Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Headmaster

In sixth grade of primary school we were taught by the headmaster. That year was his last before his retirement, and he was ready for it! Often he would sit dozing at his desk, leaving us to fend for ourselves. I don’t think we learnt much during that time, and it is a miracle we passed at all for our entrance exams into secondary school.
One day some boys had done something that had made the headmaster flare up in a rage. He ordered the boys to come to the front of the room, and one by one he had them bend over his lap to spank their bottoms. The boys were quietly standing in the corner, waiting for their turn, and we were aghast as we watched the whole procedure.
Physical punishment had long been banned in the Netherlands, but I doubt if anyone ever considered reporting the man. We felt as embarrassed for the boys as for the headmaster himself. It was a pitiful and humiliating experience for all concerned, including the shocked audience.
And we lost all respect for our headmaster.

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