“MR Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the court:
This case comes to this Court on a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Tennessee which overturned the Court of Appeals at 564 Tenn. 2nd 234 (2005). At issue is whether disciplinary action taken against Kelly Northridge a senior at West High School in Chattanooga Tennessee violated the 1st and 14th amendments to the US constitution. In a 6-3 decision the Court holds that disciplinary action taken against Miss Northridge for her publication of admittedly provocative material in a school newspaper in direct violation of the school’s code of conduct was not unreasonable and not a violation of Miss Kelly’s rights under the 1st and 14th amendments. The decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court is REVERSED and the case remanded for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”
As she read the opinion Kelly marveled at how far she had come since that time. She had graduated from college and was now a reporter, actually an editor, for a suburban newspaper in Rome Georgia, an hour South of Chattanooga. All the events that had led to this case were ancient history now. But what a time it had been then. She had been a young impetuous school newspaper editor and had fancied herself a crusading publisher determined to blow the lid off of the crime of the century at …West High School. West High School, for God’s sake! She had to laugh as she recalled her naive passion. God what a trouble making little twit she had been.
She thought she had uncovered the conspiracy of the decade. Charlie McCoy, the school electrician, plumber and all-round handyman was the “Laughing Bandit”, a bank robber who 10 years prior had engaged in a year long spree of bank robberies in and around Tallahassee Florida, but who had never been caught. It started when a student had found a ski mask similar to the one used by the bandit in a closet housing Mr. McCoy’s tools along with some old newspaper clippings detailing the crimes. Then there was the way he walked. Kelly viewed some old tapes in the Channel 8 news archives of the bandit caught on camera and thought “My God, it is him”, for Charlie had a loping gait that was matched perfectly to what she observed on the blurry news tape. Finally there was the laugh. Witnesses said that the bandit laughed as he ran from the banks, a high pitched almost maniacal laugh. Mr. McCoy who was quite a jokester around the students had a high-pitched laugh. It was enough she decided, to run the story—“Is Our Own Charlie McCoy the Laughing Bandit—and Why Doesn’t West High School Want You to Know?” This last she deduced from the fact that McCoy could not have hid out for the last 9 years without knowledge by the administration. He had probably shared the proceeds with some of them.
Naturally Mrs Desmond, the English teacher who oversaw the student newspaper was aghast. “You can’t print this. It’s scandalous and defamatory!” But Kelly had pleaded, “Look at the evidence.” At a meeting with the principal (which was an inept attempt to go over Mrs. Desmond’s head) Mr. Frank Meredith, West’s principal, concurred. “Really Miss Northridge, this is sheer nonsense. You really can’t print something like this.” That only made Kelly think they were in on it too. Determined print the truth, she took drastic measures that included sneaking into the newspaper office at night and running the issue—her issue—that she had wanted. The next day stacks of copies flew off the racks at school and into the community before anyone realized what had happened. The students were amused. “You’ve got to be kidding. Our Charlie is the laughing bandit?” Parents asked questions. School officials denied it all. The FBI took notice and actually at one point came to West and interviewed Charlie. It turned out however, that at the time of the Laughing Bandit robberies, Charlie had been stationed in South Korea with the marines.
When the dust had settled, a very chagrined Kelly had been called on the carpet for publishing the story. She had jumped to a crazy conclusion without even checking some basic facts. None of it was true and although retractions had been circulated, reputations had been damaged and feelings hurt. What remained had been how to deal with Miss Kelly Northridge. Principal Frank Meredith did not want to expel or suspend Kelly but he felt strongly that she needed to be punished, not only for her appalling lack of judgment, but for her abject disobedience in direct defiance of his refusal to allow her to publish the piece, not to mention sneaking in after hours.
So he gave her a choice---suspension or a six swat paddling. Through some arcane rule, this district still allowed paddling with parental permission. But to Kelly, a pretty and popular girl, the idea of bending over for a childish punishment like a paddling was mortifying and quite unthinkable. But suspension or (gasp!) expulsion was also unthinkable. She discussed it with her parents. Her mother had been less sympathetic. “Maybe a dose of the school paddle is what you need, young lady. You got yourself into this fix, now you’ll have to pay the piper.” After a tearful discussion both parents told her to take her licks and signed the permission for corporal punishment. She thought that she would die of embarrassment the day she turned the slip in to the office and had to endure the smirk of the school secretary and the gleeful grins of the students who happened to be present in the office. They knew damn well what was on that piece of paper.
