Subject: Prefects' Court (ff/ff F/f school)
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 1997 07:11:06 -0600

The Prefects' Court

The school bell at the Queen Mary Grammar Girls’ School had signalled the end of the normal school day ten minutes before. All of the classrooms were deserted - apart from classroom 12. The prefects were gathering there for the weekly session of the Prefects’ Court.

If a prefect at Queen Mary’s had occasion to report a naughty girl for punishment she did not, as at some other schools, report her to a teacher or to the headmistress but to the Prefects’ Court. This took place every week after school on Monday afternoon. All fifteen of the school prefects attended, as did Mrs Jeffers, the senior deputy headmistress.

The procedure was that the prefect who had reported the offending girl outlined the girl’s misbehaviour to the other prefects. The accused girl was then given the opportunity to defend herself or to speak in mitigation of her actions. A vote was then taken as to whether the girl was guilty of an offence meriting a referral to the Prefects’ Court. The reporting prefect and Mrs Jeffers did not take part in this vote. A two thirds majority of those present and voting was sufficient, and it was very rare for this not to happen. On those exceptional occasions when it was decided that a prefect had unnecessarily reported a girl, though, the consequences for the prefect concerned were severe. There and then she was caned by Mrs Jeffers, with the girl she had wrongly reported among the witnesses!

In the vast majority of cases, however, the Court would decide in favour of their fellow prefect and would then turn to the determination of the culprit’s punishment. This was not decided by the whole body of the prefects but by a committee consisting of the head girl, the two deputy head prefects, Mrs Jeffers and the reporting prefect. The punishment would depend upon the nature of the offence, the age of the girl and whether she had often been punished before. Available punishments ranged from two strokes of the slipper over a girl’s skirt to a maximum of a dozen strokes of the cane on the bare bottom. Mrs Jeffers had an absolute right of veto if she felt that the proposed punishment was inappropriate.

The culprit was then informed of her punishment and reminded of her right to appeal to the headmistress. This was rarely taken up. The headmistress was not likely to overturn a decision of the Prefects’ Court, properly reached. She was much more likely to increase the recommended punishment and carry it out herself!

In the normal course of affairs the girl would signify her acceptance of the penalty. The punishment would be carried out by the prefect who had reported her, or if she was away for any reason, or if the girl had been reported to the Court by a teacher, by the head girl.

The system was generally reckoned to have worked well over the five years or so since its inception. Initial worries that punishments would become over lenient had proved to be without foundation. If anything the girls were stricter on themselves than the teachers had been. And they were much more adept at identifying false excuses and laying the blame where it should properly fall than were the more distant teachers.

Eighteen year old Sarah Pennington felt some slight pangs of worry as she approached the classroom with some of her fellow prefects. Since the start of the school year she had now attended half a dozen Prefects’ Courts, but this was the first one where she had reported a girl for punishment. Sarah was nervous about speaking in public before all the prefects and explaining why she had reported Julie Harrison. And, although she was sure in her own mind that she had been right to report the girl, she knew that if just five of her colleagues disagreed with her it would be her own bottom that would feel the cane - for the first time in more than four years!

Sarah knew, as did all her colleagues, that the rule about a prefect who wrongly reported a girl getting caned herself was no dead letter. At the very first Court session that year her best friend, Claire Bishop, had reported a first year girl for being rude to her. But most of her fellow prefects had felt that Claire had allowed herself to become somewhat swollen-headed as a result of her appointment as a prefect and that some leeway had to be given to first year pupils in their first week at the school. Sarah’s loyalty to her friend had made her virtually the only prefect who had voted in condemnation of the first year. It hadn’t been enough to save Claire’s skin.

The prefect had been called out to the front of the room and the little first year, now very relieved and happy with the turn that events had taken, was asked to sit down in the place that she had vacated. Claire had had to bend over the stool in the front of the room. Mrs Jeffers had lifted the prefect’s skirt out of the way and had pulled her knickers up out of the way, so that the teenager had been denied even this negligible protection. The teacher had then administered six real stingers of strokes with the senior cane. The prefect had been quite unable to take the infliction in silence and had, in fact, much to the amusement of the first year, made quite a fuss. Sarah knew that Claire, unlike herself, had never had the cane or even the slipper before. This public punishment effectively on the bare, in front of her friends and the first year girl, must have been almost unbearably embarrassing. And from Claire’s reactions and the vivid stripes left by the cane across the pale flesh of the teenager’s bottom it was clear that it was awfully painful, too!

