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Corporal Punishment

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Mr. Murdstone: David ... if I have an obstinate horse or dog to deal with, what do you think I do?
David: I don't know.
Mr. Murdstone: I beat him.

Corporal punishment is the practice of deliberately inflicting physical pain as a form of punishment. The most minor version is generally children getting a swat on the backside from their parents, while the opposite extreme can lead all the way to Cold-Blooded Torture. Note that it only counts as corporal punishment if it's legitimately inflicted — Police Brutality and the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique are illegal, and thus don't qualify. A Dope Slap from one friend to another might count as an "informal" version, though, if you consider one's peers to be a legitimate authority.

Somewhat common in fiction that takes place before 1960 or so (roughly), when this sort of thing started to be frowned on in most places. Before that it was accepted, even encouraged, as a form of discipline.

Subtropes include:

Depending on the situation, corporal punishment can be played for comedy, horror, drama, or titillation. Most likely to be seen in military or school settings. They may be meted out by a Stern Nun.

This does not mean a punishment issued by or to a low ranking NCO, though this can overlap with the actual meaning in a military setting. Nor does it refer to Krusty the Clown's third-ranked TV sidekick on The Simpsons. Also not to be confused with capital punishment.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gundam is extremely fond of having people beat on their subordinates, despite this having been disallowed in Real Life militaries for decades. Sometimes it's to knock some sense into them, but just as often it's just punishment for misdeeds. It gave birth to the "Bright Slap" meme.
    • Ironically, despite the meme, the original "Bright Slap" in Mobile Suit Gundam actually just made things worse, as it provoked Amuro into abandoning the fight in a critical moment.
    • Kamille from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam gets beaten up a lot. It doesn't help that he initially has no respect for authority and is a decent martial artist, on top of being a Gundam pilot. (Two of these times even reached Memetic Mutation status through the "ZETA PAUNCH" videos.) His girlfriend Fa got slapped twice by Emma after her disastrous first Action Girlfriend stint.
    • Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: when Wong Lee tries to administer a "correction" to Judau, Judau responds by kneeing him in the gut and running off, saying that he doesn't have to take that kind of crap from self-important adults.
    • Usso from Victory Gundam is at the receiving end once as well, after Team Dad Oliver severely reprimands him for almost getting captured due to his own imprudence.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Lucrezia Noin got slapped by Lady Une for opposing to her very unethical orders. Une tried it again at the end of the episode when Noin snarked at her after said orders weren't carried out, but she blocked the slap and snarked at her again.
    • Shinn from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny gets slapped around and punched by Athrun for disobeying orders. Shinn being Shinn, all it does is make him resentful.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann uses it at least once: Adiane beats up on an already injured Viral (with her scorpion tail) for his failure against the heroes.
  • In Saiyuki Gaiden, Kenren is given a punishment that pretty much comes down to locking him in a cell and anyone who wants to can come and have a go at him. It doesn't help that he has pissed a lot of people off.
  • Happens more than once in Sport anime and manga, specially in older series:
    • Coach Daimon's Sadist Teacher's antics in Attacker You!. He behaves violently toward his players when they make mistakes or fail to live up to his expectations; i.e, after one match early in the series, he slaps every girl on the team across the face (including the captain and local Alpha Bitch, Nami) for allowing the opposing team to score one point. Even more, this was an anime only trait; in the manga, Daimon was quite more reasonable.
