This is the story of my second and final strapping at senior school in Edinburgh. I was 16 at the time.

With my friends Mona and Rowena, I decided to try my hand at smoking. I slipped off and purchased a packet from a local shop and hid them in my bag until lunchtime.

At lunchtime we all met up and sneaked to the rear of the boiler house. We all lit up and were smoking away when we heard a noise from the side of the boiler room. Before we could hide the cigarettes a teacher called Miss Quinn came round the corner. She was our PE mistress and in her early 30s. She was dressed in her normal PE attire of tracksuit bottoms and white PE top. There was no escape and she immediately told us to put the cigarettes out. We did as told and she then said to follow her. We all followed at a brisk pace as she stormed back to her office in the changing rooms.

She demanded to know who had bought the cigarettes and we all denied it. She then searched our bags and found the packet in my bag. She asked me why I had them. I said I was just carrying them for all of us. I am sure she did not believe me from the look on her face. She told us to remove our blazers and put them in the changing room while she got her strap from the office. Although we knew we were likely to be strapped we hoped to avoid it. This last statement confirmed our worst fears.

Miss Quinn told us to follow her into the gym which we did. She lined us up against a wall and told us to roll up our sleeves. Three girls slowly did as ordered. She then called out Mona and told her to hold out her hands. Mona held her hands out and we all watched as Miss Quinn lifted her strap over her shoulder and brought it down on Mona’s hands. Mona had not been strapped before and she cried out loudly.

Miss Quinn then told her to change hands. Shortly after the strap went up again and crashed down. A second yelp followed. Mona changed hands and the strap lifted for the third time. It crashed down and Mona cried out loud. Tears were streaming down her face by now. Mona changed hands and the strap lifted again. Shortly after Mona cried out loud as it hit her hand. Mona changed hands before Miss Quinn lifted the strap again. It cracked down on Mona’s hand and she cried loudly. Mona changed hands again and Miss Quinn lifted the strap for the sixth time. It cracked down with the usual cry that followed.

Miss Quinn then told Mona to join us at the wall. Mona was very red faced and shaking her hands as she walked back.

Miss Quinn then summoned Rowena out. She told her to hold out her hands. Rowena had been strapped several times and knew the form. Miss Quinn lifter her strap and it cracked down on Rowena’s hand shortly after. Rowena managed to avoid crying out loud. Miss Quinn waited as she changed hands before lifting the strap again. Shortly after it came down hard and Rowena let out a grunt. Rowena changed hands and the strap went up for the third time. I remember thinking that Miss Quinn put more effort into this stroke as though determined to make Rowena cry out loud. It worked because she yelped out. Rowena changed hands and the strap went up for the fourth time. It cracked down and Rowena cried out. Tears were beginning to run down her face. Rowena had to be reminded to change hand this time. Miss Quinn lifted the strap again and the crack followed. A loud cry rang out as it hit. Rowena changed hands and Miss Quinn lifted her strap for the sixth time. It cracked down and there was another loud cry. Rowena was then told to join us at the wall.

Having watched my two friends get their punishments I was truly terrified by now. I had a sick feeling in my stomach and felt weak kneed. I was summoned to Miss Quinn. I held out my hands without being asked, after all I had been strapped before.

Miss Quinn lifted her strap over her shoulder. It crashed onto my hands shortly after. The pain was as I remembered it from my only previous strapping. I managed to avoid crying out loud though. I quickly changed hands before Miss Quinn lifted the strap for the second time and I watched as it came down on my hand. I could only just avoid crying out but could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

I changed hands and watched as Miss Quinn lifted her strap for the third time. It cracked down on my painful left hand and she had broken me. I cried out loud and the tears flowed. I changed hands and Miss Quinn lifted the strap for the fourth time. I tensed as I watched it come down. I yelped out loud again as it cracked home. A change of hands before Miss Quinn lifted the strap again. It cracked down and I cried out again. I changed hands hopefully for the last time and Miss Quinn lifted her strap. A short while after it came down and I cried out again. Tears were all across my face by now.

I was told to join my friends by the wall before we were all given a lecture and dismissed. We went to the changing rooms and ran our hands under the cold tap before getting our blazers back on and leaving. When we got to the playground everyone seemed to know about our strapping. The questions flowed, how many whacks, did we have to watch each other, etc. I was never so glad to hear the bell and go to the next lesson.

One thing that this did make me do was never to smoke again. Luckily this had been my last strapping at school. I left at the end of that term.

LL