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School Punishment

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  • I attended a Roman Catholic secondary school in the north coast area of Northern Ireland in the late 1970's where corporal punishment was used on a daily basis. The strap was the most used form of punishment, always on the hands in public and could be administered by the Headmaster and a few select senior teachers. I witnessed strappings on a daily basis, mainly in assembly and occasionally for more serious offences pupils, both male and female, were caned hard on the hands.
    I was never a trouble maker at school, nor were my group of friends. However 2 specific instances stick in my mind. On one occasion my best friend at school, who had never been in trouble before, foolishly was spotted by a teacher spitting out chewing gum in the playground. A double whammy as chewing gum was banned and spitting it out was a definite no no. She was marched straight to the headmaster's office and returned to our class after lunch with tears in her eyes. As she sat beside me, she showed me her hands which were quite severely marked with the effects of the strap. She later told me the headmaster was furious, told her off and told her she was to receive 3 hard strokes with the strap on each hand, which she took with great difficulty almost in tears. I think the headmaster and other teachers were even more strict with us well behaved pupils as a warning to never reoffend. My friend never took the risk again if even chewing gum let alone spit it out.
    I personally received only 1 punishment in my 5th year close to exam time. I foolishly took an afternoon off as it was Sports Day, thinking I wouldn't be caught. A teacher however spotted me and 2 others, reported us to the headmaster who in assembly the next morning read our names out and told us to report to his office immediately after assembly. We were waiting outside his office and he ordered us into his office in a no nonsense tone. We knew we were in big trouble as he regarded our absence as a form of truancy which was one of his pet hates. He told us we were going to get caned on our hands, 2 on each hand. I was first and the pain of the cane was almost unbearable and despite only 2 strokes on each hand, my hands were stinging and I was close to tears. I then had to watch my 2 friends get exactly the same. Afterwards I went to the toilets and ran my hands under the cold tap to try to dull the pain. Needless to say it was only temporary relief as the pain lasted all day. That was my first and last experience of corporal punishment.


    • I remember having to stand near the teachers desk to then be told to lower my socks, then I was smacked on my legs with a ruler. This was due to a friend asking me if I could lend her something from my pencil case, all I did was throw it to her gently.


      • Originally posted by Bubbles66 View Post
        I remember having to stand near the teachers desk to then be told to lower my socks, then I was smacked on my legs with a ruler. This was due to a friend asking me if I could lend her something from my pencil case, all I did was throw it to her gently.
        I hated my teacher I got the ruler on my hands and legs for getting my maths wrong


        • I can remember all the class being made to stand in a circle at the middle of the classroom. The tables and chairs were moved out of the way. The teacher stood in the middle and randomly pointed to one of us to answer the times table she called out. I always dreaded being asked the 7's or the 9's, all the others I was okay with.


          • Originally posted by Marine Boy View Post
            Re: School Punishment

            Hi Kaz

            Well, I was at secondary school between 1974 and 1979. I think the cane was withdrawn during this time. When I started at the school, I remember there was a rumour going round amongst the kids that you could 'refuse' the cane and get suspended for a few days instead, and that many children just agreed to being struck so they could then keep it from their parents. The girls only got the slipper, not the cane.

            At Junior school, we had a very fierce head master, and once again, I believe he kept a cane but rarely used it. The deputy head used to occasionally whack a child's backside though.

            The idea of a teacher using a ruler to strike the palm of an eight year old, seems astonishing now doesn't it?
            Certainly the cane was around when I started secondary school in 1977. I was a good kid so never got punished. But one time I forgot to bring my swimming trunks; on a day when the deputy head decided to cane anyone who left their gear at home.
            There were about 7 of us waiting outside this red door. We were in a queue. The deputy head said 'come in,' and the first kid went in. I heard one whip and a cry. I was near the end of the queue... and it was getting shorter. Boy it hurt.


            • My Gran was a deputy headmistress until 1976 when she retired. She used to give badly behaved kids the slipper. Fortunately I didn't go to the school she worked at!

              I got a whack across the back of the legs from my class teacher with a ruler at junior school - I was in tears as soon as I knew I was getting it and hated that teacher even more.

              My brother got the cane at junior school. Mum was furious with him when she found out and he was lucky not to get her slipper too.

              Hard to believe now