After delivering the sixth and final stroke Mrs Jeffers had told Claire to stand up and to adjust her clothing. Then the prefect, with tears still running down her face, had had to apologise to the first year girl and shake her hand. The first year had then been dismissed and told to go home. Claire had had to go and stand outside the classroom with the other girls who had been sent for punishment, until they had all been dealt with. Claire was still a prefect but had been warned that if she ever again reported a girl who didn’t deserve it she would not only be caned again, more severely, but might lose her office as well.

So Sarah was very aware of what the consequences would be if Julie were to be found undeserving of punishment. Still, Sarah had caught the fifth former red-handed drawing graffiti on the wall of a cubicle in the girls’ toilets. Julie had not denied the offence, that would scarcely have been possible, but she had begged the prefect to let her off this time and not to report her to the Prefects’ Court. She had explained that she had never drawn any graffiti before and that if she were let off this once she promised never to do so again.

"If you report me I’ll get the cane! I’ve never had the cane! I’ve hardly ever been in trouble! Please, let me off just this once!"

Despite the girl’s pleas Sarah had decided to report her. She was sure that if she had been caught drawing graffiti she would have been sent to the Prefects’ Court and that if Julie did not like the consequences she should not have broken the school rules. Nonetheless there was a nagging doubt at the back of her mind. If five prefects felt that she should have let Julie off with a warning then she, not Julie would be bending over for the cane. Even though it was unlikely Sarah had taken the precaution of coming to school that day in dark grey trousers rather than her usual school skirt. If it came to it then with luck Mrs Jeffers would let her keep her trousers on and cane her over them rather than on her knickers! She knew that it was ridiculous that she, a prefect, should be worrying like this. Nevertheless, as she walked up to classroom 12 she was glad that she had decided to wear trousers!

As she neared the room she saw the five girls lined up in the corridor outside, awaiting their fates. They stood there facing the classroom wall with their hands on their heads. Sarah recognised Julie. She was the tallest girl there and stood fourth furthest from the classroom door. So three of the other girls would be dealt with before it was her turn.

Sarah went into the classroom with her friends and found a place to sit. Mrs Jeffers was sitting at the teacher’s desk in front of the class. Prominent on the surface of the desk were two canes and a large plimsoll. When all the prefects were seated Mrs Jeffers called out, "First girl!" in a loud voice. The door opened and a fourteen year old schoolgirl entered the room and walked over to stand to attention in front of the stool facing the prefects. Fiona was evidently very familiar with the procedure.

Without prompting she announced her name and form.

"Fiona Wallace, 4B, ma’am."

"Who reported this girl?"

Philippa Mason stood up and described the circumstances that had led to Fiona’s presence there that afternoon. She explained that she had gone to inspect the boiler room, which was strictly out of bounds to the girls, after the caretaker had complained that girls had been visiting it. She had found Fiona there, smoking a cigarette. Fiona had also been in possession of a nearly full packet of unsmoked cigarettes and Philippa had confiscated them. She produced them now as evidence and they were passed forward to Mrs Jeffers.

"Well, Fiona. Have you got anything to say?" enquired Mrs Jeffers.

"No, ma’am," mumbled Fiona, looking at the teacher, "but I promise I’ll never smoke again."

"I should hope not! But we must now deal with this incident. Can I have the votes for ‘guilty’ please?"

To no-one’s surprise Fiona was unanimously found to be deserving of punishment with no votes against nor abstentions. Philippa and the three senior prefects walked forward to Mrs Jeffers’ desk. After a brief discussion they returned to their places and the teacher announced the sentence.

"Eight strokes of the senior cane over knickers."

Fiona flinched slightly at this. She was no stranger to the cane, but all of her previous encounters had been with the junior cane. And she’d never had more than six strokes before. Nevertheless, when Mrs Jeffers asked her if she wanted to appeal she said "No, ma’am!" quite emphatically.

Mrs Jeffers called Philippa back out again and handed her the senior cane. Fiona eyed it apprehensively.

"Bend over the stool, Fiona!" the prefect ordered.

