This is my first story and relates to my time at a grammar school in the south of England in the 1970s. This was an era when the cane was in full use and even we girls were not exempt. I will set the scene first before explaining how I got whacked.
The school only used two types of punishment, detentions or the cane. For minor offences pupils were put on report and awarded points based on the seriousness of the offence. When you reached a certain total in a term you were caned. The teachers were very clever in not revealing the total required. At the end of term the total returned to zero again. Also three detentions in a term or five in a year meant six of the best. However this did not add points to your total so there was no double jeopardy of reaching your points total and getting caned twice for the same offence. For really serious offences it was instant caning. These were playing truant, bullying, smoking, swearing etc. Once again no points were added. Most canings took place in private but bullying offences meant a public caning in assembly in front of the whole school.
The school uniform was tight grey skirt for girls and grey trousers for boys. A white shirt or blouse & tie with a school blazer on top. All canings were given on the bum over the clothes. The procedure was that names were read out at the end of assembly by the head. Boys were told to report to his office and we girls had to report to Miss Walker’s office. Miss Walker was the senior mistress, a tall lady with short blond hair. She was in her thirties and usually wore tight skirt, blouse and high heels. This was normal dress code for female teachers of that time. Most days at least one name would be read out.
I had seen public canings during my first three years at the school. On all occasions the recipient had been left crying and had yelped throughout the ordeal. This confirmed my worst suspicion that Miss Walker knew how to handle the cane and was not afraid to hurt girls. Several of my friends confirmed this during the first year!
I had been lucky and escaped the cane in my first three years at the school. I suspect it was more by luck than judgement because I did get several detentions but not enough to trigger the target. However in the summer term of year 4 in 1977 I finally got caught. I was late one morning and put on report. However in my haste to get to school I forgot to bring my English homework. Near the end of the lesson the teacher asked us to hand it in. I suddenly realised that I had left it at home. I was forced to admit that I did not have my homework and was put on report again. I was not unduly worried because I had not been on report much that term and thought I would probably be safe.
Next morning I was in assembly and it got to the time to read out the names. I recall that ten names were read out and I was shocked when I was included. We were ordered to stand up so all the school could see us and then told to go and wait for our punishment. The six boys went outside the head’s office and the four girls waited outside Miss Walker’s office. I had been told by my friends that the order of caning was decided by date of birth so I worked out that I would be the third girl caned. Two girls were from the second year and one was from the fifth year. We waited for some time and other pupils leaving assembly had walked past and smirked at us. Then I heard the clipping of Miss Walker’s shoes approaching. She breezed past and entered her office.
After a few minutes she came out and summoned in one of the second years. I could hear the sound of her being told off. Then it went quiet. Suddenly there was the unmistakable sound of the cane being used….SWISH, WHACK, SWISH, WHACK, SWISH, WHACK, SWISH, WHACK, SWISH, WHACK, SWISH, WHACK. After the third stroke there was also the sound of groaning which became loud yelps by stroke five. Then the door opened and the girl came out. She was crying and had red eyes (probably matching her bum). She was walking awkwardly and rubbing her rear.
Number Two was summoned in and the whole procedure repeated. Same result!
Then I heard my name being called out. ”Sandra Smith, come with me,” she ordered. I walked behind in a very pensive state. I had never been caned before and was frightened. My knees were shaking and my heart was racing. Miss Walker read me the riot act. To be on report twice in one day was disgusting I was told. I also found out why I was being caned, each report in a day doubles the points for every report. I was told to remove my blazer and bend over a chair back which was in the middle of the room. I saw Miss Walker pick up a cane. She flexed it a couple of times and then swished it. It had the desired affect and I was terrified. She walked behind me to my left hand side. I felt the cane tap the middle of my bum. Tap, tap, tap and then I heard a swish. I felt the blow hit me and nothing happened immediately. But within a few seconds it felt like my bum was on fire. I took a deep breath in and was not sure that I could take five more of those. Miss Walker repeated the stroke again but slightly lower down. God did that bring on the fire….I started to wriggle. I was told to stay still or I would get extra. The third stroke was above the other two and by now I as struggling not to cry or groan. Stroke Four was delivered above the others and had the desired affect; I yelped and my eyes started to fill up. I gripped the chair arms really hard to stop myself moving. The fifth stroke was below all of the others and I thought it was harder than the rest. This maybe true but it could just be that my bum was burning so much by then that it affected my thoughts. “Last one,” said Miss Walker. I felt her tapping again, very low down just where my thighs met my bum. SWISH, WHACK…swiftly followed by a loud yelp and I felt the tears start to run. I was told to get up and put my blazer back on. I was desperate to rub my bum but thought it better to wait until I was outside of the office. I was told to go to my class.
I left the room in tears and rubbing my bum hard I went via the toilets to clean up and have a quick check for damage. After a quick wash I inspected myself as best I could and saw six bright red marks crossing my rear. I quickly left and returned to class. When I went in I was asked why I was late, even though the teacher obviously knew. I was forced to explain and then told to sit down. As I sat I felt the pain wriggled which caused much amusement to my classmates. I vowed not to get caned again but sadly this was not my only visit to Miss Walker and her favourite friend as she called the cane. I will recount the other visits in future stories.