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Tonya Gets Paddled at School

This incident took place at Hazard High School, in Perry County, Kentucky, in the late spring of 1997:

It was in the late spring, maybe late May or early June, and we were outside, next to the gym. At our school, we were allowed to go outside for lunch, even in the winter, but nobody ever actually did until it got warm outside. Anyhow, there was this grassy area in front of the gym where a bunch of us wwent, and sat, and smoked cigarettes (and other things, wink, wink), and talked--I'm sure that there has to be a similar group on the campus of almost every high school in the nation.

I had come very (often VERY) close to getting caught smoking out there at lunch a nuber of times, and while I had been caught in the girl's room, and also just outside the doors during class changes, there were always so many people smoking next to the gym at lunch, that it didn't seem that the chance existed for me to actually get caught.

I was sitting in the grass, next to my boyfriend at the time (his name was Mark), and we were both smoking cigarettes (I was smoking Camel lights at the time). It was a beautiful day; I remember that very clearly.

Our school had a small security staff; two security guards, two vice principals, and the principal, all of whom patroled school grounds looking for students smoking, using drugs, trying to leave campus, etc.

They seemed to pop up like ghosts; I normally tryed to sit behind a couple of other kids in case one popped up. This one afternoon, though, the vice principal appeared outside the gym, and I know (to this day) that he haden't seen me. Unfortunately, he saw the smoke from the cigarette that I had tossed behind me, and told Mark and I to stand up. He picked up the cigarette, and said that it was mine (it was, although I fervently denied it; he knew me from prior incidents). What really bothered me was that Mark didn't say a word, and furthermore, that he had also been smoking, but that somehow the vice principal (I actually have forgotten the guy's name) hadn't noticed him, considering that Mark was closer to him. What especially bothered me wa the fact that he (Mark) had always made a big deal baout how getting paddled didn't bother him; I had been in classes with him where the teacher had taken him out into the hall, with her paddle, and had heard him paddled at least three or four times, and he had always told me that it "was nothing" to him. But here he let me alone take the punishment, not even aknowlegeing that he might have been in any way involved. That still somehow bothers me today. But perhaps I expect too much from men. (lol)

The vice principal told me and a girl that I knew named Julia, who had definately been caught smoking in the open (she actually hadn't seen the vice principal come out), to come with him to the office. I walked to the office behind the vice principal come out), to come with him to the office. I was shaking visibly from that point on. I'd been this route before, but the initial fear never left me. I remember a number of times throughout high school talking with my friends about how we weren't afraid of the paddle; I realized fully that we all were lying.I remember that I couldn't stop trembling. I grabbed my bookbag and followed him; I don't recall if I was behind Julia or if she was behind me, but I do remember that we did not walk side by side. We were taken in, past the secerateries, and told to wait while the vice principal went into his office. Although I can't speak for Julia, I knew standing against that white ciderblock wall very well; I still know the feeling of that paint on my arms behind my back (a thing that I do when I'm nervous is put my arms behind my back, and hold my right wrist with my left hand; I actually still do it today; the paint was very smooth). The vice principal had paperwork to fill out on us; he called each of us into his office for our names and student ID numbers, and then sent us back into the hall, where we stood against the wall, again. It was actually a little easier than I was used to, in that I was used to there being close to ten students ahead of me against that wall. We were each called in again, first Julia and then me, to sign The Form. It was a triplicate form, the top copy white, the middle copy yellow, and the third copy pink. I got to keep the white copy (I'm not sure what happened to the other two). It was a form that we had to sign to acknowledge that we were going to be paddled. The one time that I actually refused to sign it, the vice principal just wrote "refused to sign" on the line, and everything went on as though I had actually signed the form. So this time, like almost every other, I scrawled something vaguely resembling my signiture on the line, and went out into the hall while Julia was called in to sign hers.

We were then sent to the classes that we would have normally already begun after lunch, with instructions to report to the health room at the sixth hour (final class of the day) bell (see my prior post). In my case that was English; I remember sulking through it, and being really pissed. I had been hoping to get through my entire senior year without getting paddled (I had only been three times my junior year, in contrast to how frequently I had been my first two years of high school), and hadn't been in probably almost a year. I sulked through most of my next class, algebra-II, as well. I sat next to one of my best girlfriends in that class, a cool chick named Melissa. I told her about what had happened, and about what was going to happen in about forty-five minutes or so. She said, as I remember (and I knew Melissa well enough to assure that this is pretty much ver batim): "Damn, that sucks." She actually asked me if I was nervous, and I mumbled something to the effect of "duh"--I guess it WAS a stupid question, but, thinking about it now, I guess that anyone would ask thesame. She told me that she had been paddled about five or six times, only once her junior year, and none (yet) that year. (I say "yet", because she ended up getting paddled during the last week of school.)

