The cane and corporal punishment

So far it seems that my post on school discipline Victorian-style has attracted the most views, so I shall say a little bit more about the cane. Most schoolmasters would have used the cane for discipline, and it was not uncommon for senior pupils to use it on junior pupils as well. In fact the cane was used in British schools into the 1970s I believe, although less often in the later years. The cane was usually made of a thin wooden stick probably 10mm thick. Sometimes it was bamboo or rattan, but it was certainly also made out of other wood as well. Birch was used for some canes and it was often kept in a tank so that it was wet and more pliable. The cane often had a curved or crooked handle. The length of the cane was usually less than 1 metre.

Boys were generally caned on their bottom or hands, while girls were often caned on the backs of their legs and also on their hands. It is usually accepted that caning on the hands was probably the more painful. The schoolmaster would choose to cane the hand that was not used for writing, and three or six strokes were given, usually aimed to be placed across the fingers, which hurt more than the palms of the hand. If the hand was withdrawn, extra strokes were given. Caning on the bottom was sometimes aided by the victim bending over a chair, or sometimes over a vaulting horse, but it was also possible that the pupil would just be told to bend over and touch his toes. A number of strokes were applied, sometimes only one or two, with six of the best being reserved for serious offences. It was not common for the cane to be given on the bare bottom, it was usually given over clothes, but in boarding schools it would often be given at the end of the day when the pupil was wearing pyjamas.

That said, at Eton, during Victorian times, a recalcitrant pupil might be given the birch. This was not a birch rod, but a cluster of thin birch branches, bound together, and looking much like the head of a besom (the broom used for sweeping leaves). In this case the pupil dropped trousers and underpants and was hit repeatedly with the birch. This inflicted a mild pain at the first stroke, which built into a more intense pain with each subsequent stroke. The birching was usually given in a kneeling position and never over clothes. The school punishment was reinforced by home punishment and the wise pupil would not willingly admit to a caning at school as this might well elicit a further punishment at home.

The Victorian child soon learnt that if he wanted to misbehave he should ensure that he did not get caught. Did the punishment work? There is little doubt that for some pupils the threat of a caning was a sufficient deterrent to prevent misdemeanours. For the more serial offender it did not completely stop bad behaviour, but it certainly curbed it. Was it abused? Almost certainly. There is little doubt that there were teachers and prefects who gave punishments in an unfair or sadistic way. Corporal punishment finally ended in Britain in the late 1980s and one wonders if the loutish behaviour of some teenagers today would not have been tamed by application of some old-fashioned punishment. When I was a boy, rules were black and white, and you knew how far you could go. Nowadays it appears that rules are meant to be broken and you get away with as much as you can. A bit of Victorian discipline would perhaps not come amiss, or do you have better ideas on how to tame young people today?

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Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Comments (86)  
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  1. I went to school in 1962 and if my homework was not done the cane would soon be biting my bottom
    it needs to come back for todays bad tempered child
    and lazy louts

    • Thats not true!! your in 2011 now not 1962!!

      • Lucy — shame on you and perhaps your backside need to feel the cane – why? YOUR should be “YOU’RE”.

        Bad English and if yuo were at school in the 50s & 60s then your hands or bottom would be sore by now.

        Syeve

    • Although I agree with you in many ways and totally disagree with Lucy. This would be impossable because the adult and teachers are the same louts that grew up after c.p had been banned so they never got any discipline therefore are quite uncapable of dishing it out properly.

      • Syeve, you’re right about “your” and “you’re” but was it just a joke that you wrote “yuo” instead of “you”?

  2. When i was at school boys were either slippered or mainly caned girls were let off scot free. I think in the five years i was at school i endured well over 1000 strokes of the cane

    • you must have been a bad girl/boy!

      • lol he/she must im werent!!! lol !!!!!!

  3. When i was at school i endured well over a thousand strokes of the cane and hundreds of slipperings. I am dead against this type of punishment for girls but i think the present government should restore corporal punishment in all schools for boys

    • Surly this would be a bit sexist? We are all equals, it says in the bible.

