Slippering While On Report

When I was in the third year of secondary school I was picked on, bullied really, by two boys in the year above me who lived on the same way home as me. If they caught up with me as we were walking home they would push me about and hit me and take my cap and throw it over the walls of fences and houses along the way. They were both bigger than me as well as older and there wasn’t much I could do when they were both together.

One day, though, just as I was getting my jacket from the hangers outside my formroom, one of the boys – Stringer (that was his surname, at my school boys were always called by surname and girls by Christian name – I don’t think I ever knew his first name) walked by, by himself.

I wanted to try to get my revenge in one on one fight and, without thinking about it, I just jumped on him and started hitting him as hard as I could. I had taken him by surprise and got the better at first but he was stronger than me and was beginning to take charge when the fight was interrupted by my form teacher, Mr Peters.

He separated us and told us to go with him into the form room where he would slipper us. He wasn’t interested in who had started it or why, he had caught us fighting and that meant we should both get the slipper.

I’m really not sure why I argued with him. It was never going to do me any good. But I protested and said that that wasn’t fair and that that I wanted to go to the headmaster. Partly it was because I wanted to get Stringer the cane but I must have known I would probably be caned too. I think I must have hoped that if I explained to the head how Stringer and the other boy had been picking on me he might let me off and just cane Stringer.

Mr Peters told me that wasn’t a very good idea. And I’m sure, looking back, that he didn’t particularly like the idea of someone from his form appealing over his head. But I really wasn’t thinking very sensibly at the time. Stringer obviously would have preferred the slippering option too, so that made me all the more insistent.

So in the end, after we had tidied up a little he took us down the stairs and along the corridor to the head’s office. Mr Peters knocked and went in and told us to stand still outside. I was smiling at Stringer as if I’d won somehow. We couldn’t hear what was being said inside.

After a bit Mr Peters opened the door and we went in and the head questioned us in front of Mr Peters about what had happened. Once the basic facts had been confirmed Mr Peters left.

I owned up that I had started the fight and tried to explain the background but the head said he was not interested in history but only in this fight where it seemed I was the aggressor. He also blamed me for not accepting the punishment from Mr Peters and for getting him involved.

He said he was going to cane both of us as fighting was a serious matter regardless of who started it. There was something about the headmaster that made me disinclined to argue with him as I had with my form teacher.

He stood up and got a cane out from the cupboard and pulled a stool into the middle of the room. He told me to stand by the wall and Stringer to go and bend right over the stool. He flipped up the flap at the bottom of his jacket.

Then he tapped the cane across his trousers a couple of times and whacked it down really hard. I’d never seen a can used before then. Stringer’s whole body shuddered but I didn’t hear a sound from him. Almost straight away, he lifted the cane again and delivered a second stroke. This time I heard Stringer gasp and I was glad that the headmaster was hurting him more than I had been able to.

The head moved back and told Stringer to stand up. He told him to go where I was standing by the wall and me to come and bend over the stool – it was my turn.

I think it was only then, for the first time that I realised what I’d let myself in for and started to be scared. Up till then I’d probably been fuelled by adrenalin. But I suddenly felt very vulnerable as I bent over the stool.

I felt still worse when the headmaster said that he was going to cane me more severely than Stringer as I had started the fight. He didn’t say how many strokes it would be but flipped my jacket back up and began tapping the cane across my bottom. This seemed to take longer than it had with Stringer but my wait was over soon enough and I heard the sound of the can and almost at the same time the thud as it hit hard denting into my trousers.

And then, just following the impact a pain much worse than I’d expected even after seeing Stringer get it. I didn’t actually see stars like the comics showed boys doing but it was like a sudden bright light, maybe because of how tightly I closed my eyes. I forced myself to keep my mouth tight closed, I knew Stringer was watching, but it was very hard. I didn’t lose hold of the stool but I was aware of the head telling me to stay still.

I gripped the stool tightly and tilted it backwards and forwards as the second stroke landed. I think I couldn’t help it that time and I yelped loudly. But the head had no mercy and I felt the cane tapping on my sore bottom again before the third and hardest stroke which seemed to land exactly where my bum was sorest. This time I really did yell and I remember rocking backwards and forwards over the stool. The head tapped my bum with the cane again and I tried to prepare myself for yet another stroke as I realised I had started to cry but thankfully he then told me that I could stand up.

He made me put the stool back where it had come from and then got me and Stringer to stand in front of his desk for another lecture. Then he turned to me and said that in addition to the caning he was going to put me on report for a week for not accepting my form teacher’s authority.

He made me go and stand by the wall and told Stringer to go. This time I had to stand facing the wall.

He made me wait there for a long time, until he thought we wouldn’t bump into each other on the way back and then let me go.

I was very late home and mum was angry with me but by then, although my bottom still hurt a lot, I was able to hide it and I made some excuse and she never knew I’d been caned.

The day after that first caning I had to go to the secretary’s office before school and pick up my report card. This was a card with all the days of the school week on it and all the lessons marked for each day. When you were on report you had to wait after each class and give the card to the teacher who would score your behaviour for each class by writing either G for good, U for unsatisfactory or S for satisfactory.

It was very difficult to get Gs – I think I got two over the entire week – but some teachers would give U’s for anything at all. In one English lesson I never did or said anything at all and I got a U because the teacher said I hadn’t contributed to the lesson!
Also some teachers would give me an S but then lecture me about how they were being generous and I needed to improve. Just having to wait after the end of the class, often with the next class lining up outside was embarrassing but it also meant I often got off to a bad start for the next lesson and having to explain to the teacher why I was late and that I was on report.