    • In Captain Tsubasa, Coach Kira's Training from Hell includes hitting Hyuga on the back with a stick to keep him from collapsing, and Coach Mikami once slaps Genzou to the ground for throwing a tantrum and trying to leave the Shutetsu team when Tsubasa, playing for Nankatsu, scores against him. Also, in the Shin manga Pierre slaps Napoleon in public for bragging about how he caused Souda to be expelled.
    • In The Prince of Tennis, while Tezuka prefers to punish unruly members via assigning laps (or other forced physical effort methods, in the case of Oishi punishing Momo and Kaidoh when they were first years), Sanada from Rikkaidai resorts to slapping his teamates around. So far he has slapped Jackal, Marui, and Kirihara for different transgressions. Subverted three times later: Kirihara keeps Sanada from slapping Yanagi via blocking the blow with his racket and vowing to win, Sanada actually asks his teammates to slap him for losing his own match, and in Shin Tenipuri Sanada tells Akutsu to slap him and gets punched to the floor instead.
      • In the manga, Kirihara hangs a lampshade on Renji's seemingly always-closed eyes. This seems to be a pretty sore spot for Renji, who slaps him for being a Bratty Half-Pint.
      • In the anime, Ryoma gets a slap to the face from Tezuka for being arrogant and rude during the Senbatsu arc. In the same arc, Kevin Smith gets slapped by his coach for talking back to him.
      • In his backstory, Tezuka once was beaten by one of his sempai for talking back to him in public. He was actually hit in the elbow with a racket, which causes him a serious Game-Breaking Injury. When then-captain Yamato learned what happened, he made both Tezuka and the offending senior run laps for disrupting the practice.
    • In Slam Dunk, Captain Akagi sometimes hits Sakuragi (and very occasionally, Miyagi or Rukawa) when fed up with his/their childish antics. It's almost always Played for Laughs, save for the time he slapped pre-Heel–Face Turn!Mitsui for trying to get the team disqualified. Right before the last one, when Kogure tries to talk the team's way out of Mitsui's attacks, Mitsui tells him to get the fuck out and slaps him across the face, but Kogure refuses to do it.
  • Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket often becomes physically violent towards other Sohmas, on top of being a Manipulative Bastard with uncontrollable Unstoppable Rages. The actual corporal punishment is played up much more in the 2001 anime, though - in the manga and 2019 anime, although there's more damage inflicted, Akito's "punishments" tend to be more psychological, with the worst physical beatings (like in Hatori, Isuzu and Kureno's cases) happening when Akito is at breaking point.
  • It's mentioned in Washio Sumi Is a Hero, the prequel Light Novel to Yuki Yuna is a Hero, that, while in the past teachers physically harming students to any degree was an issue, corporal punishment is allowed as long as it's not excessive. When Gin gets late to school, her teacher taps her on the head with the attendance sheet.
  • Case Closed:
    • Conan himself was often subjected to a rather violent noogie by Kogoro Mouri, often sporting an egg-sized bump on the head in the following scene. The "gag", fortunately, more or less stopped midway in the series.
    • Once, Heizo Hattori punched his teenaged son Heiji for interferring too much in an investigation and to fire him up for the rest of the case. Kogoro was rather displeased.
  • Episode 3 of the 1980s version of Astro Boy ends with a boy getting spanked by his father in public. He bullied Astro and disliked him for being a robot. Astro had to rescue him and his friends when they decided to ride on an under-construction rocket coaster.
  • In Crayon Shin-chan, Shin-chan would receive a punch or noogie to the head from his mother whenever he misbehaves or does something inappropriate.
  • In Den-noh Coil, Fumie has spanked her younger brother, Akira, at least twice in the series.