    • That would be sexist.
      because Boys and girls are practicley the same

    • sexist!!!

      • I too was thrashed both at school and home with cane and slipper and in great abundance but I was always too worried about my poor bum to keep count of how many I got over the years. Having said that, I feel that to say thousands may be somewhat of an exaggeration.

  4. I went to school in 1952 and if my shoes were dirty i would be sent to the headmaster to be hit with a ruler on my ear, my mum went crazy and done the same thing to the headmaster. My brother had the knuckle thing i cant remember what it was called.

    • good on you and your mummy!!xx

  5. I was thrashed frequently at school {as were most boys at the boarding school i attended} and also pleanty at home. I cannot understand why stockdale only went to school for five years most kids went from 5 years to 15 years. At his reckoning he would have been beaten on average of almost one stroke of the cane every day {even in the holidays. !!! And I thought i had it a lot !!

  6. Like many other that write here I was tanned frequently at my boarding school and certainly weekly at home during the hols. Beware end of term reports, that always ended up with a bare bum tanning. All in all many thrashings hurt, as they were meant to but in the long run it didn’t do me any harm. Pity c.p isn’t used on both boys and girls nowdays.

    • I am a pupil at a highschool in Mid-Wales, I see what a lot of people mean about c.p. I don’t think it should be used today as many teachers are bias, and are as bad as the very pupils they punish. I would like to say as well some pupils are bad, they are punished but they slowly mature and end up ok, mainly pupils work hard, behave maturely and have a good time. Also the cane was used to frequently for many small problems, this will result in today adults being stricter on the yuong people today… remember you were young once. THANKS FOR READING!

      • No caning? I didn’t see yobs bruning Croydon and Tottenham during the 1950 – 1960 when I was at school. The cane was used to teach or rather remind boys and girls of what is and what is NOT acceptable behaviour and it worked.

  7. What is really depressing about this correspondence is the abysmal level of grammar, speling and punctuation.So-called schooling appears to have achieved nothing.

    • lol

    • spelling!!!

    • As someone has already implied speling is really “SPELLING” but I forgive you as English is not, probably, your first language however you might be from either Liverpool or Portsmouth so then it’s “six of the best” for you.

      • Yes that is true and also if you come from e.g Poland english wont be your first language and your spelling might not be great and they would cane you for getting you spelling wrong! :(

  8. Oh look it’s one of those articles with “weasel words” – statements made to sound as though they rely on an actual source when really they don’t (“there is little doubt that…”, “most people believe…” “studies show…” etc.). Yours was the one about there supposedly being little doubt that caning worked.

    It clearly didn’t, as many professionals will tell you. It teaches the child to hide their behaviour, not halt it. And teaches them to be violent.

    • This post was not intended to be an in-depth discussion of the topic and this is not an appropriate place for academic theories. You seem to have fallen into your own trap with: “as many professionals will tell you…”
      I accept that there are views either way, and there is much published elsewhere that tries to analyse the effect. If you wish to have a sensible debate, then that is fine, but let’s take it to a more suitable forum.

    • “It clearly didn’t, as many professionals will tell you”? Are you not falling into the same trap of broad and inaccurate generalizations?

      Caning most certainly did work for most in my own personal experience, but that aside – What on Earth makes you think that any other form of punishment did not make children do everything they could to hide their misbehavior also? You give every indication of having a strongly held believe, but have not thought it through.

      I speak from personal experience of being old enough to have gone to schools that used corporal punishment and can tell you it does work in most cases, you have not even considered how many of us chose not to misbehave, as we did not want the cane or strap. It was a strong lesson for all, not just the recipient. I personally would have misbehaved many, many more times if it were not for seeing others walking painfully, or seeing reddened hands – What child thinks that is a worthwhile trade-off?

