Oldest Punished or given School Detention

Students in some schools are subject to the paddle as long as they are in school, even today. But just who is the oldest person who was given either a spanking/paddling at high school or detention and
for what?


I have read somewhere of young men in their early 20s – maybe up to 22 – being caned in Australian schools in the 1970s – they were migrant students sent to high schools to learn English.

Can’t think exactly where I read that – it was a while ago. I think I’ll need to go through my books again.


I was last caned at school when I was 16 … my last detention was the same year.


I’ve found the reference I was thinking of. As it turned out I was slightly misremembering the details, but as it’s been around 10 years or so since I looked at this, I don’t think I was that off.

The incident is described in Appendix B of the (Australian) Human Rights Commission, Discussion Paper No.1 Corporal Punishment In Schools and the Rights of the Child, issued in March 1983, prepared by Dr Helen Ware.

It took place in 1981 (not the 1970s as I believed) and involved 2 18-year-olds, 3 19-year-olds, 2 20-year-olds, and 2 21-year-olds being caned at an NSW State Boys High School. All the students were Vietnamese migrants, which probably serves to explain their presence in a high school at such an advanced age – it was fairly common practice for migrant students only a few years older than the normal school leaving age to attend regular school at that time.)

The study describes two incidents – in the first, only one person was caned – 21-year-old male given two strokes of the cane on his left hand for running in a metalwork classroom.

In the second, all 9 were given one stroke each across the hand for ‘forgetting’ (quotation marks indicating euphemisms are in the original report) to bring their sports gear to school.


In the UK it was unusual, but certainly not unknown, for 6th-formers (who might be 17 or at a pinch even 18) to get the cane. Two boys’ senior high schools in Croydon – Selhurst and Purley – were still doing this occasionally in the early 1980s, a fact revealed when the local council was pressured into releasing CP statistics collated from its schools’ punishment books.


The boys in the secondary school I was at had a system of detention or the slipper, most of the first formers who were age 12 seemed to choose the slipper over detention because of explaining to parents.

The rate was three of the best with a size 10 plimsoll, at the punishment session at a morning break time there would be an age range from 12 to 16 or 17, We soon noticed the teacher would whack at the same strength, all the first formers cried after they were slippered but the sting was less as the older boys were slippered and for the 16 or 17 years olds for them it was three firm taps.


When I was at school fourth formers (typically around 14 years old) probably got the most canings. Fifths may have received more strokes in a year because they tended to get more strokes per caning. Then came thirds – the cane worked very well as a deterrent for them.

Lower and up sixth formers were caned very much less frequently. They were all over the age for compulsory education (15) so were mainly at school willingly. And, they were in smaller classes and subject to a more relaxed regime. But, if they were caned, they really got it. Six-of-the-best was standard and it was really laid on hard. Even then, the embarrassment was worse than the pain as everybody including the lowliest third former got to hear about it. The oldest boys so caned would have been 18. Once, even the head prefect was done, a big athletic lad. We never discovered his crime.

A widely held view at the time was that cathartic caning was a much kinder option than suspension or expulsion.


I went to a private high school in the U.S. in the 60s where paddling was frequent and strict. CP was administered by the assistant principal in charge of discipline. Mrs. Posner was especially tough on the seniors, 17-18-year-olds, and didn’t hesitate to bare the butt for her paddle!


I was caned at the age of 19 in a U.K. grammar school in 1968. I’d stayed on for 3rd. year 6th. after A levels to do Cambridge entrance (unsuccessful) & had turned 19 in early July 1 week before the end of the school year.
In that last week, with nothing to do & my place at Bristol University unconditionally, I’d skived off the afternoon to go to the swimming pool in Northampton.
Result – bend over & touch toes for 4 strokes in the Head’s study. I admit it was far from being my first time, but the whole procedure was no different from when I was a 14-year-old; he didn’t seem to differentiate.
At the time, one of my former classmates from primary school who’d gone through the Sec. Mod. and left at 15 were married & had a new baby girl!


The end of school year caning of senior boys was relatively common in earlier times in my experience. Caning provided a quick, easy, and relatively “painless” solution to an otherwise intractable problem. Discipline would be seriously compromised if no action was taken and other, younger boys followed suit. Many thought it much better just to cane than to take other measures, assuming other measures were available.