  • Pretty much a staple of British kids comics for many years. The standard punishment for Dennis the Menace (UK) up until the 1980s was getting "slippered" (spanked with a slipper), and the teachers in The Bash Street Kids once wielded canes against their rebellious students.
  • Maus: Vladek was on the receiving end of this at Auschwitz when a guard spotted him trying to talk to several prisoners from the women's section and took him into a shed to hit his behind with a daystick and telling him to keep score.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Given the infamous temper of Donald Duck, you had better believe this shows up in older issues. In Donald's own comics, one of the most frequent endings to stories in which either the nephews cause trouble or Donald feels they "deserve" to be punished (unfairly or not) is either Donald chasing the nephews with a butt-whipping stick in hand, or the triplets recovering from being spanked. Ironically, in the comics with Scrooge McDuck, it's not unheard of for Donald himself to have to flee from his own angry uncle lest he get a spanking himself! At least one comic has both happen at the same time, with the triplets fleeing a stick-wielding Donald who is at the same time fleeing a cane-wielding Scrooge.
    • In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Howard Rockerduck briefly muses about whipping his rude, snobby Spoiled Brat of a son, John D. Rockerduck, who loudly protests against his father hanging out with "peasants". Later, an annoyed Howard sends his son to buy a horsewhip from the store.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians fanfic Laying Waste To Halloween, Gabe physically hurts Percy when Percy does something that displeases Gabe.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: In Act V chapter 20, Kokoa mentions that Issa still spanks her, much to Gin's surprise. Later, in Act VI chapter 49, it's heavily implied that Issa spanked Akua and Kahlua to punish them for failing to stop Talon; we're not shown the actual act, but the two are left holding their butts in pain and whimpering apologies.
  • This is Ryuko Kiryuin's favored way of punishing those who fail her in Natural Selection. She normally does this using a kendo stick to beat them bloody or until the stick breaks. It comes back to bite her when she's forced to do the same to Mako after Nonon escapes the Safe Zone.
  • In Harry Potter fanfic, Shifting Lines, Remus' father Lyall hits Remus when he is too casual with his teachers or has attitude towards Lyall or Remus' mother, Hope.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Billy Club (2013): When the protagonists get to a gas station, Danny goes around the back and sees an old man holding a kid by the arm and yelling at him for breaking a rule, even slapping him across the face. Seeing this makes Danny think back to that fateful Little League game in 1981.
  • The Black Phone: After getting her father into trouble with the cops, Gwen is punished with a good spanking, followed by an order not to ice her sore bottom.
  • Full Metal Jacket has Gunnery Sgt. Hartman generally abusing his Marine recruits during the first part of the movie, with the worst of it being the "blanket party" held for Private Gomer Pyle by his fellow recruits which ultimately leads to a psychotic breakdown, the murder of Hartman and his own suicide.
  • In Barry Lyndon, Barry participates in a gauntlet
    • Barry also canes his stepson twice.
  • Starship Troopers has Johnny Rico getting A Taste of the Lash as "Administrative Punishment" for his carelessness resulting in the death of a fellow recruit. Fleet Sergeant Zim gives him a rolled up wad of leather to bite down on, telling him that it will help him cope with the pain.
  • Dead Poets Society features corporal punishment as a means of disciplining at least one student.
  • Heaven Help Us at a Catholic prep school a teacher uses a wooden board to beat the protagonist's hands in the middle of class. Later he uses a leather belt on a small group one at a time bent over a bench. Upset that one of them presents a written and valid exemption to this form of punishment, the teacher then starts beating him in the face with the belt. The protagonist then chases the teacher across campus where they crash a school assembly. The teacher attempts to beat him right there on the stage and gets punched out to the roar of the entire student body.
  • If has a lengthy scene in which Mick (Malcolm McDowell) and his friends are caned by the prefects. Afterwards they have to shake the prefect by the hand and thank him — a common tradition in public schools, apparently.
  • In Punch!, Dong-ju is a Stern Teacher who cares about his students and wants to motivate them, but he also doesn't hesitate to bust out the cane when they misbehave.
  • In The Public Enemy (1931), it is suggested that one of the reasons why Tom Powers (James Cagney) became a vicious bootlegger was because his father regularly spanked him when he was a kid.
    Young Tom: How do you want 'em - up or down this time?
  • In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney confides to Pamela Travers that his father flogged him quite often when he was a boy. (Interestingly, the Disney cartoons feature quite a bit of spanking and other butt-centric humor, making it hard not to wonder...)
  • McLintock! somewhat notoriously features two punishment spanking scenes between romantic couples, most notably Maureen O'Hara being spanked by John Wayne at the climax— using a coal shovel!
  • In the 2010 version of True Grit, LaBoeuf gives 14-year old Mattie a spanking with a switch due to not listening to the adult characters. She refused to go home when Rooster and him tried to get her to, instead she wanted to get revenge on her father's killer. Rooster doesn't let him beat her for long though. He gets LaBoeuf to stop by pointing a gun at him.
  • Mary gets slapped by her maid at the end of These Three after she tries to escape punishment (being locked in her room) once her lies are exposed. She also gets slapped on the rear earlier, as in the original play.
  • The Curtain Call for The Bad Seed ends with Catherine spanking her Enfant Terrible daughter. It's one of the few humorous scenes in the film.
  • In Fanny and Alexander, Alexander's stepfather, the evil Bishop, flogs him on the bare buttocks with a carpet beater in front of the whole household.
  • Amusingly referenced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. When Spock says that V'Ger is a "child," McCoy replies, "Spock, this 'child' is about to wipe out every living thing on Earth! Now, what do you suggest we do? Spank it?"
  • Under the Shadow: Late in the movie, when Dorsa mentions the invisible lady once too much, Shideh slaps her.