      There were ‘recidivists’ certainly, who did not learn, they in my opinion, were the very tiny minority of 2 children in a 1,200 child school, who should not be hit and for whom alternative punishments should have been sought. It does work for the vast majority but not for absolutely everyone. Alternatives that do work should be sought for those few who have demonstrated corporal punishment is inappropriate.

  9. Ah I see you’re a coward who is moderating comments and blocking any that disagree with your nonsense.

    • I have not blocked comments from those who disagree, but as any one who has moderated a forum before will tell you, many comments are inappropriate, contain advertising messages, spam, or obscene or rude content. I have no problem with sensible comments and debate.

    • Ah I see you cannot understand basic grammar. He is a coward who is…. and you’re a coward who ARE…. I am a coward who AM…

      • rofl

      • We now know that people lean at diffrent rates. We can understand things, for example before they might class someone as stupied when acctually they are dyslexic. I cannot spell and have resonally bad grammer. However I am a hard working and obidiant studant. I have respect for all my teacher. should I be hit?

      • From one Christopher to another, I must correct your correction!

        “You’re a coward who IS,” is correct. Using ‘are’ in this context needs more than one coward – as follows: “They’re cowards who are…

  10. you are so wrong they are not lazy louts

  11. When I was at school, we were caned a lot. But honestly, I sometimes wish one of my former teachers can bend me over the knee and give me a real bite with a cane on my back. I miss the cane . . .

  12. I graduated highschool in1978 and was caned paddled and strapped on my bare bottom. Sometimes the humiliation of in front of the class.

  13. After reading the previous comments I would like to agree with the view that c.p has been helpful in the past as I attended school during the 70s-80s where c.p was common. Additionally having parents who were strong beleivers in discipline I got my share at home when it was necessary. This did not cause me to hide my behaviour but rather understand what was acceptable behaviour.

  14. If a boy and girl are caught smoking —

    They are BAD!!!!!!!

    BOTH SHOULD GET 6 HAND CANES

    Not doing it free

    1234abcd

    • no they should be also put into isolation for 2 weeks with no cigarettes at all!

  15. Say a couple of school children are caught drinking a hotel ?????

    THEY ARE TOO YOUNG TO DO THIS IN A HOTEL.

    They are breaking the Law you can say .

    BOTH SHOULD SIMPLY BE GIVEN 6 STROKES OF CANE EACH.

    Serve themselves right.,might stop them doing that again.

    Who do they think they are doing that.

    Won’t happen again in this case .

    Probably stop friends even thinking of doing this.

    THE CANE CAN TEACH SOME GOOD THINGS EASILY

    1234abcd

    Reply

  16. that would hurt!!!

  17. “The Victorian child soon learned that if he wanted to misbehave he would ensure that he did not get caught.”

    Exactly.

    • too true

    • Do not children today – Whom are not subjected to corporal punishment, also do everything they can to evade detection? I am constantly hearing people complain that everyone from politicians to common criminals are “Blaming everyone else for their failings, but themselves.” and this from a generation where a significant number of them would not have experienced corporal punishment.

      Another “point” that has no substance; posted on here as some profound truism.

  18. spanking is very important. I was spanked and caned at school and its the hardest thing in the world to spank your own children. I was so nervous the first few times. I can easily see why others cop out. Sadly the children pay for their parents weakness for ever.

  19. Some of the commemts here are without doubt fiction. I was t top Englsh Public School and was cned 3 times. I only ever received a maximum of 6 strokes on my trousered seat.

    • different schools had different sanctions though

  20. thats why you can’t spell or write the queens english I went to an all boys school in portsmouth it was known for its strict discipline and by the way one of the boys is now a director of Sainsburys they got results if you did not work then your bottom was over the desk for a CANING AND THE STRAP OUCH! saw many boy caned and went home with a very sore bottom

    • It seems to me you can’t write English either! Eg: That’s (capital T and apostrophe required). Also, English, Portsmouth and Saw require initial capital letters. Finally, full stops are required after English and bottom.

