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Witness Required

January 28 2010 at 9:46 AM

From the many posta I have seen on these type of forums it seems that in most schools a witness was required for a boy to be caned, or paddled USA style, if it was to be done in private. I understand the reasoning behind this as an insurance for the caner and an assurance for the caned boy, although it would be more embarassing for the boy to have his caning witnessed, especially if it was the school secretary as some posters here said was the case.
I wonder what the percentage was roughly, of those schools which required a witness verus those that didn't. What is certain is that at my school in 50's/60's there were a lot of witnesses, though not official, because we were caned in class in front of all other pupils.
It was certainly no long, drawn out ritual as described by many here being given a note and going to the foreboding administration area to give it to the school secretary, who would tell you to wait while she went into the Head's office to inform him, coming back out again and told to wait further till the head called you in, all the time fidgeting with your blazer in anxiety waiting for the impending moment of meeting with this high authority who would tell you that you have disgraced the whole school etc. etc. And the caning hasn't even begun.
It was much simpler, humane and soon forgotten when the teacher just called you out in front of class, gave you the strokes and sent back to your seat, all over in a few minutes if not seconds.
I remember once being sent to the headmaster for an admonition, and that was not even a caning, I would probably have preferred a quick caning by my teacher instead. Our headmaster was a foreboding man feared by all boys, even though he never did any caning as far as I know. You would freeze in fear if he passed you by or just looked at you.
But I have regressed a bit, so back to my original question of witnesses.

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Re: Witness Required

January 28 2010, 2:10 PM 

Like you, Willy, in my boys only primary school (late 40s/early 50s) punishments were normally carried out in the classroom except for serious misconduct when it was one-to-one with the Headmaster.

At co-ed grammar school, the only "classroom" punishment was during boys-only PE lessons. Canings were carried out by the Headmaster or his deputies, the Senior Master or Senior Mistress, in private, one-to-one. No witnesses.



Re: Witness Required

January 28 2010, 2:57 PM 

Hi Willy

No public canings & therefore not a witness at primary(58-63) or Grammar(Boys',63-70) here.

Slipperings etc were another matter.



Re: Witness Required

January 28 2010, 6:06 PM 

State Primary school : 60's : mixed :slipper in class : everyone witnessed , normally laughter.
Headmistress for seious offences, in her office.Used a tawse on hands ; no witnesses except anyone receiving it concurrently.

Independent school : boarding and day : Boys only. (70's) .Slipper in class and/or PE : caning in private wih authorised masters /head /deputy. When a female was in post any boy could request to be caned by a man. The previous headmaster , a lawyer, had instituted a witness system. The witness would be a member of academic staff, acceptable to the boy. Sometimes the canings took plac in staff offices, sometimes in the old gym. 'Mass' canings,always in the old gym : part of a class or a whole class : witness always present.

On my first caning (Jackie : Miss F) she asked if I wanted a witness. I said certainly not,I trusted her, . She indicated it was, of course, mutual. Second time (Head) : never even bothered to ask me!


Re: Witness Required

January 28 2010, 6:35 PM 

At junior school one teacher caned boys in front of the class. There were also slipperings in front of the class, girls only by female teachers. Oddly enough the headmaster, although a very stern figure, never caned or slippered anyone as far as I know.

At grammar school there were slipperings mainly of boys and mainly in PE in front of the class, though some were done in private.

The head , or deputy ( and in rare cases , the headmistrees) would be the only ones authorised to use the cane. There was always one witness. If the head caned , his deputy looked on. If he caned himself, a senior teacher, sometimes a female teacher , even if boys were being caned, would witness the punishment. One deputy head used to roar with laughter when he witnessed a punishment. The caner and the witness would then sign the book.


