Related by Victoria Jameson

 

This true story also appears on the www.overthedesk.com website

 

My name is Victoria and I’m now twenty years old. I thought that you might appreciate having an entirely non-fictional account of one person’s real experience at a US school.

 

I grew up in coastal Mississippi. My school had the paddle, but it didn’t use it all that much or at least not like I hear about in Texas and Arkansas etc. It was something we knew about (and were leery of), but usually it was the usual suspects, the repeat offenders.

 

They’d use the paddle when other punishments (detention, ISS, etc) didn’t work. Supposedly for a first paddling offense it was two swats for girls, three for boys, and then five swats for any repeat offender in any given year.

 

The only things they paddled for without warnings were if you got caught smoking, you cheated, or if you forged a signature. Those were all automatics, and usually garnered at least four swats.

 

At the beginning of the year they’d send home a permission form you had to return, and occasionally you’d know about (or hear) someone getting licks (as we called them). But it wasn’t often, and nine times out of ten it was one of the usual suspects (with a few famous exceptions).

 

I was never anywhere close to worrying about corporal punishment in any real way, because I was miss goodie two shoes. Yes, my parents always checked “yes” and signed the corporal punishment permission form at the beginning of every school year, and yes spanking was used occasionally in my home as a last resort, but I was an honors student, president of my class, on the volleyball and swim teams, and just simply never in trouble.

 

I only had had one detention (7th grade) in my life, and was never even close to the paddle. Even at home I hadn’t been spanked since I was like eleven or twelve, and hadn’t been so much as threatened with one in well over a year or two (although I did have a run-in at home my senior year in high school, almost a month after my second run in at school, but those are different events altogether).

 

So my rear end and the paddle was something not at all on my mind. And in the rare instances when it was, it would have been met with intense fear. I may have some budding “interests” now, but at that point in my life pain was about my biggest fear and worry…..certainly not something I’d be interested in thinking about, let alone experiencing.

 

When I was fifteen and a sophomore (10th grade) I took swimming during PE, and we had to take showers before and after. This was a big deal to a lot of girls who were still young enough to be shy/modest. It shouldn’t have been such a big deal for me because I was on the swim team and had to do the communal shower thing all the time at practice with my teammates, but for some reason I really didn’t want to take a shower out in the open in PE class.

 

Thinking back on it, I think I was influenced a lot by a few friends who were terrified, and I was more nervous about looking more “mature” and “confident” compared to my friends than I was actually nervous about the shower.

 

Whatever the reason, my friends and I didn’t want to shower. We tried talking to the teacher, etc, but all to no avail. It was clearly on the syllabus and clearly a requirement. If we didn’t like it, take another PE (I never liked this answer because you selected PE’s the semester previous, and couldn’t change once you were in the class to know the syllabus).

 

Well we didn’t like it, so we just didn’t shower. The teacher didn’t notice, as we figured she wouldn’t. It’s not like she was planning on investigating in the shower room regularly and for several days she didn’t, but finally she did. And once she did, she started to check on us methodically. After a couple of warnings, we finally showered one day, but then tried to sneak out of it the next. And, long story short, we all got detention.

 

Mrs. H***s was nice, but she was tired of going round in circles. We had been warned, and so detention it was. I tried to argue that for me it was a matter of not wanting to get my ankle wet because it had a protective sleeve on it (I had a sprained ankle at the time) but Mrs H***s pointed out that that had not seemed a concern for me while I was swimming. So that was that.

 

I obviously was upset because:

 

1) I didn’t like the idea of detention – who does?

 

2) I was embarrassed – miss goodie two shoes here!

 

3) Most importantly, I had a keyclub meeting that day hosted at another girl’s

house and we were voting on who would be president. I wanted to be president, and since I was only a sophomore, I didn’t have much of a shot if I wasn’t going to be at the meeting to campaign for myself.

 

I knew there was no way out of a detention, but I was desperate for a way to put it off to another day. A friend of mine suggested what seemed like a pretty foolproof, and not so bad, plan. I would type up a note from my mom saying I had a dentist appointment that day, sign her signature, and send it with one of the other girls to the D-hall. They’d reassign my detention the next day, and problem solved.

 

I guess on some level I knew this was a big deal, but I never really thought of it that way. From my perspective I was still serving the detention – what difference does it make what day it is? And, meanwhile, what were the odds of getting caught? Who really checks signatures? Especially when the student in question is never in trouble, and has such a plausible excuse?

 

I had done this once before (with my mom’s permission) for a field trip form, and no one had even blinked.

 

So I went with the plan and went to my keyclub meeting. I didn’t make President, but I did get Vice-President. I wasn’t really even that concerned about the detention/letter. I got slightly concerned when my friend (after she’d served her detention) texted me and said that the D-Hall monitor that day had been Miss P****l, who happened to also be my math and homeroom teacher, because I realized she had seen a lot of forms from my mom since she was the home room teacher.