Fiona obeyed. Philippa made sure the naughty girl was well-positioned before rolling up her plaid-coloured school skirt to reveal her regulation navy blue school knickers.

The prefect glanced at Mrs Jeffers, who nodded slightly, and then drew back the cane before delivering a resounding lash of the cane to Fiona’s knicker-clad rear. There was no reaction from Fiona except for a half-muffled grunt. The second stroke followed and received a similar reaction.

Philippa paused before the third stroke and when it came it was visibly harder than its predecessors, walloping down with a terrific noise across the lower part of Fiona’s bottom. This time Fiona’s knees temporarily buckled and she gave vent to a distinctly audible "Owww!" before quickly resuming her position.

Debbie Miller, sitting next to Sarah, nudged her and whispered, "She’s good, isn’t she? Well, Pippa got it enough when she was Fiona’s age!" That was true. Philippa had been a regular attender at the Prefects’ Courts long before she’d been appointed a prefect.

Philippa had found her rhythm now and continued to whack the cane down with gusto, not forgetting to wait a while between each stroke, knowing that that allowed the build up of pain and would make the punishment more effective. Fiona was obviously becoming more and more distressed, squirming over the stool, unable to keep still between strokes and now yelling loudly as each stroke dug into her tender backside.

The sixth stroke was the hardest yet and, whether by accident or design, the tip of the cane landed half way across the girl’s right buttock, digging in deeply. Fiona lost her grip on the stool and jumped upright. Her plaid skirt fell down to cover her bottom but she put her hands up underneath it, rubbing her sore cheeks desperately as she hopped from foot to foot. Sarah noticed that she had began to cry, although her face was partly covered by her long jet-black hair.

Fiona tearfully appealed to Mrs Jeffers. "Please, ma’am, it hurts too much. Please make her stop. I’ve said - I’ll never smoke again, ever!"

"Eight strokes, Fiona. You’ve only had six. That’s two more to go. And if you don’t get back in position now, you’ll get extra!"

Still frantically rubbing her sore behind, Fiona made one last ditch attempt: "Please, ma’am, can’t I have the last two on my hands? My bum hurts so terribly! Oh, crikey! Ow! It feels like that cane’s stripped the flesh off my arse. Jesus Christ! Please, ma’am, can’t I have it on the hands? No more on the bottom - please!"

Mrs Jeffers smiled grimly. "I know it hurts, Fiona. It’s meant to hurt - a lot. Smoking can damage your bottom! Now get back in position. Eight strokes on your posterior will leave you very sore and you’ll be bruised for a day or two, but it’s no more than you deserve. I meant what I said. Get back over the stool or you’ll get extra from me. And I guarantee that I cane a lot harder than Philippa Mason does!"

With a low moan the fifteen year old girl slowly and painfully resumed her position. Philippa raised the plaid skirt, again exposing the vulnerable target. Before the punishment restarted Mrs Jeffers beckoned Philippa to her and whispered something to the prefect.

The last two strokes were firm and crisply delivered, but not with so much force as their immediate predecessors. Nevertheless Fiona shrieked at each stroke and stamped her feet on the floor in a vain attempt to alleviate the pain.

After the eighth stroke Philippa told the girl that she could stand up and calmly replaced the cane on Mrs Jeffers’ desk before returning to her place.

Fiona, unashamedly sobbing now, danced about at the front of the class with her hands massaging her wildly stinging rear up the back of her plaid skirt. Sarah reflected that the girls lined up outside would have heard everything. She doubted that it would have cheered them up very much.

Mrs Jeffers allowed Fiona a moment or two and then told her to stand still. Fiona forced herself to obey and stood facing the teacher, with her hands pressed firmly to the seat of her school skirt.

The deputy headmistress produced the cigarette packet that Philippa had produced. She handed it to the caned girl and ordered her to destroy the cigarettes one by one and then throw them in the bin. Still crying, Fiona did so. As soon as the last cigarette had been torn up and thrown away, followed by the empty packet, her hands went back to her rear - trying to control the awful stinging pain. Mrs Jeffers told her to go back outside and resume her place in the line - this time facing forward - and to send in the next girl. She hobbled out, taking short, careful steps.

A short blonde-haired girl, with a very scared expression on her face, scuttled into the room. Mrs Jeffers told her to stand in front of the stool, facing the prefects.

"Name and form, girl!"