  21. To bring back c.p would cause many problems. For example as the article states about the bare bottom caning, this could now be a problem sexual assult ect. Also if you bring back c.p you break the teacher-pupil bond that goes on in many classrooms today. I am a pupil in a high school today and I get on with all of my teachers along with many others who do the same. We respect the teachers for who they are not because we are scared of them. Personally I believe this to be a much higher class of respect.

    • sorry Kayleigh I don’t agee with you they could cane quite wasilt without removing any underware or pants it stil stings your bottom like a wasp!!

    • RESPECT – I still do a bit of supply teaching and the school I am at now there are boys there that know nothing about respect or curtesy. All teachers are fair game for foul mouthed insults and violence in the way of them throwing things at the teacher and other members of the class.

      Don’t even think it’s “YOU” showing no respect – respect has to be earned but curtesy costs nothing.

      I do agree that to bring back CP would be difficult. If we cant get convicted terroists out the country how are we going to be allowed to cane errend boys and girls.

      GBH and assult laws would not allow such happenings unless it was the parent and then that may be difficult and could come under the heading of chiild abuse.

      Maybe we should cane the parents – get them to agree to CP on forfiet of child allowance or expulsion of their unruly kids.

      Ask the parents for a £250 deposit on their child joining the school refundable when it leaves and used to repair any damage their child does in the 5 years they are at the school and topped up if used for that purpose.

      However this is not an education cure all blog.

      Steve

      • “Maybe we should cane the parents – get them to agree to CP on forfiet of child allowance or expulsion of their unruly kids.”

        Steve that would probably work – make the father the ‘whipping boy’ for his son’s misdeeds. It would not be allowed today of course, but there was a time when the aristocracy in England used a servant or a servant’s son to take the punishment in place of the real culprit.

        Christopher

      • Not all schools have the problems you are refering to. If my teachers used the cane or other punishments I would NOT respect them. I would fear them sure, I might even behavour a little better but thats not the point. If you took the cane away from your old teachers they would probebly recive hell from his/her pupils. today the teachers are able to be relaxed when teaching and in my school, have very few problems.

      • Steve – I’m absolutely amazed that you are allowed to do supply teaching with your poor grasp of spelling. Note: courtesy (misspelt twice), terrorists, errant (unless you mean errand boys & girls!), child, forfeit. I fervently hope you’re not supply “teaching” English Language!

      • All typos are intentional to keep you on your toes. As you are probably aware Cherry keyboards are so expensive nowadays so the crap that we have to endure is just that CRAP where the keys sometimes don’t make contact with the PCB membrane switches when one thinks they have pressed a key.

        As for punishment – I think we are way off topic now…..

        Steve

      • Sorry, Steve Caner, your comments made on 12th November about keyboards, keys not making contact, typos, etc are all total nonsense. All you need to do is to proof read before you post the comments. Of course, if you don’t care about English or spelling you won’t do that.

      • If you haven’t got anything constructive to say – bugger off! I haven’t got the time or inclination to mess with insignificant pokes. Typos are there and are common enough – get a life. If you want it in legalese or Oxford English then look elsewhere. What exactly are your qualifications to comment on typos – try the Daily Express (unless you work for them).

      • Well, you clearly have nothing constructive to say if you need to resort to swearing, Steve. Supply teacher, eh? Hmmmmm! No, I don’t work for the Daily Express, nor have I ever done so, since you ask.

  22. I was taught in an all-boy boarding school in the late 1950s (called Public Schools). Lower School boys were frequently given the slipper for talking after ‘lights out’. We used to dicuss how to make the pain more bearable with ideas of applying ointments on our backsides and/or quickly puting our pants on under our pj bottoms.

    None of these ideas worked. The master was well aware of the tricks we would try… and when in his room he would check. I was a victim of my own foolishness and twice suffered bare-bottom punishment as a consequence.