“Gonna be a hot time for the ol’ caboose, there Kelly,” joked the despicable Ken Devon who happened to be there. Amy Martina was even worse. “There’s a sale on pillows down at Walmart. Better get a dozen, Kelly,” said Amy. They chuckled in unison as Kelly shot them a freezing glare and stomped out.
By this time, though, the local chapter of the ACLU had come nosing around and before you knew it a lawsuit had been filed, a TRO (Your Honor, you must sign this now or irreparable damage will result. What’s the irreparable damage? asked the judge. To him a hot bottom was hardly irreparable, but he signed it anyway), and later a preliminary injunction issued, and the case was off and running. But by now it was Spring and Kelly was about to graduate. The trial judge ruled in her favor even though she had been 100% wrong. So, that June she graduated anyway, went to college, got a job. The rest, as they say, is history.
The State AG, however, had other ideas. He appealed. It was the principle of school authority at stake. So for the next six years the ACLU and the State of Tennessee slugged it out in the appeals courts and finally, to everyone’s surprise, in the Supreme Court of the United States. Kelly had forgotten all about it until the ACLU attorney, a bright excitable guy about her age, had phoned her and had informed her that in the end, despite all their hard work battling the evil Nazi-like State of Tennessee, they had lost the case.
Kelly could have cared less. It had been over for her a long time ago. Nonetheless he promised to send her a copy of the opinion which she now held in her hand. The recitation of the facts of the case brought back old memories and she wondered how good old Mr. Meredith felt now, vindicated now that he had been judged to have been right. He had only sought to enforce the rules and temper her youthful lack of discretion with some discipline.
Well, actually Kelly mused, Mr. Meredith wasn’t that old, and truth be told, he was quite handsome (and in those days, unmarried). He wasn’t your usual Southern high school principal. In fact, to put it bluntly, Frank Meredith was hot, and Kelly hadn’t been the only smitten schoolgirl at West. Distinguished, forceful, yet a very sympathetic and caring administrator, he’d been a man who many of the girls had positively swooned over. He had been only in his early thirties at the time, so he was young for a high school principal. Then another thought came to her. This decision gave her an opening, a chance for closure. She could return to West—was he still there?—and apologize for her rash behavior. He had been right all along. She’d gone along with the whole ACLU thing because she’d been caught up in the cause. Freedom of speech! Student’s rights! How trite and idiotic it all seemed now. A Google search revealed that he was still there, at West, and still principal. Well, she thought, I think it may be time for a road trip. Is there a Mrs. Meredith yet? She wondered.
A month later she had an assignment that took her to Lookout Mt Tennessee just above Chattanooga. She’d been done by mid- afternoon. Perfect, she thought as she guided the car into the parking lot at West High. Frank Meredith had been very cordial over the phone and, as Kelly had to admit, the sound of his mellow baritone voice sent a little shiver down her spine. In fact he’d never married. Kelly had checked. Newspapers had all sorts of access to data. So she had put on a short pleated skirt, one that really showed her legs to their best advantage, a white silk blouse, earrings, hair just so, and drove in her little sports car to complete her assignment. Then she headed for West High down the mountain in Chattanooga.
It was 5 o’clock. Everyone had gone home but the office was still open as Mr. Meredith had promised. From his back office he saw Kelly enter and waved, gesturing for her to come on in. “Kelly Northridge, it is so good to see you. Please tell me how you’ve been,” he said with a big smile offering his hand. She told him all about her schooling and her career. “It is so nice to see former students,” he reflected, “and to hear they’ve done so well.” Frank Meredith rose from behind his desk to greet her.
Oh my God, thought Kelly, he’s even hotter now that he’s older. Kelly proudly recited her accomplishments in school and told him about her later job, but then remembered why she was there. “Well, truthfully Mr. Meredith, I’m not here just to go on about my accomplishments,” Kelly began. “ Actually, I’m here to apologize.”
“Yes, I feel terrible about what happened---you know about my article and poor Mr. McCoy, and that whole lawsuit thing. I just…I guess I was an immature little brat and, well, I’m sorry about the whole thing.”
