Not long after I started cheerleading, we had a game on that evening and we were all a bit excited about it. I had brought my camera to school to take photographs of us all and at lunchtime we sat at the table with some boys. Unfortunately the excitement got the better of my companions and they started a food fight with the boys. As I had my camera on me, I jumped up and took a few photographs of the food fight. I think it might have passed unnoticed but unfortunately the kids were excited by the sight of my camera and it all got a bit out of hand. The duty teacher was called, so our table was ‘busted’.

We were told to clear up the food and report to the duty teacher in the hall. When we met him there, he gave us a lecture about our behavior and said we were each going to get three swats of the paddle. I protested that I hadn’t taken part in the food fight but he said I had provoked it by taking pictures.

Anyway, we were all told to line up against the wall. With the thought of the game ahead none of us wanted a sore bottom but we had apparently dug ourselves a hole. The boys went first and each bent over in turn for their swats. They managed to get through it with a series of grunts, which is more than us girls did. My two companions both cried bitterly as their bottoms were lit up.

They went away rubbing then I was called over and told to bend over. I protested once again that I hadn’t thrown any food but in spite of this I had to bend over for three swats, plus an extra one for arguing, which was called insubordination by the teacher who was the witness.

I thought it was most unjust but I didn’t want to be in any more trouble so I bent over and received four stinging swats on the bottom that started the tears flowing freely.

I yelped as the first swat tore into my butt, making me mindful of the fact that my uniform gave only minimal protection. The second started the tears and by the third I was bawling as I stood up rubbing my butt.

The teacher was pitiless, however: “One more! Bend over!”     

Of course; four! With immense willpower I bent over again for the fourth swat. It really, really hurt and I hollered and hopped up and down after.

I went away crying, rubbing a sizzling hot bottom. I met my friends in the girls’ room and we looked at each other’s marks. Three bright red bottoms!

We were very sore sitting that afternoon and that evening when we jumped our bottoms reminded us of the paddling.

Our friends seemed rather amused by it.

I was just worried that any red marks didn’t show. I suppose they may have, but that is life.

The pictures came out all right but those of the food fight are a painful memory.