I don’t even remember much noise.

He then said: “You can go.”

Sitting down in class was interesting but not too bad. I had forgotten about it by lunchtime.

When I looked that night, there were two stripes across my bottom, one crossing the other. They took about a week to go.

Considering he was a former Physical Education teacher, I can only think he was a rubbish caner, or he didn’t put much effort into whacking me that day.

I did wonder if there would be a note on my end of term report but, no, there wasn’t. So my parents never found out.

Later I saw one kid changing for PE and he had had six stripes across his bottom, which looked a real mess.

There again, I hated him for the rest of my schooldays. I didn’t bother smoking again after that though.

AT


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