    I have to say that the humiliation coupled with the added pain of the slipper on a bared bottom was sufficient to stop me ever being spanked again. I should add that we were always expected to say “Thank you sir,” after he had finished with us and sent back to our dormitory.

    Christopher

  23. I go to college at the moment and do not necessarily think the cane should be brought back. Yes children are getting worse, I mean I go to a college which is also a Secondary school were the children believe that it is hard to open a door. They have no respect for teachers, I had a boy in my class last year who threw his planner at a teacher.

    I don’t believe that the cane should be brought back as would it actually make things better. I mean a teacher even touches a child to break up a fight, they get accused of sexual assault. I believe this is as teachers have no authority in the modern day classroom.

    If anything, I believe that parents are at the root of the problem. Teenage parents with no clue or care about their child or children let them get away with murder as they are to busy spending the money they suck from the benefit system buying cigarettes, getting ready to go out with a with someone, or having sex with strangers and multiplying.

    Also, if the cane was brought back, who’s to say that the parent or even the student won’t hit the teacher back. In my opinion, I believe we live in a messed up world overrun with chav’s and corrupt politicians.

  24. Caning children has all kinds of legal problems – I think you should cane their parents.

  25. Lets get this clear. Boys were caned across their bottoms with trousers up!.At least at my school BGS..Some got it in the Dukes office or by Cooley.I have no idea what happened at girls schools though i do believe they got it on their bottom (but not bare) and/or hands may be a swipe across their legs ,,,sometimes the boys got a public caning in front of all the school and the Masters and female teachers…Quite often W.J langford JP would cane boys with his office door open so the secretary could see..

  26. I believe some sort of corporal punishment should be meted out to children in school. Nowadays, children have no discipline or respect. Especially towards their seniors.
    I love my children, and worry about their futures, I so want them to succeed.
    I believe you’ve got to be cruel to be kind.

    • Yes, in todays society children don’t have any respect for their elders, but it doesn’t mean that the cane should be brought back. If the cane is brought back the students might act worse, as if a teacher was to cane a pupil, the pupil is very likely to fight back, and a lot of parents might go and hurt the teacher. I know a lot of people want it back, and I have thought about it sometimes, especially as I am in a college attached to a school, where the children are as mean and rude as anythink but I personally believe that it wouldn’t make a difference.

      • What on earth is wrong with todays society ??? I hear ths word mis-used all the time even on television etc…..The word is NOT ‘ Anythink’ but ‘ ANYTHING’ …. Are teachers of the English language so BAD OR THE PUPILS SO THICK……

  27. No pupils are not think and it also counts on what school the child goes to….

  28. TRUE!!!

  29. That is soo true

  30. Please remember to keep your comments on topic. The topic is Victorian discipline. Rude comments and off-topic comments will be moderated.

  31. ok i wanted to say that it must of been hursh then

  32. Good blog i am a teacher love it

  33. lOL

  34. Also if you come from e.g poland english wont be your first language and your spelling might not be great and they would cane you for getting your spelling wrong. comment if you like. :)

    • Sounds plausible but wrong. Teachers were not idiots although some were sadists but they did know and realise that if English was not the mother tongue then spelling would be less than that required but a native speaker. There would be a few Indian boys at public school at this time but not many Polish (as mentioned) because it wasn’t part of the Empire!

      Latin was the reason many boys and girls were beaten along with dyslexia (not known about then) and other academic misfortunes.

      Looking back and reflecting to the present day and the many men and women that like to be caned it shows that, although legally stopped in schools in the 1970s, many people find CP desirable to be sexually aroused, to be kept in line, to remember how to behave and all the things we think we/they need punishment for.

      Caning in schools was probably stopped not because it was barbaric or because it amounted to common assault but because the common man (or woman) should not be able to enjoy the pain and pleasure that the ruling classes devolve from being beaten with a cane like a naughty schoolboy or schoolgirl.