Frank Meredith regarded her for a moment, thinking. Then he said, “Kelly I was just about to go have dinner. Will you join me and tell me more about your life now?” Kelly just about melted. Pinch me, she thought. This is just too good. He took her to an upscale place in town where they had an enjoyable dinner. Frank Meredith was charming beyond her wildest dreams. He asked about everything she’d done since high school, her college years, her job now. She had had several glasses of wine by now and she was a little tipsy.
Later he drove back to school where she had left her car. “Kelly, could we go back inside to my office? There is something we need to talk about.”
That sounded mysterious, but she was game—boy was she ever. This night just got better and better. They went back in; it was now 9 o’clock and the school was deserted. Frank began, “You were telling me that the reason for your visit was that you had come to apologize for the whole newspaper incident, isn’t that right?”
“Oh, yes,” said Kelly breaking out of her reverie on the hunky Frank Meredith. “When I read the Court judgment, It seemed that it would be appropriate, you know. I guess you were right all along. I was just a silly self indulged schoolgirl.”
As she spoke Frank Meredith nodded. “Yes, I’ve seen what the Supreme Court did. Too bad it took so long. And Charlie, well he was really offended, you know. It took a while for him to get over that. He was kind of a laughing stock for a bit, there. You know, Charlie passed away two years ago.”
“Oh, God, I didn’t know. And I’m really, really sorry—for everything. Oh now I just feel terrible. I never said anything to poor Mr. McCoy.”
Kelly looked like she meant it, but Frank Meredith wondered. Kelly was an attractive young lady. Smart, vivacious and witty. Her looks had opened doors, but what about old fashioned things like character? Maybe there was a way to find out.
“So you read the opinion?”
“Oh, yes, the whole thing, although I guess I don’t understand a lot of that legalese.” Kelly smiled and brushed her hair back. He really was quite good looking, still.
Frank pursed his lips and said thoughtfully, “You know, did you read the part about the case being ‘remanded for further proceedings’?”
“Yes. I saw that, but it’s all over now, so isn’t that what they call ‘moot’?”
“Yes,” said Frank with a look that was more serious. “But you know if the wheels of justice had moved more quickly, you’d have faced that 6 swat paddling.”
Kelly put her hand over her mouth. “Oh my God! I guess you are right. Remanded means sent back to carry out the sentence or judgment or something.”
“Yes, you’d have been marched into this office, told to bend over and stick your bottom out for 6 good swats with my old ‘board of Education’.” Mr. Meredith now had a gleam in his eye that Kelly found both unnerving and strangely exciting.
“You mean you would have done that?”
“Absolutely. It was what everyone, including you, had agreed to, but then with the ACLU and all, well…”
“No, I mean you, personally?” asked Kelly, her breath quickening.
Frank nodded. “It was part of my job. I mean, it was rare, but on occasion I did have to administer swats. I think you knew that.”
She had known that. It hadn’t happened often, but every once in a while there were stories of unfortunate students emerging somewhat teary-eyed from the principal’s office gingerly rubbing their rear ends.
Kelly was silent for a moment, pondering the implication. Mr. Meredith appeared lost in thought for a moment but then broke the silence.
“Kelly, listen to me now. I know it was nice of you to come and apologize. But, well, it seems that this situation really calls for closure. Don’t you think you owe it to Charlie?”
How could I do that, she wondered? I don’t see what he means. But the light bulb flashed for her in her head and Kelly’s jaw dropped. “Are you suggesting…?”
Frank Meredith opened a drawer and pulled out a slip of paper. “Here’s the old permission slip. There’s no expiration date.”
He had to be joking. But he just stared at her as if waiting for her answer. In a minute he’s going to break out laughing and I’m going to feel foolish. But no, I think he looks serious. “Oh my God you are serious aren’t you?... but what about everyone…I –I don’t know…?” Kelly twisted in her chair and looked around at the outer office, clearly flustered now.
“There is no one here but us. We will be undisturbed.”
“Omigod, you really mean it.” The reality began to sink in. She’d had thought he’d been joking. He wasn’t.
“I do, Kelly. And the fact that you feel bad about it all tells me you need not only forgiveness, but that you have to atone in some small way. Well, here is your way out. You should write a note to Charlie’s widow and enclose this slip with it bearing my signature attesting to the fact that justice, however delayed, was done.”