 

So at that point some worry did cross my mind, but not really in a big way. I mean, again, who remembers signatures? It just didn’t seem like that big of a deal. What I didn’t know, and had no way of realizing, was that Miss P****l privately tutored in the evenings a girl who was in keyclub. So, when this girl mentioned I had been elected Vice-President…!!

 

At this point let me take a second to tell you about Miss P****l. She was my favourite teacher. She was amazingly cool, laid back, approachable, and a great teacher. She was really young (maybe twenty-four?) and everyone really liked her. She taught in the most laid back style, and she was also the tennis coach, and the tennis team had doubled in size just because of how popular she was, and this was only her second year teaching.

 

The flipside of this is that she was notoriously firm. The only reason no one used the word strict was because she was so laid back and likeable, but about the few rules she did have…..she was very, very firm.

 

She gave out detentions like they were going out of style, was not scared to assign ISS, and even had licks on her syllabus as a potential consequence for repeated misbehaviour. Most teachers would use licks eventually as I mentioned above, but few went so far as to give a direct warning. She was so laid back that she had less rules, but you would break the rules she did have at your own danger.

 

Even I had narrowly missed detention with her once or twice, and I was, besides being well behaved and a great student, one of her favorites.

 

That said, I still wasn’t thinking of any of that when I went to homeroom. I was late getting to homeroom because I had to stop by the office to have my picture taken with the new keyclub President. Which sets up the great irony that I have, for posterity, a picture of me taken happy as a clam just minutes before my day turned south.

 

My happiness started to sour during homeroom roll call when Miss P****l asked me to stay back at the end of homeroom. I knew that first period was her “free” period. She didn’t say anything with any kind of tone, and I’m surprised I figured it out so quickly given how little concern I had had prior to that moment, but somehow I just kind of “knew” that she knew. And I was instantly nervous.

 

I had worn a dressie skirt that day with a floral print because of the keyclub picture and I remember fidgeting with it, flattening it out in my seat, fidgeting some more, for the rest of homeroom. For some reason I remember that clear as can be.

 

After the bell rang I went up to her desk as requested. I saw, sitting on her desk, my letter from the day before sitting next to a stack of other forms my mom had signed in the past. I knew my goose was cooked.

 

She didn’t beat around the bush, accusing me of forging right away, and in a tone that was at once “kind” and clearly majorly annoyed all at the same time. I tried to half deny it, but she instantly replied: “I know you were at the keyclub meeting yesterday, and if you want to argue that your mom wrote a lie to get you out of detention, I’m happy to call her and get her version of this story.

 

So game set match. I confessed.

 

At this point my hands were clammy and I was a wreck. Miss P****l told me to sit down while she got out both her syllabus and the school handbook. She pointed out that the punishment, according to the handbook, for forgery was four to five licks, and that her usual punishment for skipped detention was two to three licks.

 

She wanted to know if I had a good reason why she shouldn’t assign me five licks on the spot (the maximum they were allowed to give). I tried pleading and arguing, making a case of why other consequences (including even ISS) could be appropriate, but I didn’t really have a good argument for any of them.

 

Finally she said: “Sorry Victoria, I hate this too, but you made a choice and now you have to experience the consequences.”

 

And with those words I knew it was over. She told me that I was excused in order to go to my first period class, and that she’d come along to get me in a few minutes.

 

I don’t know why they always had a pause like that, but it was pretty standard at my school. I suspect they had to get the corporal punishment consent form out, verify my parents had checked “yes”, and maybe even get the go-ahead from the principle.

 

They also had to get a witness and either the teacher or the witness had to be the same gender as the student. Whatever the reason, this was pretty typical. I picked up my books and stumbled to my first class. Scared to death.

 

Throughout the twenty or so minutes I was in that class (Biology) I was completely distracted and terrified. I kept trying to focus on my work (we were doing an in-class exercise), but I was totally panicking, and trying to think of a way to get out of my mess.

 

At some point apparently Miss P****l had knocked on the door to get me, but I was so lost in my thinking/nervousness, and (to a lesser degree) my biology work, that I hadn’t heard a thing. Suddenly the girl sitting next to me is nudging me saying Miss P****l wants to see me in the hall, and I look up and sure enough there she is in the doorway with a paddle tucked under her arm.

 

The whole class chuckled at me because I was so clueless and, probably, because they were shocked that I was in trouble. I stumbled out to the hall where Miss P****l was and so was Mrs. H***s. To this day I don’t know if she was chosen as witness because she had originally assigned the detention, or if it was just a coincidence.

 

Either way, they took me around the corner to an empty classroom, which was quite the relief because sometimes kids got licks right there in the hall and people could hear. This would at least provide some privacy.

