I am pleased to have found the courage to finally tell you my own story. In Canada, schools used the strap – but it wasn’t like the leather ones used in British schools.
The Canadian school strap was made of a thick plastic-like material which stretched and wrapped around your hand. Most of my teachers would only give you one stroke, but that was enough to turn a child’s hand red and sore. I had one teacher at my prepatory intermediate school who would give six strokes every time, no matter the crime. She would leave your hand bruised and swollen.
At home, when we were little we’d get a traditional hand spanking over our mother’s knee. However, once we hit seven or eight, Mom would begin to use a pink plastic belt on our bare bottoms.
We had to bend over the end of our beds, bare bottom up, so Mom could give us a couple of minutes of hard, fast whipping. Our backsides would be red and stinging immediately after the punishment, but nearly all the marks would fade within an hour or two.
Dad grew up in England, and he would sometimes jokingly threaten us with his heritage by using a a cane from the garden on our bottoms. But in truth, he never laid a finger on us – it was Mom who did all the whipping in our house!
I never spanked my own kids, and the strap is now long gone from our nation’s schools. My home town recently saw a protest at the town hall to ‘bring back the strap’ but in the end only five people showed up to support the move, while more than 100 staged a counter-protest. Clearly, the belt has had it’s day, and I for one am glad it’s gone.
Editor’s note: It appears that the Canadian school strap was in fact generally made from rubber belting, rather like the material used in industry to build conveyors. Corporal punishment website Corpun has more details (and photos) here.