Having previously written about corporal punishment in the home, I thought you’d like to hear about my experiences at school, where my own bottom received most attention.
I attended infant and junior schools in Sutton Coldfield (then in Warwickshire) from 1961 to 1967, and then a grammar school on the outskirts of Huddersfield from 1967 until 1972, following a house move.
My infants school was, on reflection, underfunded and the teachers overworked. As such, they were very stressed and quite violent. The headmaster had a slipper, but most class teachers relied on their own palms or wooden rulers to enforce discipline.
My second teacher at infants school was particularly free with smacked bottoms. She would spank with full force, sometimes pulling down our shorts and underwear before doing so, and would often leave handprint-shaped bruises on our backsides. The first time it was done to me, I showed my mother my bottom, expecting sympathy. Instead, I was referred to Father for a dose of the belt! I quickly learned not to tell my parents if I had been in trouble at school.
Junior school was more systematic in its application of corporal punishment. I dreaded beltings at home but smackings at junior school could sometimes be quite pleasurable for me. Generally, the teachers would give a shorts-down but underwear-up smacking for moderate misbehaviour, or the strap for more serious misbehaviour. These punishments were usually administer in the hallway or cloakrooms, but severe misbehaviour could lead to an ‘in-class’ lesson.
The worst consequence was the strap from the headmaster during morning assembly. Girls were strapped on their hands, usually in multiples of three (the most I ever saw applied in one go to a girl was 18 strokes). The boys were strapped on their bottoms, usually over just underwear.
I was strapped in assembly once, when I was 10. We had a mathematics exam and I decided to copy off of my desk mate. Unfortunately my teacher noticed and I was referred to the headmaster. I scarcely slept that night, and the next morning my stomach was tight and painful as I thought about my upcoming punishment.
Those to be strapped had to stand behind the headmaster throughout the assembly, looking out at all of the other children and the class teachers, a process which I found tremendously humiliating. Once the assembly and hymns were all over, the headmaster turned to me and gestured to the strapping chair, saying: “It’s time to show you all what happens to cheaters.”
I received 12 strokes of the strap (a two-tailed affair made locally, I believe) across the seat of my underpants. Taking my shorts down in front of everyone was embarrassing, and the strap was heavier and more painful than my father’s belt (although he didn’t limit himself to just 12 whacks!).
I vividly remember my thighs trembling and muscles spasming as I stood there, waiting for the leather to hit my bottom. I was terrified of wetting myself, as I had seen other children do during these punishments. Quite cruelly, if a child wet their pants during a beating, their underwear would be left on their desk all day to humiliate them.
Fortunately I didn’t wet myself but the pain was so bad that I cried – something which humiliated me horribly. Worse still was the note I was given to take home to my parents, explaining my misdeeds and subsequent punishment. That night, I was given one of the very few bare bottom beltings I got from my father, and I can vividly remember the strange rough, hard texture of my skin after the thrashing. Normally, after CP my siblings and I would make fun of one another, but on this occasion my bottom was in such a state that not a word was said.
Grammar school was a step up in terms of the intensity and frequency of corporal punishment. It was an all-boys school with an all-male staff (referred to as ‘masters’ rather than ‘teachers’) and having moved halfway across the country that summer, it all felt frighteningly new and different compared to the relatively cosy world of my familiar old junior school.
In my very first lesson, the master gave three different boys the cane. Every master had his own cane, and most also had a slipper or ruler they used too. There was also a fair amount of throwing of chalk and board rubber, hair-pulling, face-slapping and ear-tugging.
The cane was applied to boys’ palms, knuckles, thighs or bottoms, depending on the master and the situation. The knuckles was the worst in terms of severity – a couple of boys actually had knuckles broken by raging masters – but the bottom was by far the most embarrassing. Having to bend over and participate in the punishment made it far, far worse.
Meanwhile, at home, my beltings from Father began to tail off once I got to around 12 or 13. However, canings continued regularly in school right up until I left at 16.
One games master was particularly ritualistic in his methods, and while I don’t as an adult generally enjoy punishment from men I was becoming aware of my interest in corporal punishment at the time and I liked the ritual. Once he decided to punish someone, they would be sent to the games storage cupboard to wait for him.
Once the rest of the class was settled in some activity, he’d come to see you, closing the door very slowly behind him. He would then walk – ever so slowly – to a cupboard where he kept his implements. These consisted of a cane, a metal yardstick, a slipper and a large piece of wood.
An implement would be selected and the master would tap it against his other hand a couple of times, grinning. He’d then order us to bend over a metal shoe rack, which had an empty sports bag over the top (presumably to cushion it), then yank our sports shorts right up our bottom crack, revealing our bare buttocks. Then the punishment would be given. He tended to favour the slipper, and his punishments always left my bottom with a pleasing warm glow.
As an adult, I’m very glad that children are no longer subject to such abuses. That said, I’m glad I got to experience them because they’ve provided me with a lot of memories to enjoy.