Slippered In The GymI was at a mixed grammar school in the south of England where corporal punishment – slipper and cane for boys, slipper for girls - was used. But I was a well-behaved and studious girl who never really got into much trouble. I reached the sixth form having never even been in detention with my worst punishment having to write out fifty lines in the third year.
In my first term in the sixth year the headmaster brought in a new rule that we weren’t supposed to leave the school premises during dinner hour. This was apparently because a junior boy had been involved in an accident when he’d been out of the school. I had been regularly going to the local library – which was just a few hundred yards away, across two minor roads – during dinner hour to do some reading.
I heard the announcement of the new rule in assembly but somehow I didn’t think it applied to what I was doing. I was a 6th former and I was going out for a good reason to a safe place which wasn’t at all dangerous to get to.
So, I carried on going to the library.
On the second day when I got back to the school gates there was a teacher waiting for me. It was Mr Falconer, who had taken us for maths in the second year. He shook his head when he saw me and said “I didn’t think you were a rule breaker, Donna”.
I explained that I had only been to the library – I actually had a library book to prove it – but he said it was against the rules and made me stand there with him till the bell went for the end of dinner hour. No other pupils came back while we waited. I’m sure that any real “rule breakers” wouldn’t have returned to the front gate like me but would have sneaked back into the school some other way.
Anyway, the bell finally went and as the rest of the school lined up Mr Falconer walked me to the headmaster’s office. He knocked on the door and ushered me in with him and explained to the head how he had caught me. He then left, leaving me alone with Mr Flatman (Fatman as the naughty boys called him!).
He was very angry and wanted to know why I had insolently disregarded his instructions. It was very scary but I managed to explain that the route was perfectly safe, that I’d been going to the library in dinner hour for ages and that I had not thought that the rule applied to pupils in the sixth form. In fact when I’d heard the rule announced I’d really not though that it applied to me but only to those naughty boys who were always getting into trouble.
But it was to no avail. He said I should have asked my form master for a pass and would then have been able to show it to Mr Falconer when I got back. But I had never heard about a system of passes!
Anyway, after a lot of telling off and shouting he got out his fountain pen and started to write a note. I couldn’t read it from where I stood. He put it in an envelope and sealed it and told me to take it to Miss Baxter, the Games and Sports mistress. However, I was first to go and join my class for the first lesson which had just started and then go and see Miss Baxter with the note in afternoon break. He told me that she would countersign the note “once she had dealt with me”.
So I had to go and knock on the door and arrive late at my class. We were mostly in small groups in the sixth form and there were only about six of us there I think, mostly girls, but I knew that some of them had probably seen me being taken to the head by Mr Falconer. And they must all have known I was in some sort of big trouble. The teacher obviously knew too because he didn’t ask why I was late but just told me to go and sit down. Luckily Jackie, my friend, had brought my bag with her.
She tried to whisper to me asking what it was all about during the lesson but I didn’t reply. And I didn’t stay to tell her about it when the bell went for break but just asked her to give my bad to another girl who was going to be in the same group as me after break.
I wanted to report to Miss Baxter as soon as possible – both to “get it overwith” as quickly as possible and also to give me more time after the whacking - I knew I was going to get the slipper – to recover by the next lesson.
I had seen Miss Baxter use the slipper a few times – girls were only slippered in front of the class in girls’ only lessons like gym or domestic science. I knew she slippered very hard but I’d never seen her or any teacher at the school ever give more than 4 whacks with the slipper – and I’d seen her reduce girls to tears with that.
But there were rumours that girls sent to her by the head for the slipper – like me – could get many more whacks. I remember in the fourth year two girls had told the rest of us that they’d got twelve vicious whacks each! I hadn’t believed it at the time and had assumed they were making it up because they were ashamed of having cried (it was obvious they had), but now I was very worried that they might have been telling the truth :-(
So I went to Miss Baxter’s office, through the girls’ changing rooms and knocked on her door. She was there and called me to come in. That was a relief in a way as if she hadn’t been I’d have had to go to the staffroom or the secretary to find out where she was and that would have been very embarrassing.