A million conflicting thoughts ran through Kelly’s head. The paddling she never had to endure! The idea was mortifying but Kelly also knew that deep down, Frank Meredith was right. She needed to pay for her stupid behavior. At the same time the notion of a forceful man like Mr. Meredith taking control and punishing her in such an intimate way gave Kelly the shivers. She was still light headed from the wine and could not deny that Mr. Meredith was having quite an effect on her. Time to decide. Chicken out and go home or step up and take the challenge. What the hell.
“You’re right Mr. Meredith. We should obey the Court. Tell me what to do.”
Mr. Meredith sat back, surprised, but pleasantly so. “Well, what I do is explain to the student why he or she has to be punished, but we’ve been through that I think,” said Mr. Meredith with a half smile. He got up and walked behind Kelly toward the door. “I’m going to just close this. We won’t be disturbed.”
Kelly fidgeted nervously. “Is this going to hurt? I mean are you going to do this for real?”
She couldn’t believe she was actually going to go through with this. At first the whole idea had seemed just sort of embarrassing yet exciting, but now she remembered a paddling was probably meant to hurt.
“Well, Kelly, for a paddling to be effective it has to hurt some. If you don’t feel some discomfort, there’s no point. But no one ever died or went to the hospital from one of my paddlings. Your bottom will be a bit red, though. Sitting could be uncomfortable for awhile too.”
Her bottom. She was going to present her bottom for him to smack. She was proud of her figure and actually regarded her rear end as her best asset. Another hot flush invaded her consciousness.
“Now, Kelly, I’d like you to stand up,” said Mr. Meredith as he removed all the files and papers from the middle of the desk, stacking them to the side. She shivered as she watched him roll up his right sleeve. “Come to the front of the desk and bend over, and put your hands and forearms on the desk, palms down.”
Kelly did as he asked. She bent over, sticking her ass out. So this is what a naughty schoolgirl feels like. It makes you feel so vulnerable, she thought. Frank Meredith looked at her from the side, frowning. She had turned her head and asked, “like this?”
“Yes, but there is just one thing. Your skirt is in the way. The, ah, target area is too undefined. The students are usually wearing jeans or slacks.”
“Oh, I see,” said Kelly blushing more, “so…”
“So I’m going to have to ask that you lift your skirt.”
“You—you want me to…lift my …?” Kelly stammered.
“Yes. You are wearing panties aren’t you?”
“Yes, that is, I …” She was wearing panties all right, but they were black French cut panties and she’d worn a matching black garter belt instead of pantyhose. What had she been thinking? She knew damn well what she’d been thinking and that was the fact that there was no Mrs. Meredith and so she’d come prepared for…for what, exactly? Yes, her little imagination had been racing far ahead of good sense. Her own fault again, she thought. Nothing to do but grin and bare it as they say.
Frank Meredith gazed practically in awe as Kelly raised her skirt to display a most shapely rear end clad in a thin, nearly transparent, pair of black nylon panties set off by a black garter belt. She teetered on high heels that, combined with her bent over posture, put her body nearly at a right angle so that her delectable bottom jutted out proudly. It was one of the sexiest sights Frank had ever seen. The twin cheeks were round and firm and the little panties failed to contain the lower portions of the delectable globes.
Frank pulled his eyes back in. He had a job to do, so he walked back around to the desk and pulled out his lower drawer. It’s in here somewhere. Ah—there, the little one for girls; and he pulled out a highly varnished maple paddle.
Kelly gulped as she regarded the paddle. It was about a foot and a half long on the business end and as wide as a hand. It looked thin, but it looked like it would sting plenty. What had she gotten herself into?
“Ok, Kelly, this is going to be six swats. Keep your hands on the desk and don’t reach back or get out of position. Keep your legs straight. Are you ready?”
Kelly said, “Yes, Sir”, her voice quavering. Where had the “sir” come from?
Frank tapped the paddle lightly on her bottom. She flinched when she felt the wood. He drew back his arm slowly. Kelly heard the whoosh of air and heard the loud crack! of the paddle as it collided with her panty- clad bottom. A burst of fire exploded on her rear cheeks and she let a loud yeowwch! Her mind screamed ‘that hurt!’ and she started to rise up.