"Lisa Chadwick, ma’am. I’m very sorry ma’am."

"Who reported this girl?"

Anna Harper, the head girl, stood up. She explained that when patrolling the school during lunchtime, when all the girls were supposed to be out in the school grounds, she had come across Lisa in a classroom. This in itself would have been a venial offence, but Lisa had been looking in a drawer of the teacher’s desk. On being questioned Lisa had explained that she’d been trying to reclaim a yo-yo that the teacher had confiscated when she’d been playing with it in class.

Lisa did not deny anything when speaking in her defence but said that she had been dared to get the toy back by another girl in her class. She had never been sent to the prefects court before and had never been slippered or caned. She knew that she’d been stupid and had broken the rules and deserved to be punished, but she asked if it could be the slipper, not the cane.

First, however, there had to be a vote on whether Lisa had been properly reported to the Court. In view of her admission this was a foregone conclusion and, again, there was a unanimous vote of guilty. The three senior prefects then went out to discuss the girl’s punishment with Mrs Jeffers.

The discussion seemed to take longer than that concerning Fiona, but finally the three prefects went back to their places. Mrs Jeffers announced the penalty "Six strokes of the junior cane over your school skirt!"

Poor Lisa! Her face fell and it looked as though she might be starting to cry. Mrs Jeffers asked her whether she wanted to appeal to the headmistress. Lisa stood there in doubt, trying to make her mind up.

Unusually Mrs Jeffers explained the reasoning behind the decision. She told Lisa that just by being in the classroom during lunchtime without a valid reason she had earned herself a slippering. But by opening a teacher’s desk and going through it she had ensured that she could not be punished with anything less than a caning. "You may appeal to the headmistress, Lisa. But I can tell you now she will certainly not reduce your punishment. Almost certainly she would cane you much more severely. I am genuinely sorry, in view of your previous good conduct, but there is no alternative. You are going to be caned for what you have done - either here or by the headmistress!"

Lisa was still on the point of tears. She nodded her head silently. Mrs Jeffers beckoned to Anna to come out to carry out the punishment. The head girl picked up the junior cane and swished it loudly through the air. "Over the stool, Lisa!" she ordered.

Lisa lowered herself over the stool. The prefect placed the cane across the seat of the girl’s plaid skirt and took careful aim. Then she lifted it up and delivered a full-blooded whack, twisting her body and stepping forward as she did so, to ensure that all her weight was behind the stroke. The thirteen year old yelped loudly and jumped upright, her hands going to her bottom.

"Lisa!" Mrs Jeffers’ voice was very angry. "How dare you? Anna has hardly started yet. At this school girls are expected to accept their deserved punishments. Back over the stool, NOW!"

And, turning to the prefect, she said: "That stroke won’t count, Anna. Start again from number one, if you please!"

Sniffing back her tears Lisa bent back over the stool. That first stroke hadn’t hurt as much as she’d expected and it had just been the shock of being caned that had made her stand up. She resolved to take the rest of her punishment bravely.

Sniffing back her tears Lisa bent back over the stool. That first stroke hadn’t hurt as much as she’d expected and it had just been the shock of being caned that had made her stand up. She resolved to take the rest of her punishment bravely.

Anna whacked the cane down with full force in a carbon copy of the first stroke, but this time Lisa remained resolutely bent over. Anna continued to thwack the cane down onto Lisa’s skirt with the regularity of a metronome. To Sarah it seemed that she was using greater force, if anything, than Philippa had used on Fiona, but as the cane used was much lighter and as the punishment was muted by Lisa’s skirt it was obviously not hurting so much as the earlier caning. Nevertheless, by the time Anna delivered the final - seventh - stroke to Lisa’s little bottom it was evident that the schoolgirl had received a sound caning. Sarah did not doubt that the third year’s hindquarters must be smarting like mad.

Anna told the thirteen year old that she could stand up and walked back to her place, leaving the cane on Mrs Jeffers’ desk. Lisa stood up stiffly and faced Mrs Jeffers, her hands in tight fists by her sides.

"Very well, Lisa. I hope that that will be a lesson to you! Now go back to your place outside, facing the front, and send the next girl in."

The prefects were surprised when Lisa painfully managed a curtsey. "I’m sorry ma’am. I know I did deserve it. I’m sorry you had to cane me, Miss Harper!" With that the little girl scuttled out again, even faster than she had entered - no doubt worried that if she stayed there might be more cane.