 

All through the preceding class I had been promising myself I wouldn’t cry, because I wanted to look unaffected when I returned to class. But I’ll be honest, by the time I was walking into the empty classroom I was already completely weak in the knees, and fighting back tears. I was so frightened!

 

I remember that both of them, especially Miss P****l, had the nicest, most sympathetic tones. I could tell they felt bad for me and were trying to be nice. But they also seemed pretty matter of fact, and I didn’t have much hope that I was going to get off easy.

 

They asked me if I knew why I was there, asked me if I had any reason I shouldn’t get the licks, etc. Then they asked me if I had anything in my back pockets, which I thought was an odd question since I was wearing a skirt, but I guess maybe it was a standard question they had to ask. Either way, I took my time answering each question, trying to stall, my eyes glued on the paddle tucked in the crook of Miss P****l’s arm.

 

But nothing seemed to delay it much, and it all moved pretty quickly.

 

All of a sudden Miss P****l said: “OK, turn around, face the wall, bend over, and grab your knees.”

 

I was terrified but I did what I was told. I remember that the cinder block in front of me had a mis-coloration where someone had written on it and it had been painted over. I tried to focus on looking at that, thinking I could focus on that and not the pain. I remember being serious and determined to do this when I first bent over, but I don’t remember even noticing my “spot” after the first lick.

 

I felt Miss P****l line the paddle up against my butt, and I saw Mrs H***s move around to my right to serve as witness. Suddenly I feel nothing on my butt, knowing it is being pulled back. I tighten up in anticipation, and then WHAM.

 

I don’t know what I had expected. I had been spanked at home, not commonly, but often (and well) enough to know it was going to H-U-R-T. But, somehow, this was WAY worse than even I had imagined. It absolutely staggered me.

 

I still swear that, per lick, nothing competes with the school paddle for pain. At least not with Miss P****l behind it. I instantly let out a gasp, and rocked forward.

 

Almost before it all had time to register, I felt a second WHAM!

 

At this point I let out an out-and-out yelp, and instantly started bawling. I’d like to claim that I slowly progressed to a few tears, then crying, etc, like all of the stories on here of brave kids. But, no. I managed to hold it semi-together for a full two swats, then I lost it and bawled like a baby. It hurt SO much.

 

I must have rocked out of position a bit because there was a big pause, and Miss P****l asked me to move my legs back further apart. I did so, then I felt her rub my bottom with the paddle again, take aim, and then another WHAM.

 

After that, she took more time between licks than she had between the first two, but never the big gap she took after the second one.

 

By lick four I was practically hollering. As lick five landed I thought I couldn’t take any more pain without dying.

 

I wasn’t trying to be melodramatic. I was just:

 

1) shocked.

 

2) in searing pain.

 

I still swear that she definitely swung harder on the last lick than on the first four, and that is not a sign that she was swinging soft (at ALL) before that. She really walloped me.

 

As the shock of the last blow reached my system I instantly shot up, unable to mentally keep myself in a position that had brought pain any longer. But it did nothing to soften the pain. I turned around to face my teachers, eyes streaming with tears, hands clutching my buttocks, and in horrific pain. It hurt like the dickens.

 

I vaguely remember Miss P****l muttering something kind and encouraging, and patting my shoulder briefly. I don’t remember exactly what she said, and then she said: “OK, I know you are a good student, and I trust we won’t ever need to do this again…..now get on back to your Biology class.”

 

She handed me a five-minute hall pass, and I did go to the restroom to try to freshen up a bit, but there was nothing I could do to stop crying in a measly five minutes.

 

I walked back to my class on shaky legs, both nervous and still in major pain, walked into the class, still crying (quietly now, but steadily), made my way to my seat and sat down. It was uncomfortable sitting, to say the least, and remained so the rest of the day. Lots of squirming was involved.

 

Most of my friends and classmates were pretty nice. I’m sure a lot of them got a good laugh out of it, but they were nice enough not to do it to my face.

 

I got a lot of words of sympathy, and stupid questions like: “did it hurt?”

 

DUH! That’s why I was crying!

 

My butt was BEET red, and remained so for the rest of the day. Let’s just say that swimming class (and the shower) was extra embarrassing that day.

 

Luckily I only had one small bruise out of it, and by the next day I felt ok except when I sat on wood.

 

By the day after that I was fine. But I learned a valuable lesson and vouched to never get myself in trouble at school again. A vow I mostly was able to keep, taking even less chances of trouble than I already had.

 

Eventually I was part of a group bad decision toward the end of my senior year, but that was much further down the trail, and that wasn’t near as bad as this incident in 10th grade.

 

I still live in my hometown in summers and Christmas and still see Miss P****l at church and around town occasionally. She couldn’t be nicer, and still takes an interest in me and even wrote me a letter of recommendation for college).

 

But I still remember her as being a woman who can give one heck of a butt whoopin’.

 

The End