  • Not directly featured in the book Cryer's Cross, but excessive whipping at a (defunct at the time the book takes place) school is the entire reason people are disappearing. It created the ghosts entombed in the desk, which are getting into the heads of the kids who sit there and making them bury themselves alive at the site of the school.
  • Harry Potter features it more than once.
    • In the early books, Argus Filch is constantly petitioning for permission to string troublemakers up with chains and other similarly pleasant things. It's mostly played for laughs.
    • Umbridge uses this when she is named Headmaster in Order of the Phoenix. Particularly nasty is the "blood quill", which carves whatever the user writes into their hand as they write it.
    • It gets worse at Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows, where Neville is basically covered in scars from the school year and Harry can't even recognize Seamus due to his injuries until Seamus speaks. The Death Eater supervisors would use the Cruciatus Curse on the students, pretty harsh considering the punishment for using the unforgivable curse used to be life in prison and its repeated use has been shown to be capable of making the victim lose their mind.
    • Aunt Marge is also a big fan. She doesn't get to use it, however.
    • Arthur Weasley performed it on his twin sons Fred and George after he caught them trying to make an Unbreakable Vow with their younger brother Ron. The punishment was such that it disfigured Fred's bottom.
  • Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded: Mrs. Warthall deals with kids who break the rules with by whacking them with a ladle.
  • Roald Dahl attended a Boarding School of Horrors and hated it, incorporating it into his works as an Author Phobia:
  • Rudyard Kipling seems to be an advocate.
    • In The Jungle Book, both Baloo and Bagheera occasionally smack the young Mowgli for disobedience (and almost getting them killed), while in Just So Stories this is seen as the cure for the Elephant's Child's 'insatiable curiosity'. Different era and all that (and also, they're animals).
    • Taffimai Metallumai, the Neolithic little girl in Just So Stories, has a name that means Small-person-without-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked, and Kipling says "she was not spanked half as much as was good for her".
  • Starship Troopers uses A Taste of the Lash as actual judicial punishment assigned by a court martial, and also discusses the fact that any corporal punishment (from a Dope Slap to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to summary execution) is legal as long as the punisher can demonstrate that it was necessary and reasonable.
    • Corporal punishment also exists in the civilian justice system in the novel. Minor crimes, such as drunk driving, are usually punished with the accused being publicly lashed behind the courthouse immediately after being found guilty. Major crimes such as kidnapping or murder are punishable by immediate execution (usually by hanging). It's also mentioned that teachers and headmasters at schools have the authority to use corporal punishment on students who break school rules.
    • Heinlein advocated corporal punishment in his books generally. Nothing excessive, mind you (from his perspective), just a little paddling now and then to set a child straight. Or a woman. Men might need to be caned. If you didn't just hang them. But never put someone in prison; that insults human dignity.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, this is known as Mortification of the Flesh, and is a possible penance for initiates of the White Tower, although hard labor is far more common. Since honor is a big deal in the setting, it is considered preferable to Mortification of the Spirit, i.e. public humiliation. When Mortification of the Flesh is administered, it's usually in the form of spankings, due to Author Appeal.
  • Used by the Mijaki church in the Godspeaker Trilogy, particularly in the first book Empress, to punish both themselves and the warlord and his family.
  • Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games is shocked by the enforcement of corporal punishment in District 12 during the second book, Catching Fire. According to Rue, from the farming and food production District, however, it is used regularly, particularly for those eating produce earmarked to be sent to the Capitol.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky details the Russian judicial system in his prison memoirs, Notes from the House of the Dead. It terrifies the convicts, in a penal colony in Siberia, witless: they will commit additional misdemeanours just so there has to be a new investigation in order to stave off the carrying out of the sentence. Doctors are present when the prisoner is being whipped or beaten; they stop the beatings when they believe it will kill someone, taking him away to be healed so the rest of the sentence can be carried out later. One man, Orlov, is brought to the hospital half-way through a sentence and nursed back to health by his fellow prisoners. There does seem to be a distinction made between official punishment and the whippings resulting from breaking the rules of the prison camp. Corporal punishment was a feature of peasant justice in Russia up until the early years of the twentieth century, justified by claiming the peasants were closer to earth than townspeople and therefore better punished in a simpler and more direct manner and for different crimes (for example, drunkenness).
  • Happens to Arya Stark at least twice, in A Clash of Kings of A Song of Ice and Fire fame.
    • The first one is a punishment from Yorren for beating the crud out of two boys twice her age. The second one is the punishment by her sadistic overseer in Harrenhall for forgetting his orders.