The next girl entered rather more steadily and announced herself as Jill Clayton of 4A. Her accuser was Debbie Miller, the prefect sitting next to Sarah. Debbie explained that she had been walking along the corridor when Jill had come running round the corner "like a mad bull" and had run into her and knocked her over.

Jill admitted these facts, in general terms, but said that she hadn’t been running all that fast and that she’d been supposed to see the English teacher and had realised that she was late.

This time the vote was not quite unanimous. A couple of the prefects felt that Jill could have just been given a telling off or lines as running in the corridor was not so serious a matter. But the majority felt that by running at such a speed as to actually knock someone down - and that person a prefect - Jill had brought herself within the authority of the Court.

Debbie went out to discuss the appropriate punishment with the senior prefects and Mrs Jeffers. Sarah saw that she was smiling as she walked back to her seat.

"Eight whacks of the slipper - on the bare!" pronounced the deputy headmistress. "Do you wish to appeal, Jill?"

Jill was blushing a bright red. "Please, ma’am, does it have to be on the bare; can’t I keep my knickers up?"

"Would you rather have the cane, Jill?" asked Mrs Jeffers, dryly.

"I’ll accept the punishment, ma’am," said the fourteen year old, in a very glum voice.

Debbie went out again and picked up the plimsoll. "Knickers down, Jill!" she ordered, holding the plimsoll in her right hand and tapping it meaningfully onto her left.

Her face still bright red, Jill obeyed.

"Now get yourself over that stool!"

Once she was in position Debbie pulled up her plaid skirt to reveal the girl’s chubby buttocks completely bare and waiting for their punishment. Debbie laid on the plimsoll with a will, striking alternate cheeks, each whack echoing loudly around the room. Sarah watched as the white bottom turned into a bright red. Finally the eighth and final whack dented into Jill’s bottom and Debbie stood back.

"Stand up, Jill. Knickers up!"

Debbie replaced the plimsoll on the desk and turned to return to her place. But, before she did so, Mrs Jeffers ordered Jill to apologise to Debbie. She was still adjusting her clothing and it sounded as though she was speaking through clenched teeth: "I’m sorry Miss Miller."

Then Jill left the room. Sarah realised that it would be Julie next. That meant it was her turn too.

The tall sixteen year old walked to the stool and turned towards the prefects, a dejected expression on her face. "Julie Harrison, 5A".

Sarah drew a deep breath and stood up. She explained how she had caught Julie drawing graffiti. It was not so bad as she’d feared. She sat down again knowing that she’d explained matters as well as she could. Like Lisa, Julie did not deny her offence but asked if she could be punished with the slipper, not the cane. She promised that she would never ever do anything like it again.

The vote was almost unanimous in favour of Sarah, just one prefect abstaining. Sarah drew another deep breath in relief. Whatever was going to happen to Julie, her own rear was now safe! She needn’t have worn those trousers, after all.

Sarah walked out to the teacher’s desk. She was inclined to go easy on Julie and suggested a sound slippering - eight whacks over knickers. But the others insisted that it had to be the cane. Julie was a senior girl and the headmistress had warned against graffiti only the week before. The final decision was four strokes of the senior cane over knickers. Sarah returned to her place while Mrs Jeffers made the announcement and asked Julie if she wished to appeal.

Julie sighed. "No, ma’am, I’ll take my punishment." Mrs Jeffers beckoned to Sarah to come out and to take the cane.

As she picked up the cane Sarah suddenly realise that she didn’t even know how to hold the cane, let alone how to apply punishment. As for all prefects the technique, and guidelines on the force to be used, had been explained to her soon after her appointment, but her mind suddenly seemed to have gone blank. And instead of watching what the other prefects had done just now she had concentrated on the reactions of the punished girls. She picked up the cane and decided that she’d have to trust to common sense and to luck.

Sarah walked over to stand in front of Julie. Although she was two years younger the girl was taller than she was! "Bend over the stool, Julie!" she ordered in as firm a voice as she could muster. She was encouraged by Julie’s ready obedience. The fifth former turned and lowered herself over the stool without a protest. Sarah pulled up the girl’s skirt, revealing her school knickers. As she did so she felt the girl tremble. Julie was obviously scared of what was going to happen next.