Frank saw her start to rise and pushed down on the small of her back. “Stay down, Kelly. Hands flat on the desk, please. When students raise up that one doesn’t count.”
Omigod, that hurt, thought Kelly, more than I thought. Her bottom stung ferociously. But a few seconds later the second swat landed with another loud splat! that seemed to reverberate in the small office and her bottom felt scalded again, only on top of the first one, this was worse.
“Whew! Yow! That really stings, Mr. Meredith,” said Kelly looking over her shoulder hoping for some degree of remission.
“Well, Kelly, to do any good it has to sting, but I know you’re a brave girl. Here we go” And he delivered a third swat right across the lower half of her bottom. Her jouncy cheeks flattened at impact and then sprang back into their fulsome shape. Kelly let out a loud yelp. That one had really stung.
At swat four Kelly wailed, “Oh..wow, oh…wow” and drummed her feet on the floor. It was just overwhelming. Her bottom was on fire now. Now she could appreciate all those stories about kids going to the principal’s office and coming back with red and tear streaked faces.
Frank had never given a paddling like this. Kelly’s bottom, in sheer black panties and framed by that garter belt and stockings was about the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. And paddling it was giving him a terrific erection. He knew it hurt but he also realized that he couldn’t make this play or merely symbolic. Kelly had agreed to accept punishment so he felt duty bound. Still, she had on one less layer of clothing, not jeans, so he had dialed it back a notch.
Five landed with a whap! As loud as the others and Kelly moaned and struggled to hold still. She wanted to jump up and grab her poor hiney. She heard Mr. Meredith say, “One more, Kelly,” then there was a whoosh….crack! and another blast of heat on her nearly bare behind made her let out a loud “Yeowwwch!”
She almost collapsed over the desk moaning, “oh…oh…oh…” But heard Mr. Meredith tell her she could get up now. She flipped her skirt down to cover her flaming rear and stood on unsteady legs. She reached back and attempted to rub the sting away through her skirt. Mr. Meredith handed her a tissue.” All done now.”
She sniffed, “Thank you, sir.”
“Here, Kelly. I expect you will want to go to the ladies room to compose yourself. It’s right down the hall on the left. You took that very well, by the way. You should be proud of yourself.”
Kelly just nodded as if in a daze and headed for the girls room. She turned her back to the mirror, lifted her skirt and pulled her panties down. Her bottom was bright red, the cheeks like two overripe tomatoes. Oh my God, she thought—this is what he saw. Oh and it burns! After trying to rub some sting out she gave up and returned to the office.
Mr. Meredith was smiling warmly at her. She started to melt again. “You were very brave. That took character, Kelly. Later I’ll give you Mary McCoy’s address and you can write a note. Send it to me and I’ll enclose it with this,” he said holding the signed permission slip. This is a secret between the three of us.”
“I know your fanny hurts,” he said rising. “But I have just the thing.” He rummaged in his drawer and produced a jar. “Cold cream with aloe.” Frank seated himself on a couch. “You’ll have to come over here for me to apply it.”
In a dream-like trance, not believing she was doing this, but too aroused to stop it, Kelly walked over and stretched across his lap on the couch. He lifted her skirt and said, “To rub this in, these will have to come down.” She lifted her hips and gulped as she felt fingers in the elastic of the flimsy panties. He slid them down and her bare bottom was fully exposed to his gaze.
“I guess I did a pretty good job. But this will help a lot,” he said as he ran his hands over her bare cheeks smearing on the cold cream. Kelly shuddered with relief and arousal. As he kneaded her bottom she moaned. Frank Meredith’s fingers dipped closer to her cleft. She pushed her hips up, striving to impale herself on his fingers.
Frank had decided, this one could be a keeper. He was going to see where this led. After all, she was an adult know, not a student. He plunged his fingers into her quim and massaged until she came, bucking and jerking across his lap.
“Oh, oh, Mr Meredith.I love what you just did.”
“It’s Frank from now on, Kelly. And we should continue this at my place.”
“Oh, yes,” breathed Kelly.
“But by the way, just so you know, I’m an old fashioned guy when it comes to women. You might find yourself in this position often if you are naughty.”
What? Oh! He means over his lap with my skirt up and my panties down, doesn’t he? And with that she gave her bottom a little wriggle.