About a year after I first took the position of vice principal, I was married – and, as you might expect, children quickly followed.
Our first two children were both boys, so they didn’t present an overly large issue in my job. I was their teacher at one point, and that presented a few awkward moments, but not a big deal. Not too surprisingly, both made the occasional trip to the office and were paddled, but not by me. The belt danced on their bottoms at home and life moved on.
Our third child was our first girl, Emily. She eventually entered seventh grade and came under my authority at school. In retrospect, I guess I should have been mentally prepared for her eventually being written up and having to see me in an official capacity – after all, she had certainly not been perfectly behaved at home.
Somehow, though, I was surprised to see her name come across my desk the first time. I was not, however, surprised to see next to her name that of her best friend, whom I will call Molly for the sake of this story. Molly and Emily had been close since kindergarten and this certainly wasn’t the first time they had misbehaved together.
I called the girls in to my office and gestured for them to take a seat. It was, of course, their first time there and their files were pretty thin. I moved to the write-up – and it was a fairly standard offence, repeated talking and disrupting class.
I looked up and saw that they were certainly nervous to be there, but there was a different ‘vibe’ from most of the girls I had seen. The rest saw me as Mrs Johnson, teacher and vice-principal. But to Emily I was ‘Mom’ and even with Molly, I was a much more familiar presence in her life.
They knew they were in trouble, but I had to get them into ‘student mode’. “So, ladies, can’t keep quiet in class?” I asked “Sorry Mom,” Emily replied. “In this office, you will refer to me as ma’am.” I may have said that with a bit more force than I should have, because Emily nearly jumped – but it got the proper response out of her.
I then phoned Molly’s mother. It was a first for me, in that I didn’t need to look up the number. We chatted a bit, much less formally than I normally did on these calls, but I explained why Molly would be coming home with a sore rear and eventually hung up, after agreeing that we needed to meet for coffee soon.
My attention returned to the girls, and I did my best to continue to treat them like any other students. They bowed their heads for the standard prayers. Then I asked Emily to step outside while I dealt with Molly first.
Molly took up her place over my desk. I felt out the shape of her bottom with the paddle and delivered three scorching hot pops to her bottom. Then I gave her a Kleenex, sent her back to class and ushered in my own wayward daughter.
I felt conflicted – there was no chance she was getting off with just three licks of the paddle before the day was over but I was debating between just pulling her underwear down and thoroughly tanning her hide right then, or continuing to treat her just as a student, then take the belt to her when we got home.
After a few moments of fixing her with my best steely gaze, I came to a decision; a compromise, as it were. Over the desk she went – but I instead of tracing her bottom through her skirt, I flipped it right up and lowered her underwear. That got a couple squeaks of protest but I don’t think she was all that surprised.
Then she got the same three swats as Molly, just as hard but of course with much less protection. With her clothes replaced, Emily too got a Kleenex and was sent back to class, with a promise that we would be discussing this further later that day.
When we got home from school, Emily did her homework and then over the arm of the couch she went. It was somewhat interesting to see the results of the paddling, something that had never happened before. Of course, I’d never given a paddling on a girl’s bare bottom before, either.!
My daughter was clearly sore but nonetheless the belt had its say on her hindquarters, as I fully expressed my displeasure at her earlier misbehaviour. This wasn’t a few quick licks to reignite the previous flame – this was an old-fashioned butt whipping, designed to significantly alter her behaviour. I take school misbehaviour highly seriously and I was making sure she would think twice about disrupting another class.
Finally, as Emily sobbed into the couch, I put the belt away. Then I sent her to bed without supper and hours before her normal bedtime.
I wish I could say that was Emily’s final trip to my office, but at least it didn’t happen again that school year.