Sorry, but it was this universe! As I’ve said in my e-mail to you, the completely uninspiring gentleman concerned dealt with, and spoke to, upper sixth as he did to 11-year-olds.
Obviously, I’m pushing my case here as I was only 19 by a few days [ & I had gone off for the afternoon after requesting his permission and being specifically refused] but I was responding to a specific question about oldest cases and they’re the facts.
I am quite sure he didn’t realise I’d turned 19, but I doubt he’d have cared. I’m also quite sure in my mind of his ‘normality’ and had no weird/sexual motivation. He was just a typical product of those times who worked on the premise, “If it’s in a school blazer, hit it. That’ll do the trick”.
Looking back over 37 years, who’s the idiot?; him for not having an educational idea in his head or me for putting up with it?


I left school in 1950 and can assure Lotta and everyone else that it was acceptable in those days for boys (I cannot comment on the experiences of girls) to be regularly beaten. We accepted it – we had to – who could we object to? There were no Social workers and our parents would never go up to the school and complain (in fact, they would probably have given us another walloping for getting into trouble in the first place).


I can honestly say my reaction was completely neutral. I had no resentment at the time at “being treated as an 11-year-old” possibly because it was an element of school humour that the gentleman concerned never noticed his charges growing up! His general demeanour towards the sixth form was the butt of many a joke, and indeed there were occasional references in class from iconoclastic junior staff about his attitude in staff meetings which matched our ‘Victorian’perception of him.
You must view this incident against a background whereby, although I achieved academically, I had been a ‘regular’ in his study (c. 1/2 times a year) throughout my schooldays so I can’t say there was any psychological effect; I repeat, I came to the site by accident and responded specifically to the ‘oldest’ question.
At the time, it was damned annoying and the source of amusing conversations. Had it been a first experience, however, the outcome could have been more traumatic.
‘Products of our time’ indeed: but was the whole system playing with fire?


As an Irishman I can testify to the fact that I was well-thrashed into my late teens. I was at boarding school in Ireland in the late 70s and even at 18 I took several hidings. Admittedly it was not the cane, but the strap in use was blooming sore and was not a trouser belt but specially designed for the purpose.I would also say that it was the norm for most lads my age at the time.


Not corporal punishment, but when I finished school in 1991 sixth formers were sometimes given detentions or written punishments. It never happened to me at that age but I remember others aged up to 18 getting them. One time I remember well was in my final year when a gorgeous girl in my maths class got caught grinding some chewing gum into the carpet. The teacher made her stand in front of her desk and gave her a really good talking to, having her almost in tears by the end. She then gave her an hour’s detention every night for a week.


Certainly for many high school seniors to be paddled is and was a very common experience. Normally it is administered by the principal or school administrators or coaches. Most seniors are 18 and even 19 leaving school so many a butt gets or was tanned before leaving school. My butt was roasted by the “board of education when a senior and it is common to take swats instead of detention etc.


I am from Korea and caning is common in most families even up till now. I am 19 male and still made to kneel down in front of my father to receive canings whenever I make mistakes. I am made to count the number of canings I get and must say “I am sorry father I shouldn’t have done it” after each stroke. Can receive as many as 15. My brother who is 22 receives the same punishment whenever he makes mistakes


I was never caned at school but I got spanked twice in the 5th form at grammar school, aged 15. At that age it was more normal to get lines or detention or for more serious offences to be sent for the cane so it was pretty embarrassing being told to bend over in front of the class to have my bottom smacked!

It wasn’t until I went to 6th form college that I was ever sent to the Headmaster and they didn’t use the cane. Had the same rules and punishments applied as had done in grammar school my last caning “would have been” at 18.


Found the blog of a girl age 19 who says she has caned a fortnight ago at SMK Permas Jaya, a secondary school in Johor (the southernmost state of Malaysia, just across the causeway from Singapore). I’m pretty sure this is genuine.

She says it was a mass punishment – girls caned on the palm, guys on the backside – and there is a pic of 7 of the girls in their uniforms, showing their caned palms! Also a pic of a couple of guys in the classroom who were perhaps included, NOT showing us their caned backsides, unsurprisingly.

Not clear whether they are all 19. I slightly doubt it. Probably she is “retained” i.e. has had to do a year over again so will be a year older than the rest of the class. She seems to be in Form 6 which I think is normally age 17/18.

It’s not unknown for boys of 18 to get the cane in Singaporean and Malaysian schools but I think this is the first time I’ve come across evidence of senior girls getting it. In theory girls may not be caned in either country. This rule is strictly enforced in Singapore but not in Malaysia. But even there, my impression is that it’s usually much younger girls than this.

The punishment was given because they all bunked off a workshop they were supposed to attend the previous day. The implication seems to be that they all did this knowing they would get caned, or at any rate punished somehow, on returning to school on a Friday morning. So not perhaps a very effective deterrent in this case.