The first period of every Friday afternoon was “Form period” when all pupils were in their own form room and the form teachers dealt with any administrative matters and we then did private study. It was also the time when any pupils who had been on report had to take their report cards and show them to the headmaster.

The fight and my caning was on a Wednesday, so I only had a day and half of the card (11 lessons) filled in by the first Friday form period. Nevertheless, I knew the rule so I wasn’t surprised when Mr Peters told me to take my report card to the headmaster. He asked me to show it to him first and theatrically drew in a deep breath before wishing me luck! I think it was about 3 U’s and the rest S’s.
My bottom was still bruised and I could still feel the effects of the caning when I sat down but I wasn’t as worried as maybe I should have been because I thought the head would just look at the card and warn me and then decide on any extra punishment after I reported again in next week’s form period. But I really didn’t want to get the cane again just two days after my first time!

There was already a boy waiting by the door to the head’s office and I had to report to the secretary and give her my name and then she told me to stand next to him in silence. A minute or two later another boy came and went through the same procedure and then she knocked on the head’s door and ushered the first boy in. Me and the other boy looked at each other and he smiled wryly at me.
The secretary came out and closed the door. I couldn’t hear anything that was going on in there for what seemed like ages and I heard the sound the cane thwacking down and the boy’s answering yell. It suddenly brought back to me how much my own caning had hurt and I shivered. Two more strokes followed.

Then again there was a pause and finally the boy came out and the secretary told me to go in. The first thing I saw was the cane on the head’s desk in front of him. I knew it was just from caning the first boy and didn’t mean anything about what was going to happen to me, but I still winced involuntarily at the sight.

Mr Taylor held out his hand for the report card and started to go through it. He made me explain in detail about the circumstances of all of the 3 or 4 U’s I had got and it was obvious that in some cases the teachers had already spoken to him about it. I didn’t really try to defend myself too much and just said I was sorry and it would be better next week. He even asked me about some of the lessons which I’d got S’s for. This all took quite some time and was very stressful especially with the cane still lying just in front of him.
After having finally gone through to the last lesson on Friday morning he put the card back on the table and looked at me.
He said something like “This isn’t really good enough, Marling, is it?” and picked up the cane!

I was too shocked to respond. He must have seen by my face how I felt.

But after a bit he slowly put the cane down again and said “I won’t cane you this time, Marling, as it has only been one and a half days. But I think you need a warning to improve your behaviour. “ He said he was going to give me a note to take to Mr Peters to ask him to slipper me and that unless next week’s card was significantly better he would cane me then and even consider extending the on report period.

So I had to stand there as he wrote the note out in front of me. He folded it and told me to give it to Mr Peters “with his compliments”. And then he signed my report card at the bottom and told me to give it to the secretary and get a new one and then go back to my form room. The last boy went in as I left.

As I walked back I was thinking that this was something that Mr Taylor and Mr Peters had cooked up between them because I hadn’t taken the slippering from Mr Peters in the first place. I’d had the slipper in front of the class before and it was usually more embarrassing than painful, though some teachers could really hurt with just 1 or 2 whacks. But this time I thought Mr Peters was probably going to make an example out of me and not stop at just 1 or 2.

I was right. I handed the note to him (and the compliments!) and he announced to the class that I had let the class down by being on report and that as the head had left it to him to deal with me he was going to give me a sound slippering.

Normally slipperings in front of the class (which only happened to boys) were just one or two whacks and you had to bend side onwards to the class holding your legs for it. But this time Mr Peters took his plimsole from his desk and asked a girl at the front to move out of her seat and then for me to stand in front of her desk and lean forward, supporting my weight by holding on to the near end of the desk.
I was very aware of everyone watching as I bent down. We did not usually wear our jackets in class but I had put mine on to go and see the headmaster and he flipped up the bottom of it.

My friends told me afterwards that he had really hit hard, harder than he usually did, but I realised that from the first whack myself. My bum was still sore and that first whack was hard enough to physically knock me forward and my whole bottom felt on fire. I just concentrated on staying in position and making as little noise as I possibly could.

He didn’t make it easy for me. The next whack (and they all seemed harder as he went on) was on the exact same place and took me by surprise before he turned his attention to my other bottom cheek. I was trying so hard to take it without making too much of a fool of myself that I soon lost count of the number of whacks.

When he pulled me by my hair and told me to get up I had to stumble my way back to my desk and everyone saw I was crying but there was no laughing or giggling from the girls. I think most pupils were shocked at how hard it had been. I carefully lowered myself into my seat. There was only about a quarter of an hour left of form period, but it was a deeply uncomfortable 15 minutes for me.
Afterwards my friends told me I’d got 8 whacks. I was shocked as I’d never heard of anyone getting more than 6 before.

To add insult to injury, at the end of the form period I had to take my card to Mr Peters and he marked it U – because he’d had to give me the slipper!

This has taken longer to write than I thought so I will stop here and write down an account of my last period on report when I get a chance.
John3853 John3853
56-60, M
3 Responses May 13, 2012

Sorry but that just wasn't fair

This just proves to me yet again the injustice of the archaic barbaric system of discipline that existed in our schools in those days - see my post on the subject. As victims of bullying boys were told to "man up" and not to be such a "namby-pamby", the inference being that their misery was all their own fault !! I'm sure this was behind your headmasters' remark about history. And a single punishment was never enough - they had to drag it out to emphasise the extent of the power they had over pupils.

Just goes to show that life is not fair.