My experience takes me back to 1970, as a 13-year-old in the early days at a boys secondary school in the English Midlands.
Discipline was generally carried out by individual teachers to address any misbehaviour in class, and normally involved being called to the front of the class, ordered to touch toes, and given a single hefty whack with a gym pump, known among all pupils as ‘Getting the Whack’.
More general or serious offences involved a visit to the Deputy Headmaster, where, ironically, punishments were along the lines of the above single whack, sometimes two, so not that much more severe than those administered by the class teachers. He also administered any canings across the bottom, although these were infrequent and reserved for particularly serious offences.
One breaktime, a pal and I ventured out of the school grounds into a field next door which was off-limits, and anyone caught there could be in trouble. Don’t ask me why we went! A teacher caught us, and said we could expect to be sent for by the Deputy Headmaster.
For the rest of the day, we were expecting our summons to go along for the whack, as this was the punishment for venturing into the field.
The day went without the call. I thought we had got away with it, but the next day, at PE class, a message came through that we were to go to the Deputy Headmaster’s office straightaway. He wanted to see us, no time to change, just get there now, straight away!
After leaving the gym class to the sniggers of our classmates, as we were going to ‘Get the Whack’, the pair of us walked in near silence through the main school in our PE kits, which consisted of thin white cotton shorts, white T-Shirt, and gym pumps. Fortunately, it was lesson time so we did not have the embarrassment of being seen in the main school attired in that way.
I remember saying to my mate that if we were to get ‘The Whack’, then our shorts were not going to provide a lot of protection!
On knocking and entering the study, I noticed two chairs had been brought in from the nearby reception area, backs facing the desk, and the pump on the desk.
The Deputy Headmaster ordered us to stand shoulder to shoulder, arms by our sides, chins up, shoulders back, as if to attention. He explained that we had been caught in the field, we knew it was out of bounds, and we are both going to be slippered.
Still thinking that we were going to be ordered, in turn, to touch our toes for the customary one or two whacks, he ordered us to kneel on the two chairs, facing the backs, and shuffled us together so our hips touched. Then, picking up the pump, he ordered us to bend forward over the chair backs onto the desk.
I thought it was a bit of a ceremony for one whack, and he ordered us not to get up until he said we could.
He then proceeded to pull the waistband of my shorts up further, and tug at the legs, thereby tightening the fabric over my bottom. The shorts were a fairly snug fit anyway. Then he rubbed my bottom with his hand in a circular motion, before doing the same to my friend.
With my PE shorts covered bottom bent over the back of the chair, I felt the tap of the pump. Then, I felt aware of the draw back, and the ‘thwack!’ as a stinging whack landed on my thinly clad rear. I sensed my friend tensing his rear in readiness for his first.
My friend gasped as the sole of the slipper cracked across his bottom. I felt the tap of the slipper on my rear, after which the second whack stung another area of my bottom.
I knew the punishment would not stop at the two whacks. He proceeded to deliver hard strokes, in turn, to each of our bottoms. After my whole backside was thoroughly reddened, and the strokes continued, I had to verbally react, as did my friend.
I couldn’t recall how many strokes we had, but with throbbing bottoms, he ordered us to get up, and, rubbing our bottoms, we listened as he told us that any further incursions into that field may result in us being caned, pointing to the cupboard where his cane was apparently kept.
We re-joined the gym class to some sarcastic cheering from our classmates, and had to finish the gym lesson in considerable discomfort, but the real embarrassment was when we had showers at the end; It was quite normal to see a marked bottom resulting from a single whack administered during the gym lesson, gym teachers being notoriously liberal with slipperings, but our bright red bottoms drew a mixture of amusement, fascination, and curiosity from our classmates!
It was widely believed that the Deputy Headmaster derived pleasure from punishments, and may be why he awaited for me and my friend to be attired in gym kits, but also may have been planned as a warning to the rest of the class, in that the result of the punishment, bright red bottoms, would be seen by many others!