    • Happens to her sister Sansa in the same book, when a knight of the King's Guard, supposedly one of the best knights in the realm, beats her with the flat side of his sword on King Joffrey's orders. The knight also punches her in the stomach (while wearing his metal gauntlet). This is a particularly severe case of Corporal Punishment, and had it gone on for longer, (and it might well have had they not been interrupted) it might even count as a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Also notable is that Sansa had done absolutely nothing to deserve the punishment, and she is only being beaten because Joffrey is angry and wants someone to take it out on (and because he enjoys it.)
  • How the children learn to speak properly in The Giver. A story was told about how Asher, as a three, asked for a "smack" instead of a "snack" when he was hungry and was hit so often with the stick that his legs had marks and he went silent for a time. The Chief Elder remembered this fondly.
  • The threat of "the kane" is a regular feature of the molesworth stories — unsurprisingly given their comedy Boarding School of Horrors subject-matter.
  • In the Schooled in Magic series, students are punished in various ways including caning and magical transformation (which can be worse than a caning).
  • Little House on the Prairie takes place in late 19th century America and thus this is commonplace in the series. Kids get beaten for everything, even for things that would nowadays be considered unusual or abusive to punish, such as nine-year-old Almanzo being beaten after he almost drowned.
  • In Charmed Life, the first book in the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones, the Chrestomanci orders Michael to spank Gwendolen Chant with a boot.
  • In another Diana Wynne Jones book, The Ogre Downstairs, the Ogre spanks Johnny and Malcolm with a backbrush. While the book is old enough that this wasn't unusual, it's presented very negatively.
  • Most startlingly, in the gentle and utopian setting of A Tale of Time City, eight-year-old Cheerful Child Sam is "hit" by his father, the police chief, for stealing money (by the equivalent of credit-card fraud). It's enough to dampen his spirits. And then his twelve-year-old "cousin", the victim of the theft, rams a butterpie into his face and down his neck, with much the same intent.
  • In John Le Carre's semi-autobiographical novel A Perfect Spy, the titular character, Magnus Pym, is frequently beaten, first by his uncle, then at his two Boarding School of Horrors.
  • In The Amulet Of Samarkand, the first book in the The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the villainous magician Simon Lovelace uses magic to inflict this on the main character, Nathaniel, in a publicly humiliating manner.
  • Confessions: Augustine describes how he spent his boyhood being caned at school for his laziness. The beatings were approved by the adults of the community and there is even a reference to Augustine being laughed at by his parents for the marks from his canings.
  • In The Eyes of The Dragon, Prince Peter was whipped for saving the life of a crippled horse that was about to be put out of its misery by the Head Groom, Yosef. Although his father let him keep the horse, tradition demanded that the boy still be punished for interfering with his elders. King Roland decides to honor Peter by administering the whipping himself, although it pained him more than Peter (who was unable to sit for a week).
    • Despite the fact that he was twenty years old, Dennis' mother anticipated that Brandon would do this to their son when the boy waited for his father to return home from the castle so that he could show him what he had found in the ash bucket. Fortunately, Brandon took the evidence seriously.
  • Fallen Into the Pit by Ellis Peters is set in the late 1940s, when corporal punishment was still a common occurrence in English schools. Part of the establishment of Chad Wedderburn's character is that he's only resorted to using it once during his time as a teacher, the circumstances of which are described in detail.
  • In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the title character is a retired school teacher whose career ran from the 1870s to the 1910s, and corporal punishment came with the territory. He recalls administering a "thrashing" to a boy caught falsifying his marks on a test, and on another occasion to a boy who climbed up onto the gym roof to retrieve a stray ball (with the implication that he considered a thrashing a good thing if it stopped the boy breaking his neck trying something similar in future).
  • In Jago, Maurice Maskell's father routinely punished him with ten strokes of a leather riding whip. He takes pride in the fact that he's not the man his father was, and only gives his children the occasional smack.
  • Bazil Broketail: Marneri uses "drubbing" while in the stocks as a punishment for minor crimes. Relkin only narrowly escapes this with Lagdalen's help after he gets caught stealing orchids.
  • Parodied in one of the poems in Please, Mrs Butler by Alan Ahlberg: Long after this stopped being practice in schools, a teacher whose class are making kites swishes a length of bamboo through the air and jokes that it reminds him of the old days. One of the kids holds her hand out and dares him to do it, which he does, very lightly. He then has to tell the rest of the class that they have to get on with the kites, but if they're good, he'll cane them afterwards.
  • The Discworld Assassins' Guild Diary says that while there are canes hanging on the walls of the classrooms, they are relics of an earlier time — the modern Guild "doesn't believe in anything as namby-pamby as corporal punishment".