      In the 1960s there was the “Profumo” scandal that consisted of high class call girls partying at “Burnham Beeches” on the Thames and there was one instance where a TOP politician was seen to be running around stark naked except for his Masonic Apron paying £1.00 for ever stroke of the cane he was given.

      I know this for a fact because my mother’s friend’s husband was the chief photographer on the Sunday People and my girlfriend’s father was the Crime reporter (later to become Editor) and had to keep much of what was known to be going on under wraps as what eventually became public nearly toppled the government and how much was swept under the carpet was because the person I mention here was a TOP lawyer, Queens Council and member of the government of the day and I think he slapped what is referred to as a D notice on much of what was yet to be disclosed.

      Have fun Steve

      • would be best to stop arguing and just talk about what YOU learnt from the website!
        arguing gets you nowhere in life you know!!!

      • Hannah, but DISCUSSION is what this website is all about – and sometimes that invites debate.

        I attended an all-boy boarding school (a ‘public’ school as they were called back then, though the students’ parents had to pay for their boys to attend!). Kent College in Canterbury, now with girls too, and of course corporal punishment is outlawed today.

        But back in my day as a boarder, much as I loved my years there, I feared the corporal punishment awaiting any boy who disobeyed the strict rules at bedtime. NO talking after ‘lights out’ in our ‘dorm’ (dormitory). I had had spankings from my dad throughout my younger, pre-pubescent years and knew the pain – which I must admit made me behave better. So it was the last thing I wanted at school.

        Inevitably, the time came for me at school one winter night when the heating had been turned off as usual at midnight and I needed the loo. I ran to the toilets for a wee and found another boy from my dorm needing the same. We went back to our beds together, talking in whispers and he jumped in his bed first while I was still up and talking to him. Our housemaster, Freddy Fowler, a teacher we all feared who smoked a pipe constantly in lessons, heard us awake and saw me out of my bed. I pleaded my case, explaining we had just been for a wee. “So??” he said, “that gives you no excuse to talk, boy!”

        I was taken to his room….

        Christopher

      • kwl

  35. Plus, the master sent a note to my parents who smacked my bottom.

    • Oh James that sounds sooo exciting. The only time I recall receiving corporal punishment from my parents was when my father summoned me into my parents bedroom. It was a Saturday as I recall. Mum and Dad were still in bed. I cannot recall what my transgression was but I know that Dad used a wooden coat hanger on my backside. It broke. Looking back on it it seems quite humerous but at the time it most certainly was not. I was crying real tears.

  36. The P.E. teachers at our school in London between 1970 and 75, wer very sadistic. Boys could be thrashed with a cane, slipper, belt or stick for the least offence, such as; forgetting a gym kit, talking in line, fighting with mates etc.Punishments could be witnessed by a whole class or privately depending on the individual teacher’s temprament.
    Three girls were caned across their hands for setting a fire alarm off during exams. the punishment was administered by a stern elderly R.E. teacher. All the girls, who were considered tough cookies, cried for ages after being sent back to class.
    a few years ago an old friend (male) told me he had been bent across a gym horse at school, with no shorts or pants on and whipped on his naked bottom until it turned scarlet. He told me it was agony.
    You may be tempted to think these stories are untrue. They are not!

  37. Yes Lynsey you are correct i suffered many bare bum beatings esp from sadistic PE master and had both slipper and cane on many occasions. True this was back in the 50’s since I am now an ‘oldie’ but I am sure one’s backside felt the pain just as much regardless of the years.

  38. I went through school in New Zealand in the 1960’s. The one time that I received Corporal Punishment it was throughly deserved as I had been following a Special Needs Pupil (Downs Syndrome) imitating his woobling gait or walk. I thought, at the time, that it was a fun thing to do. Of course it was not. I received six of the best with the Teacher’s Leather Strap on my hands – two strokes on one hand and four on the other.

  39. “Oh it is a terrible thing to be caught and await sure and certain punishment. I know that I experienced that sinking feeling in my stomach as I waited for the strap.”