Re: Witness Required

January 29 2010, 7:02 AM 

The school secretary had her office directly opposite the headmasters office. The door to her office had been removed and consequently was the 1960s version of open plan. You reported to her that Mr or Miss X had sent you to her to be caned. Mrs K would make some terse comment and say stand there. She would then go to the filing cabinet and remove your school file. Having made sure that it was yours she would cross the corridor, knock on headmasters door and enter. After a few moments she would return to her office. Going directly to the cupboard that you knew contained canes she would remove two, put them on her desk then take the punishment book from the shelf behind her and place them with the canes. All the canes were the same standard local authority issue. You then waited, and waited. Eventually you the green light came on, on the headmasters door. Mrs K would stand pick up the canes and the book and usher you into the adjoining office.
The sight that greeted you was the head sat behind his desk. Two chairs at right angles about six feet apart. Mrs K would walk to the heads desk and place both the book and the canes on his desk. He would stand select a cane, and then begin stroking a stick of chalk up and down it. The instructions never varied. You know why you are here. Your going to get six strokes, take off your blazer, and bend over the chair. A chair was indicated to you. You did as you were told hung your blazer over the back of the selected chair and bent over the back of it. Mrs K would then sit in the other chair. She had a clear view of your proffered bottom and was there as the witness to the ensuing caning. The head would then put his hand on your belt and pull your trousers tighter. Again the same instructions every time. Keep your legs straight and remain bent until I tell you, you may stand. The cane was then gently placed across your bottom and you braced yourself for the first stroke. You were then given the allocated number of strokes. The head then returned to sit behind his desk and only then told you that you may stand with the added instruction to place your hands on your head. Mrs K remained seated and impassive throughout. With your backside on fire your eyes watering and your hands firmly on your head. You would then receive the inevitable lecture about how you had brought disgrace etc etc. When the lecture was over the head would fill the punishment book and in from you that Mrs K would be writing to your parents that day to inform them that you had been caned. That was Mrs K signal to get up and tell you to leave the room. You were then expected to return class to sit upon a hard little wooden chair with a well caned bottom. This was always done via the boys bogs. This was for two reasons. One to knock the chalk marks out of the seat of your trousers and secondly to get your pants down and look in the mirror that the damage that had been inflicted on you. This ritual I endured on numerous occasions.

rodney bacon

Witness required

January 29 2010, 4:38 PM 

Junior school, canings by the headmaster (boys only) in his office which, as it was a village school, doubled as the staff room, so there were quite frequently one of more teachers (there was only one male teacher) present either drinking tea or marking.

Boys Grammar school canings by headmaster only, who would shut connecting door to school office, but doubtless the secretary and her assistant could here every swipe.


Scotty the Occasional Poster

The Green Light

January 31 2010, 5:13 AM 

The red and green light system. I can recall that at my grammar school. I am not even sure where the Headmaster's secretary was but she did not guard his door. Instead you were sent to his office and had to follow instructions which were red "do not interrupt or knock" and green "Knock and enter". My one visit to his studu for a caning I remember wondering where the switch was and hoping it was red during my punishment!

At Prep School, Matron (and secretary) had the office opposite the Head's so I think she knew what was going on as her door was generally open. However, I never paid a visit for punishment so am in the dark as to what processes actually went with the cane and slipper there.




January 31 2010, 10:25 PM 

In secondary school apart from the gym slipperings you were always caned in an office maybe head deputy or head of school. There was always a witness could be the teacher who had sent you, his deputy or another teacher summoned from the classroom to witness the event.


Red light please !!!!!!

February 1 2010, 8:01 PM 

Hi Scotty,

Someone has got to stop this forum awakening my memories from the past.

Red/Green lights, yes used by our head and deputy head. Reawakened a memory of my upper fifth year . Towards the end of the year we brought beer and wine for a party after the school play. Some was left and we decided to appropriate it and keep it safely in a 'secret store' which, of course, didnt stay secret very long ......Matron had a good nose, made even better when seeing fifth formers skulking around ,,,,,,anyway four of us had done it and there was a memo to the extent that would the 'culprits' ( I would have preferred less pejorative term) own up to the deputy head by the end of school Friday........

Should we ? shouldn't we.....there were no threats , no hostages to fortune..........but a few 'major players' had been given the privilege of an interview with Jackie, but that hadn't extended to any of we were not prime suspects.......

Friday came and we, the culprits , had a meeting , we voted two two tied on whether to confess........So we settled on a plan, at the end of school we would pass by the deputy heads office we would go in : red we wouldn't. We walked past , and cast the dice ......RED!!!!

I was playing with the Country Rock band that evening. When we got to the venue and were waiting for the roadies to do their magic, Jackie took me on one side.
'Nev, isnt there something you want to tell me ? Perhaps you've just forgotten........oh and dont 'dissemble' , well I know you wouldn't lie!'

The penny dropped she knew, or had guessed. I admitted my part, she smiled, she wouldn't ask me who was with me, she all ready knew. Why didn't you come after the note. I told her , which she also seemed unconcerned.

She replied to the effect of 'Look I'll tell you what this is about , your spoils have been seized by matron , so wave goodbye to them....'

As we knew she had tried interviewing a few of the 'usual suspects' and to her surprise one had shopped us. She hd no intention of working off 'grassed up' information, she thought that broke the school 'code' so she gave us the chance to confess, NO PENALTY......she never thought of the wording......'culprits' was tactless....

Should you trust to fate?

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