    Live Action TV 
  • There's a Rowan Atkinson sketch called "Fatal Beatings" where he's a headmaster of a Public School which uses corporal punishment, where one of the students has died from it.
    "We've had a lot of trouble recently with boys taking out library books without library cards. Your son was caught. I administered a beating, during which he died. But you'll be glad to know the ringleader was caught."
  • Parodied (and turned into a sexual innuendo) in the Ripping Yarns pilot "Tomkinson's Schooldays", where schoolboys periodically have to beat their headmaster. It's still played as something unpleasant for them and enjoyable for him.
  • One of the early episodes of the short-lived news magazine program Newscope featured a story on chronic truancy showing a brief clip of a high school principal publicly swatting the bottom of a student; the student had been struck three times and the principal was about to administer a fourth blow when the cut was made to another interview.
  • Leave It to Beaver: Ward Cleaver was known to be an ideal parent, and never laid a hand on his sons, but he often recalled how his father was a strict disciplinarian who had often spanked him with a razor strap. (Possibly that's the reason he was opposed to such methods himself.)
  • Frontier Circus: In "The Daring Durandos", Ben spanks the youngest member of the Durandos flying trope for being a spoilt brat and attempting to break up the act.
  • In Peaky Blinders, the Shelby family matriarch Aunt Polly has no qualms about dishing out physical punishment on her (now adult) nephews if she feels they deserve it, and presumably carried out similar discipline on them when they were kids. She's rarely shown doing much more than slapping them however, which by 1920's parenting standards would be commonplace. Mind you, her Establishing Character Moment involves her hitting her 24-year-old nephew John so hard he falls over and brandishing a gun at him for effect - he had screwed up pretty badly though, getting drunk and leaving said gun loaded and within reach of the children, nearly causing a fatal accident. Under the circumstances they both seemed to feel that Polly's response was justified.
  • In The Vicar of Dibley, Geraldine hints at giving Alice a spanking for her continued determined belief in the Easter Bunny.
    Geraldine: If you continue, I'll have to punish you; this hairbrush will feature prominently in the punishment, and your pants won't.
  • Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby: In episode one, one of the objections raised to hiring Gormsby is that he has used his swagger-stick in the past to administer corporal punishment; on a teacher! Gormsby does threaten Hohepa with a thrashing, but is told that such a thing is now illegal. His subsequent punishments are far more creative in nature.