    Absolutely, Keith. It’s being made to wait for the impending thrashing knowing it’s inevitable and nothing we do or say will make any difference. Pleading for forgiveness: “I’m sorry sir, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I won’t do it again,” only serves to make the punishment a total certainty and probably more severe. After all, from the master’s point of view, he knows he will have to cope with a struggling victim at every stroke of the belt, slipper or hand, not to mention the miscreant’s humiliation of being made to strip from the waist down. And in my case, the requirement to say, “Thank you, sir,” after it’s done.

    Stark memories that stay with us forever…

    • Yes it was a terrible thing when one was waiting for corporal punishment to be given. I can well recall that sinking feeling in my stomach as I waited for the strap. It was all a required part of the punishment. In my case I had never received corporal punishment in a school setting before. So I deliberately positioned myself in the outside corner of the cloakroom so that I could observe how the other boys received it and also so that I would know what to do when my turn came around. As it worked out I was the last one to be strapped (there were some 15 or so boys before me – all gathered together for infringements during the sports period when we were all supposed to be either playing the sports or watching; alas some of us did not watch and so had time to get up to mischief, we did not think of the duty teacher coming around to catch us). I held my right arm out fully extended at shoulder height with the palm of my hand uppermost and stretched right out. The teacher had the strap over his shoulder and brought it down hard across my right hand. It really hurt. I left my hand in the same position for the second stroke. It hurt as much as the first one did. The teacher then told me “put your arm down and raise your left arm” which I did. Yes you guessed it, the two on my left hand hurt just as much as the two on my right hand. For the final two strokes it was back to my right hand which had allready received two strap strokes. The last two hurt even more. Everone was treated in exactly the same way. We each received six of the best from the leather strap on our hands. Some of the boys lowered their arms as the strap descended in an attempt to evade the strap. In not a single case did this work as the teacher was too experienced. I decided that when my turn came I was going to hold my hand steady, which I did. Afterwards my hands were puffy with swelling, they hurt and were coloured red and white. Yet, strange as this may sound, I felt a certain fission of pleasure at now being one one of the naughty boys – naughty enough to have been strapped. Yes I throughly deserved the strapping, though I may not have thought so at the time.

      Some reading this thread think that some of the stories are fiction. In my case what I have described actually did happen to me. That was the one and only time I received school corporal punishment. I do remember other High School boys being strapped on the hands in front of the class full of pupils. One prolific receiver of the strap was one Peter Trousdal. As to the effectiveness of corporal punishment certainly in Peter’s case I would say it was of no effect whatsoever. In my case as I only received it the once it must have worked. One thing that stands out to me very vividly was that when a boy was being strapped in front of the class every eye in the classroom was avidly watching what was happening. For what reason I can only speculate. For most I would presume that they were glad it was someone else and not them being strapped. For your information my classes were all mixed classes – both boys and girls. It was only the boys who were strapped in front of the class. The Deputy Headmaster was Mr Smith known as ‘Muscles Smith’ for the ferocity with which he administered the strap to those who were sent to his office. The one ocassion I was sent to his office I was given detention. I wonder if I would rather have had the strap from ‘Muscles Smith’. I think that I would rather have not. The Headmaster had canes of various lengths and thicknesses in his office and I believe that those boys who were to be caned by him had the choice of which cane was to be used on them. Once in Primary School the Teacher’s Strap was thrown from the front of the class to the back of the class where myself and another boy had our heads down talikng when we should not have been talking. The other boy had to take it back to the teacher. I know that my face was as red as a beetroot. No further action was taken. My parents were told that the Primary School Headmaster once had a pupil in his office. The pupil was shown the strap and burst into tears. No strapping took place that time. What I have described was common practice in schools in New Zealand back in the 1960’s. People today may well find such very hard to believe.

  40. love your account of receiving 6 cuts with the strap. exactly the same
    happened to me, 2 on right hand, then 2 on the left followed by 2 good
    ones on the right again. it hurt a little but I felt really good afterwards


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