I thought your readers might be interested in my experience of paddling young ladies’ bottoms at a private Christian school where I taught.
I began my career in the 1970s and late in that decade, I was fortunate enough to be hired by a relatively large Christian private school in Mississippi. Being from Ohio and having previously taught there as well, it was a bit of a culture shock, but it was a post I came to love.
I had just finished a second degree in school administration, but had no luck finding a job in that field. However, this post represented a decent increase in my salary, as well as a decrease in living expenses.
The timing of it all was interesting. Though I never got the full details as to why the change happened, the same year I got the job, the church board decided on a significant alteration of the school’s policy on corporal punishment. The paddle was removed from classrooms, and from that point on, students could only be paddled by an administrator.
As a teacher, I always tried to use my best judgement about whether to send students to the office for a sore bottom, and only did so if I felt they really needed a spanking.
This was a school that expected good behaviour – and mostly got it. However, as I have said, it was relatively large establishment (about 450 students in grades seven to 12), so even if only a small fraction misbehaved in any given week, there were always a few paddlings given out.
In order for girls to be paddled, a female witness was required to be present. So if I was on my break period and a girl needed her bottom warming, I was generally the witness. In reality, however, girls were much more likely to be left off with a warning or detention than boys. I can tell you, though – a paddling was no joke. It was administered hard, even to the girls.
This system seemed to be working fine to me, but around 1983 or 84, the board made another decision – that girls could no longer be paddled by a man. This created a dilemma – the principal was the only person authorised to paddle, and he was a man.
So, here’s where I really entered the picture. I just happened to have that degree in school administration, so I got what was mostly a token promotion (and a not large but appreciated raise) and became vice principal. In essence, tacking a couple grand a year extra on my salary was cheaper for them than hiring someone else.
So it was that I went from teaching six periods a day to four, with an hour every morning and every afternoon to dedicate to being, in essence, the dean of girls’ discipline.
I made a decision, based on my own opinion as a teacher over the previous half decade or so: if a girl was sent to my office and didn’t convince me otherwise, I paddled her. I left writing lines or handing out detentions up to the teachers.
In my office, it was three to five swats and one or two days’ suspension – with a phone call home. Girls still got sent to the office less. Actually, we had to create a new policy where they were ‘written up’ and I called them down during my next office period. This was not fun for the girl in question, as it could be a long wait.
Once they got to my office, they were far more likely to be spanked than in the past. Some of those phone calls home were interesting, too. Some parents seemed to not really care, while some promised me: “She’s in for the thrashing of her life when she gets home.” Others would promise to ground the girl in question or, in more recent years, take her phone away.
There were some parents who seemed unsure of what to do when their child got home. I tried my best to give advice without overstepping my bounds – thought words like ‘hairbrush’ and ‘belt’ left my mouth a lot, I must confess.
One thing I almost never encountered were parents opposed to a good sore bottom – I guess you didn’t send your kids to a school like that if you didn’t want them spanked!