  • "The Headmaster Ritual", the opening track off Meat is Murder by The Smiths, is a critique of this trope, with Morrissey playing the role of a student who is being terrorized by a teacher or headmaster of some sort. This student is clearly terrified when it happens, describing in vivid detail the punishment and injuries sustained from it.
  • Referenced but not actually seen in "Baggy Trousers" by Madness, where the headmaster of The Good Old British Comp "Sits alone and bends his cane/Same old backsides again". There's also a reference to a teacher breaking up a fight by hitting one of the kids with a plastic cup.

  • The Book of Proverbs mentions a lot on punishing children in this manner.
    • Specifically, Proverbs 23:13 and Proverbs 22:15, though the wording differs between translation, both imply corporal punishment keeps children in line and teaches them to behave.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • While Commissars are best known for their summary executions to bolster morale, some sources also mention floggings for less serious offenses.
    • Sisters Repentia are squads of barely-dressed madwomen convinced they must atone for some crime, and are led by a Sister Superior who whips them into a frenzy. Literally.

  • One scene in The Children's Hour has Joe slapping Mary on the butt as she has a hissy-fit, before leaving. She overacts by screaming loudly and running away crying.

    Video Games 
  • The headteacher in Skool Daze and Back To Skool, Mr. Wacker, carries a cane and frequently threatens students with a caning, but it's never actually depicted in either game, the staff giving out lines as punishment for misdeeds instead.
  • The title character of Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning carries around a ruler in case his students get his math problems wrong. He'll chase you down the halls if you fail so much as one, and if you're a really bad student, he outright bum-rushes you.
  • Skyrim: The ironically-named matron of Honorhall Orphanage, Grelod the Kind, beats her charges regularly, even when they haven't done anything. The ones who actually misbehave get extra beatings.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Alastor of Hazbin Hotel won't hesitate to slap the taste out of the mouth of a bad child if they talk shit about him or his standards, but that's as far as he'll go with children. He finds it an appropriate form of punishment, given the era he died in.
  • A Running Gag in Oversimplified take form of someone being spanked repeatedly, referred as "Being punished severely". It started with Alois Hitler doing the spanking on Adolf Hitler many times for enraging him for various reasons ("This enraged his father, who punished him severely."). Eventually it spreads into anyone punishing someone else severely with spanking, and sometimes, Alois even makes a cameo in a time he wasn't born in (Three Kingdoms era, China) just to spank someone.

    Western Animation 
  • In Jean-Luc & Dondoozat, Dondoozat usually did with to Jean-Luc whenever he would misbehave.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Peggy gets an unruly student in order by spanking him, but gets in trouble with the school. She then gets backed up by Cotton and his band of WWII vets as "Paddlin' Peggy" and becomes a local celebrity (important that for many parents at the time of the episode, paddlings in class were not a distant memory). This quickly goes to her head, to the point where she nearly spanks Joseph after she thinks he threw out her paddle (it was actually Dale, who saw how crazy she was acting and wanted to put a stop to it.). She snaps out of it by the end of the episode and even grinds up the paddle for mulch.
    • Throughout the series, it's made clear that Hank, Kahn, and Dale don't approve of it for their children. Dale actually intervenes when Peggy is about to punish Joseph in the episode and Kahn and Hank find they agreed that "no dessert" is a more ideal punishment than spanking.
    • In the case of Hank and Dale, there's a very good reason for it; they were apparently paddled in school when they were younger and it's implied in the aforementioned episode that they got it pretty bad, to the point that just hearing Peggy swing the paddle causes them (and Boomhauer and Bill) to involuntarily twitch as if they'd been struck.
    • Bill's father apparently spanked him every day for eight years, seemingly for no actual reason. This is implied to be one of the many reasons Bill turned out as messed up as he is now.
  • The Simpsons:

    Real Life 
  • Corporal punishment in the form of caning (a number of lashes by a ½" rattan stick delivered by a martial arts specialist) is a feature of both the Malaysian and Singaporean Criminal Code. Depending on the number of the lashes, the caning may permanently maim the convict.


Video Example(s):


Otto spanks Bart

Otto spanks Bart for hijacking his bus, only to be suspended for it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CorporalPunishment

Media sources: