She glanced down again at the form as she walked into the school library. ‘Please report to my study at 8.30pm this evening. You should ensure that you are familiar with Section 13 of the School Rules prior to our meeting.’ Followed by her Housemaster’s scrawled signature.
And she felt the butterflies in her stomach once again. What if?…
No, it must be about the school music competition. Or about her Oxford entrance exams. Or about her scholarship.
Because no-one had seen her.
She’d only been gone for an hour.
Just long enough to see him again. To hold him. To be close to him.
And then to get back to school before the end of the lunchbreak.
But then the note. Handed to her at afternoon break by the house prefect.
She composed herself, and looked at the librarian. ‘Please… please, Mr. Watkinson. Is there a copy of the school rules in the library?’
He smiled at her.’Of course.’ Pointing to the first row of books. ‘Top shelf. Left hand side.’ And he went back to his reading.
Reaching up. Her hand grasping the leather-bound volume. Pulling it down. Taking it to the furthest table.
Opening the cover…
Feeling the volume fall open half-way through.
At the right page.
The school’s objective is to provide its students with a caring environment in which they can maximise their personal development. The continuing good behaviour of pupils is essential if we are to achieve this, and they are expected to comply at all times with the Rules set out in this document.
Where pupils breach school rules, a range of disciplinary measures are available to staff. These are designed to achieve the twin goals of deterrence and punishment – seeking to prevent offences from occurring, whilst also imposing retribution for any misbehaviour.
Standard disciplinary measures include lines, detentions, withholding of privileges (e.g. grounding) and other punishments as may be deemed appropriate by individual masters.
The Governing Body is clear that any behaviour that may cause serious disruption to the school environment should be treated as a matter of the utmost concern. In such cases, discipline shall be administered by means of corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment may be used at the master’s discretion in any circumstances where other forms of discipline are not believed to be likely to prove effective. This may include, for example, correcting the behaviour of ‘repeat offenders’, and dealing with cases of insolence or insubordination.
There are also a number of more serious offences for which corporal punishment is mandatory. These shall include:
a. Possession or consumption of any form of tobacco, alcohol or drugs
c. Truancy, including any absence from school premises without permission
d. Inviting non-school-members onto school premises without permission
e. Use or threat of violence to other pupils (including bullying)
f. Sexual activity of any nature
g. Any activity which causes public damage to the school’s reputation
h. Any criminal activity.
Certain of the offences in 13.6 may be deemed to be serious enough to require additional measures such as suspension or expulsion. It is noted that corporal punishment is mandatory even if such additional measures are being taken.
Any prefect or member of staff may determine that corporal punishment is the appropriate measure in any given case. However, corporal punishment may only be administered by the Headmaster, his deputy or by the pupil’s own Housemaster. All offences requiring corporal punishment should therefore be reported to the student’s Housemaster in the first instance.
Corporal punishment should be administered in private, although where a number of pupils are to be punished for the same offence, they may be punished together.
All punishments should be administered using the cane. Masters who are required to administer corporal punishment will be provided with canes by the Bursar’s Office.
Any sentence of corporal punishment shall carry a minimum of three strokes and a maximum of eight, per offence, at the discretion of the master administering the caning. Multiple offences may be dealt with during the same punishment session.
Prior to administering corporal punishment, the master concerned shall clearly explain the offences for which the punishment is being administered, and shall require the student to sign a standard Punishment Form (Part 1).
All punishments must be applied to the pupil’s bare buttocks. For mandatory punishments (13.6), the pupil should be required to remove all items of clothing. For discretionary punishments (13.5 above), it is at the discretion of the master administering the punishment to decide whether the pupil is allowed to retain any items of clothing.
To receive their punishment, the pupil may be required to position themselves over an appropriate piece of furniture (e.g. desk, chair), or may be required to bend over and touch their toes.
Pupils shall be required to remain in the position specified by the master for the duration of their punishment; they shall not flinch or touch their buttocks, and shall remain silent (other than as required by the master – e.g. counting strokes). Additional strokes shall be awarded at the master’s discretion for any infringement.
At the end of the punishment, the Part 2 of the Punishment Form shall be completed, and this shall be signed by the student. A copy should be sent to the Headmaster’s Secretary, a copy should be retained by the student, and a copy may be sent to the student’s parents or guardians at the sole discretion of the master who has administered the punishment.
In conclusion: corporal punishment is an essential means of maintaining a stable and successful school environment. It will used fairly, to correct the most serious misbehaviour, in full compliance with these rules.
And she closed the book.
Wiped the tears away from her cheeks.
Surely not? After a school career unblemished in any way.
But… no, she would argue. She hadn’t been feeling well. Had to pick up a prescription from the pharmacist. Her Housemaster would believe that.
This couldn’t happen to her.
Good girls don’t get caned…