So I went in and gave her the envelope. I think she had been expecting me. She read the note and just looked at me and said something like “I am going to slipper your bottom so hard that you’ll wish you’d never been born!”
She fumbled about in a box in a corner of the room and took out a large old-looking black plimsoll, probably a man’s one from the size. She held it by the heel end and whacked it down on her table hard – the noise was terrifying and I squeaked in apprehension. I’d never come close to getting the slipper before and even at home mum hadn’t spanked me since I was about eight or nine.
She told me we were going into the gym and that I should take off my shoes and socks. We weren’t allowed to wear shoes in the gym and she said socks would be too slippery “and we don’t want you falling over”. She was wearing plimsolls herself as I think she always did.
In the gym she made me stand by the wall bars and hold onto the lowest of them. I was wearing black trousers as we were allowed to do in the sixth form and I could feel them tightening over my bottom as I bent. I suppose that was my one bit of good luck that day, because the girls I’d seen get the slipper had got it over their knickers.
It was so embarrassing bending there with my bottom about to be whacked. But I forgot about that as soon as the first slap of the slipper smacked down. I had never imagined how much it could hurt, I didn’t see stars but I did suddenly see a flash of bright light and I yelped and held on as tightly as I could to the bar because then the next one was coming and then the next and I had no way of keeping count because it was hurting so much and all the effort I could divert from the awareness of the pain was devoted to holding on and trying to stay as still as possible so as not to annoy Miss Baxter.
It just went on and on and I was crying and sobbing and yelling for her to stop but she kept on going, whack after whack on my sore bottom, each whack hurting more than the last and building up in an unbearable crescendo of pain. You might think that at a certain point the pain becomes so bad that you don’t react any more to more slaps, that your body becomes numbed, but this didn’t happen, it just got worse and worse and worse with the whacks coming as regularly as a metronome until finally and unbelievably there came a pause.
I didn’t dare to stand without permission and I just held onto the rail wriggling and howling. I was right to do so. Suddenly Miss Baxter unleashed the last two whacks of my ordeal taking me completely by surprise and causing me to howl like a banshee.
Only then did she tell me to stand up and go back to her office and put my shoes and socks back on.
That was harder than you might imagine. It hurt to walk and I didn’t even try to sit down as I pulled my socks back on. Miss Baxter watched me as I struggled and tried to stop crying.
Then she scrawled something on the note that she’d left on her desk and told me to go and take it back to Mr Flatman. But I didn’t go back straightaway. I went to the girls’ toilets and locked myself into a cubicle and tried to prepare myself for the last lesson of the day after the bell went for the end of break.
I looked at the note – Mr Flatman had just written something like “give this girl a sound slippering” and Miss Baxter had written “Done!” – and she certainly had. I carefully undid my trousers and eased them down and I could see the damage the plimsoll had done without even taking off my knickers which, as luck would have it, were not rather skimpy that day. My whole bottom including my upper thighs was a bright red and already there were incipient bruises.
I pulled my trousers up again and went to the wash basins, forced myself to stop crying, and washed my face, just in time for the bell at the end of break.
Walking was still painful and I walked slowly and carefully but I did just make ti in time for the start of the lesson. I sat down tentatively and Lisa told me that I winced and gasped as I did so. Everyone in the class could must have been aware that I’d just been slippered for naughtiness. I just put my head in my hands and paid no attention to the lesson and started to cry again, but quietly this time.
After school I took the note back to Mr Flatman though I’m sure my appearance would have informed him just as well as Miss Baxter’s confirmation that I’d been slippered.
He didn’t keep me long but told me I would have dinner time detention for the next two weeks “as I couldn’t be trusted”.
I never became a prefect, though most of my friends did and I am pretty sure that it was this incident to blame.