Sarah grasped the cane in her right hand. Should she hold it by the handle or further down? It didn’t feel right if she held the handle so she gripped it about a foot along its total length of nearly three feet. She tapped the cane onto the centre of Julie’s bottom a few times, steadying herself and then raised it high and brought it flashing down. Unfortunately she was standing too close to the younger girl - the end of the cane overshot her bottom and wasted its force on thin air. As soon as the blow made contact Sarah knew that she had made a mistake, that the stroke had been ineffective. Julie shifted her weight nervously; she’d got off lightly with that one, but she knew there would be worse to come.

Sarah was aware that all the other prefects and the teacher were watching her and had seen her mistake. She tried not to panic, to hold herself together. She stood back a bit, to give the cane more room to work. Concentrating as hard as she could she drew the cane back and then lashed it down. This time there was no doubt that the stroke had hurt. Julie whooped with pain and straightened up. But Sarah felt sick. She knew that she’d made another mistake.

Despite her efforts, or perhaps because she had tried too hard, the stroke had been low, well below the protection of Julie’s panties. The cane had landed across Julie’s unprotected thighs and its tip had had dug deeply into the flesh of her right leg. Julie was now frantically rubbing that spot. As she did so she protested to the senior mistress: "Ow! The was low, ma’am!"

Mrs Jeffers allowed Julie a moment or two and then brusquely ordered her to go back over the stool. She then addressed the prefect, "Sarah, please remember that punishment is on the buttocks, not the legs."

Sarah had been flustered before and that public admonition made things worse. Julie had resumed her position, casting an resentful look at the prefect as she had done so, but Sarah seemed to be frozen. She was completely panicked and unable to move a limb. Nothing happened for almost a minute as everyone waited for Sarah to resume the punishment.

Finally Mrs Jeffers’ patience ran out. She rose from her place and snatched the cane from Sarah’s unresisting hand. "I’ll deal with this girl! Stay out here, please, Sarah! And pay attention!"

With that she measured the cane across Julie’s knickers before delivering a crisp stroke across the fullness of her bottom that caused the girl to gasp sharply and to drum her feet. The senior mistress’s technique was similar to that employed by Anna on little Lisa Chadwick, but with significantly greater force. The unfortunate Julie received four solid whacks from the teacher - she had evidently decided that the strokes delivered by Sarah did not count. When she was finally told that she could stand tears were coursing down the face of the sixteen year old.

Mrs Jeffers told her to go out and to take her place in the line, facing forward, "but don’t send the next girl in yet." The well-caned fifth former’s long legs were unsteady as she left the room. When the door had closed behind her, Mrs Jeffers, still holding the senior cane, turned her attention to the prefect standing at the front of the class.

"Sarah! That was a disgrace! Perhaps it’s been too long since you’ve been punished yourself. I think that you need a reminder of what a caning should feel like! Bend over the stool!"

Sarah bit her lower lip. Her worst fears were coming true.

"NOW, girl!"

Sarah jumped and scurried towards the stool. She looked appealingly at the teacher, but there was no help there. With a sigh she lowered herself into the ignominious position assumed by the naughty girls earlier. As she bent her grey trousers tightened over her shapely rear. The other girls could clearly see the outline of her knickers beneath the tight trousers.

The other prefects were almost as shocked as Sarah by this turn of events. But from the very first stoke it was evident that this was not a joke caning but a real punishment. That stroke was the hardest yet delivered that afternoon and whacked down onto Sarah’s tightly stretched trousers with a noise like a gunshot. Claire Bishop winced in sympathy for her friend’s distress and in memory of her own recent caning. She knew that the girls lined up outside must have heard the force of that stroke and she could imagine Julie smiling, even as she rubbed her own sore behind, at the thought that the prefect who had reported her was getting her own taste of the cane.

The teacher continued to lash the cane down onto the eighteen year old’s grey clad bottom with full force. Sarah bravely bore the infliction in silence, but after the third stroke Mrs Jeffers had to remind her to straighten her legs. After a full six strokes the teacher drew a deep breath and stopped. She took a step towards the squirming girl and grasped her left ear through her auburn hair, pulling her face towards her.

"Well, Sarah. That’s what a caning should feel like! Do you think you can remember that?"

Sarah nodded, her lips pressed tightly together.