She tried to make me feel better, and told me that I was more than welcome to call her or come over to her house after school if I wanted to, even offering to have her brother buy beer. I thanked her, but remained sullen and didn't talk much for the rest of class. I remember an intense twisting sensation in my stomach, something which I had experienced throughout high school, and, to a lesser extent, prior (it wasn't until high school that I had to wait until the end of the day o get paddled). I also recall a sensation in my lower chest, above my stomach, that was twitching and unpleasant, and my heart beating much faster that normal, like I'd had to much coffee. I also believe that I shook, perhaps visibly. My stomach jumped when the bell ending algebra rang. I went strait to the girl's room, bummed a cigarette and a light (the vice principal had made me empty my pockets and bookbag and taked mine) and smoked it in a stall. I desperately needed it. After flushing the butt, I walked down the hall, up the stairs, and down another hall, to the health room. I had had experience with this.

The vice principal was standing outside the (closed) door, with a girl who I didn't recognize. Neither the vice principal (I can't believe that I don't remember his name) or I said anything; I took my place against that wall behind the girl.

I remember vaguely what she looked like; even today. She had short (above her shoulders) dark brown hair, dark clothing, and black hose. I stood there, leaning against my bookbag against the wall. Eternity passed. Julia showed up, mumbled something to the vice principal (I'm pretty certain that wasn't his actual title, but I don't recall his title proper; he was some kind of assistant principal), and took her place behind me in queue.

The vice principal eventually went into the health room, and some time later, stuck his head out and called the first girl in. I was struggling to keep tears out of my eyes. This was a very nervous time in my life in general, and this incident really brought me to the brink. I was startled to consciousness when I heard the first swat hit her. I knew where I was, why I was there, and--most cognizent to me--what I about to go through again. Moments later, the second blast hit her, and I heard her make a very deep and primal sound. I had no idea who this girl was, but I felt very deeply for her; knowing that I would very soon be where she was. I was made very uncomfortable hearing her suffer.

Four more swats; her letting out the most painful and physically disturbing noises. There was a long pause (I knew that papers were being filled out and signed). The door opened, albeit slowly, and the girl came out. Her face was very red, and she put her hands over it as she turned, and walked down the hall, away from me. Seeing her only made me feel more nervous and upset. Now it was my turn. The vice principal called out, "Next!"

I walked in, trying (very hard) to look confident. He recognized me, and made some small talk, asking trivial questions to which I couldn't pay attention at all, and just nodded or shook my head in response to.

Then he pointed to the counter, and said, "Take your turn," with an exhalation strongly impling boredom. The health teacher, a big, ugly woman was standing up next to The Counter, still holding the paddle. I put my hands on the edge of it, and backed my feet up until I was in the required position (I remember how difficult this often was wearing sandals). I spread out my legs, which I still don't understand why we had to do (why?--isn't paddling just as effective with your legs together?--couldn't you really injure someone like that?), and took a deep breath.

There was what seemed to me like a VERY long pause--as there always was, and then I either felt or heard (or both) the swing being taken, and then it came: my knees weakening, the paddle connecting, the enormous BLAST of sound, the sting, the realization that I was living in the moment, the attempt to direct thought elewhere obsoleted in a moment for at least the dozenth time, the pain, my teeth wrenching together, the PAIN, the STING. A pause, as I breathed. And there it was again, instantly; the noise and the pain simoultaneous; I must have yelped. The only thoughts in my brain the Moment and the pain and how angry I was, how upset I was, how weak my knees were, how I wanted to pee. Again, it came, this time I clearly heard the paddle comeing, and bit down hard. I know for a fact that I yelled here; I remember crying out against it all, my hear involuntarily swinging back, and my yell. I Was given another, and strongly recall repressing the tears that burned my eyes. There was a very intense throbbing in my butt already. The health teacher said lodly, "one more", and I bit down on my lower lip hard. That stroke really killed me. In spite of my best attemptes, in spite of having been paddled in school countless times before, I could not stop the tears.

I had to sign something, I scribbled an incomprehensible line in the box. I was given a hall pass and told to go to my sixth-hour class (child development). I slipped out a door, stumbled dizzied through the parking lot, and sat and cried to myself in a small park. Two hours later I was lying on my stomach in Melissa's bedroom, about eight beers into a case.

I never talked to Mark again.

Tonya in '97


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