"Cat got your tongue?"

"Yes, ma’am! It hurts . . . "

"Good. And just a couple more now, to show you where you shouldn’t cane! Stand up and lower your trousers!"

"Oh, no, please ma’am," Sarah begged urgently, "I’m already so sore! I know how to do it now!"

But the teacher was adamant and Sarah had to draw down her trousers over her sore and swollen bottom.

"Come on Sarah! Right over the stool with your legs straight!"

As Sarah bent down the other prefects could see cane marks that were not hidden by the girl’s knickers. She had already received a very sound caning and few of the other girls felt that they could have taken it so well as Sarah. But it was not all over yet.

"You don’t cane the thighs, Sarah. This is why!"

With that the teacher deliberately lashed in a cut clear across Sarah’s upper thighs. It was more than flesh and blood could stand. Sarah yelled out her pain and shock.

"Always cane the buttocks, Sarah. The fleshiest part from about one-third of the way down to where the buttocks and the thighs meet! One stroke to come - same place."

"Not there, please ma’am. Anywhere else, not there! Please! Please . . . .!"

"You caned Julie there, Sarah. Legs still!"

With amazing self control Sarah straightened her legs and stayed in position awaiting the final instalment of her caning.

Mrs Jeffers did not let the unfortunate eighteen year old off lightly. The last stroke landed just slightly below its predecessor and was of equal force. Once again Sarah could not restrain a wild cry of pain, but she bravely stayed in place, bending over the stool. Her thighs were burning with unimagined ferocity but, with her eyes screwed tightly shut, the eighteen year old knew that she had survived the worse the deputy headmistress had to offer. Mrs Jeffers left her wriggling there in shame and intense discomfort while she replaced the senior cane on her desk. Then she walked slowly back and, after what seemed like a lengthy pause, addressed the smarting prefect.

"Stand up, Sarah. Pull your trousers back up!"

Sarah obeyed. Despite the fact that she realised the other prefects must know how much the caning had hurt she felt it was a matter of honour not to rub her blazing rear. In fact most of the other girls were wondering how Sarah had managed to take a whacking like that without crying.

"Back to your place, Sarah. We’ve wasted enough time!"

Sarah walked back slowly. Each step hurt as her movements caused her knicker elastic to rub against her swelling weals, aggravating the already intense stinging. When she finally reached her place she turned and stood there without sitting down.

"Sit down, Sarah. Let’s get on."

Sarah spoke for the first time since her caning. "Please, ma’am, I think I’d rather stand!"

From the tone in which she spoke it was evident that the prefect bore no resentment at her treatment and her remark had the effect of considerably lightening the atmosphere, with several of the other prefects unable to restrain smiles. Even Mrs Jeffers seemed to be amused and she readily agreed: "Very well, Sarah. Go and stand at the back of the class."

When Sarah was standing in her place, shifting her weight from foot to foot in her discomfort, it was time for the normal business of Prefects’ Court to resume. Mrs Jeffers walked to the door and called the last girl in.

After such dramatic events the last case could hardly help being somewhat anticlimactic. Emma Parker, like Lisa, had been reported by Anna Harper, the head girl. Anna had been supervising a private study period when she had caught the twelve year old girl taking the opportunity to write out some lines that a teacher had given her. The rule was that lines should not be written in school time, but only at home. "Free" periods were meant for private study.

Anna had warned the girl and taken no further action at the time. But when she saw later in the period that the girl had resumed writing out her imposition she had told her to attend the next Prefects’ Court.

Emma was found guilty and was sentenced to a dozen whacks of the slipper over her knickers - plus a warning that future visits to the Court would mean a caning. The head girl administered the punishment with the same efficiency that had marked her treatment of Lisa. At last the twelfth and final whack echoed round the classroom.

Anna returned the slipper to its place on the desk and told the bending girl to stand up. The head girl went back to her seat.

Mrs Jeffers called the four other girls back in to the classroom. They lined up, facing the prefects. One by one they apologised to Mrs Jeffers and to the Court. When Claire had been caned a few weeks before she had had to line up with the other malefactors. At least Sarah was spared that humiliation.

One after another the five naughty girls apologised to the Court and expressed their thanks for the punishments. Finally. the newly-slippered Emma mumbled her apology and the girls were dismissed.

The Prefects’ Court was over!